Recently, I watched the pilot episode of a new series called ‘The Strain’ which is based on a trilogy of novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Overall, I’d enjoyed the series (just don’t get me started on the third book…) and thought I’d give the show a shot since I like del Torro as a director (Pan’s Labryinth, Hell Boy, Blade 2, Chronos).
I’m not gonna turn this into a crit of the show or the books or del Torro, because what really came to mind while watching it was ‘Wow, the casting of the lead actor is totally wrong.’ That pretty much killed my interest. It’s kinda like waking up with a stranger instead of your spouse/partner. A true WTF moment.
The Strain isn’t the only time I’ve experienced this reaction. The Walking Dead and various other shows or movies have caused it, too. I think that the reason I react this way is that when I’m reading a novel or comic or short story I become completely immersed in it and a good writer has the ability to weave together imagery in my mind so that I not only visualize him or her, but I feel like I know that character. So when I see the screen adaptation and the main character or the setting or whatever isn’t what I’ve got in mind, it’s a kick to the gut. Like going to your old home town and suddenly everything’s radically different. Or meeting a close friend and they’ve gotten a major face lift.
I realize that we all envision things differently when we read a book. That’s part of what makes a novel or story superior to film, in my opinion. I realize that no actor is ever going to appeal to every audience member in a favorite role. But sometime I seriously wonder what they were thinking when making their casting choices.
Certain movies do get it almost spot on. The Lord of the Rings movies is a good example of it. I really didn’t have any complaints with the cast or the setting of the adaptation.
So, what about you? Are there any book adaptations where you felt that the casting was completely wrong? Are there ones that you believe they did a fantastic job picking the cast? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by to read this post.