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30 authors on movie adaptations of their work

30 authors on movie adaptations of their work

30 authors on movie adaptations of their work
03 August 2014

Some writers are not returning Hollywood's calls while others have Hollywood on speed dial.

Here we take a look at thirty quotes from authors about adaptations of their work, some backslapping, some backbiting...


(Images: Rex and YouTube)

Mary Poppins

"I cried when I saw it. I said, 'Oh, God, what have they done?'"

- P.L.Travers

Jack Reacher

"The fact is Cruise is a great Jack Reacher. He really nails it."

- Lee Child

Rules Of Attraction

“My favourite movie out of the four [of my books that have been adapted] was The Rules of Attraction. I thought it was the only one that captured the sensibility of the novel in a cinematic way. I know I’m sounding like a film critic on that, but I’m talking about that in an emotional way — as the writer of the novel. I watched that movie and thought they got it in a way that Mary Harron [director of American Psycho] didn't and Less Than Zero didn't.”

- Bret Easton Ellis

Gone Baby, Gone

"I saw the movie and it's terrific, I wasn't going to say anything if I didn't like it but it's really terrific."

- Dennis Lehane

Interview With A Vampire

"Tom [Cruise] was Lestat for me. He has the immense physical and moral presence; he was defiant and yet never without conscience; he was beautiful beyond description yet compelled to do cruel things. The sheer beauty of Tom was dazzling, but the polish of his acting, his flawless plunge into the Lestat persona, his ability to speak rather boldly poetic lines, and speak them with seeming ease and conviction were exhilarating and uplifting."

- Anne Rice

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

“I approached the prospect of a feature film of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with the same misgivings that would have afflicted anyone else who had loved the television series of 32 years ago. George Smiley was Alec Guinness, Alec was George, period. How could another actor equal let alone surpass him? My anxieties were misplaced. And if people write to me and say, ‘How could you let this happen to poor old Alec Guinness?’, I shall reply that, if ‘poor Alec’ had witnessed Oldman’s performance, he would have been the first to give it a standing ovation.”

- John Le Carré

Queen of the Damned

"Mutilated [my] work"

- Anne Rice

Children of Men

"It’s obvious that this film departed from the book, but I’m so proud to be associated with this film."

- PD James

A Clockwork Orange

"The film made it easy for readers of the book to misunderstand what it was about, and the misunderstanding will pursue me till I die."

- Anthony Burgess

Prozac Nation

"As you should have figured out by now, it's a horrible movie... It's just awful. If they thought it was good, they'd have released it long ago."

- Elizabeth Wurtzel


"When people talk about the stuff of mine that's frightened them onscreen, they're apt to mention Pennywise the Clown first."

- Stephen King


"No Comment."

- James Ellroy

Empire Of The Sun

“Spielberg’s film seems more truthful as the years pass. Christian Bale and John Malkovich join hands by the footlights with my real parents and my younger self, with the Japanese soldiers and American pilots, as a boy runs forever across a peaceful lawn towards the coming war. But perhaps, in the end, it’s all only a movie.”

- JG Ballard

The Last Man on Earth

“I was disappointed in The Last Man on Earth, even though they more or less followed my story. I think Vincent Price, whom I love in every one of his pictures that I wrote, was miscast. I also felt the direction was kind of poor."

- Richard Matheson


" I have not seen the film and I am not familiar with the script, hence I cannot say anything about the movie itself except for what the reviews reflect, albeit unclearly - like a distorted picture of one's face in ripply water. However, to my best knowledge, the book was not dedicated to erotic problems of people in outer space."

- Stanislaw Lem

LA Confidential

"I understood in 40 minutes or so that it is a work of art on its own level. It was amazing to see the physical incarnation of the characters."

- James Ellroy

The Shining

"Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fall flat. Not that religion has to be involved in horror, but a visceral skeptic such as Kubrick just couldn't grasp the sheer inhuman evil of The Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: because he couldn't believe, he couldn't make the film believable to others. What's basically wrong with Kubrick's version of The Shining is that it's a film by a man who thinks too much and feels too little; and that's why, for all its virtuoso effects, it never gets you by the throat and hangs on the way real horror should."

- Stephen King

Myra Breckenridge

“The second-worst movie I’ve ever seen”

- Gore Vidal

Brokeback Mountain

"I may be the first writer in America to have a piece of writing make its way to the screen whole and entire. And, when I saw the film for the first time, I was astonished that the characters of Jack and Ennis came surging into my mind again."

- Annie Proulx

American Psycho

"American Psycho was a book I didn’t think needed to be turned into a movie. I think the problem with American Psycho was that it was conceived as a novel, as a literary work with a very unreliable narrator at the centre of it and the medium of film demands answers."

- Bret Easton Ellis


"A perfect storm of filmmaking, one of those times when everything came together."

- James Sallis


"There are things that we did with Watchmen that could only work in a comic, and were indeed designed to show off things that other media can't."

- Alan Moore


"It took a while for me to get over the idea that I had been insane to agree to it, but I love the movie now. What I admire the most is that it’s very true to the book’s themes of life and obsession, and there are also insights into things which are much more subtle in the book about longing, and about disappointment.”

- Susan Orlean


"The swerves of a scenic drive as perceived by the horizontal passenger of an ambulance"

- Vladimir Nabokov

To Kill A Mocking Bird

“If the integrity of a film adaptation is measured by the degree to which the novelist’s intent is preserved, Mr. Foote’s screenplay should be studied as a classic.”

- Harper Lee

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

The director of Captain Corelli's was originally going to be Roger Michell, but he had a heart-attack while on the Eurostar so they got in another director. Roger had asked me to write the script and I said no because I was working on a novel and didn't feel I knew enough about scriptwriting. Of course, in retrospect I really wish I had!"

- Louis de Bernières

Blade Runner

“My life and creative work are justified and completed by Blade Runner.”

- Philip K. Dick

The Chamber

"It could not have been handled worse by those involved, including me. I made a fundamental error when I sold the film rights before I finished writing the book. It was a dreadful movie. Gene Hackman was the only good thing in it."

- John Grisham

Mystic River

"They did it so beautifully.”

- Dennis Lehane

Midnight Express

"My problem with the movie is that there are no good Turks in it. They're all bad. The characters are all very one dimensional. They're like caricatures of Turks. The movie hurt the country... I wish that hadn't happened."

- Billy Hayes