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Authors’ Funniest Responses to the Film Adaptations of Their Work


Novels have always been fodder for filmmakers, but it seems as though the adaptation pace has been amped up in recent years (and even in recent months), with Hollywood churning out versions of every beloved book, whether it’s actually unfilmable or no. But what do the authors have to say about all this? Of course, it depends both on the author and on the adaptation. After the jump, we’ve collected a few of their funniest responses to the film adaptations of their work, or even just the prospect of said adaptation, whether wry, resigned, angry or goofily psyched. Click through, and add to our collection in the comments!

Alan Moore on the Warner Bros. adaptation of Watchmen

“I find film in its modern form to be quite bullying. It spoon-feeds us, which has the effect of watering down our collective cultural imagination. It is as if we are freshly hatched birds looking up with our mouths open waiting for Hollywood to feed us more regurgitated worms. The Watchmen film sounds like more regurgitated worms. I for one am sick of worms. Can’t we get something else? Perhaps some takeout? Even Chinese worms would be a nice change.” [via LA Times ]

Harlan Ellison on L.Q. Jones’s adaptation of A Boy and His Dog

“Vic DOES NOT EAT ANY OF THE MEAT! That is the clue that leads the careful reader to ‘understanding’ the story. And it’s in the movie. It’s there. Blood hobbles toward the horizon, his wounds bandaged with Quilla June’s wedding dress rags…but he says to Vic, ‘You didn’t touch the meat.’ Vic mumbles something. And then…THEN, dammit!…then comes that moronic, hateful chauvinist last line, which I despise, and which I urge audiences to ignore, the line I could never get LQ Jones to delete, because when he tested the film at colleges, that line was the biggest applause-getter from all the frat boys and jocks and asshole college wimps who were nothing better than Vics-in-waiting. The most important point, the insight, the raison d’etre of what has been, on the surface, nothing more than a violent action-adventure movie, is buried, immolated, crushed beneath the cheap manipulative demeaning and hateful smartass retort that Blood would NEVER NEVER NEVER have spoken. He is too decent and noble and sensitive to have made a bad pun at the expense of a human being’s death. I despise it!” [via]

E.B. White on the 1973 animated musical version of Charlotte’s Web

“The movie of Charlotte’s Web is about what I expected it to be. The story is interrupted every few minutes so that somebody can sing a jolly song. I don’t care much for jolly songs. The Blue Hill Fair, which I tried to report faithfully in the book, has become a Disney World, with 76 trombones. But that’s what you get for getting embroiled in Hollywood.” [via]

Vladimir Nabokov before seeing Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita

“It may turn out to be a lovely morning mist as perceived through mosquito netting, or it may turn out to be the swerves of a scenic drive as felt by the horizontal passenger of an ambulance.” [From a 1962 interview, reprinted in Strong Opinions]

Richard Matheson on 2007’s I Am Legend, the third film adaptation to be made in his lifetime, and the third that he didn’t like:

“I don’t know why Hollywood is fascinated by my book when they never care to film it as I wrote it.”

Ursula K. LeGuin responding to the director of Earthsea claiming he had been “very, very honest to the books” and had represented what she “intended to make a statement about”

“Had ‘Miss Le Guin’ been honestly asked to be involved in the planning of the film, she might have discussed with the filmmakers what the books are about… I wonder if the people who made the film of The Lord of the Rings had ended it with Frodo putting on the Ring and ruling happily ever after, and then claimed that that was what Tolkien ‘intended…’ would people think they’d been ‘very, very honest to the books’?” [From LeGuin’s website]

Bonus: this entire article she wrote on how lame the film was over at Slate , in which she explains, “The books, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan, which were published more than 30 years ago, are about two young people finding out what their power, their freedom, and their responsibilities are. I don’t know what the film is about. It’s full of scenes from the story, arranged differently, in an entirely different plot, so that they make no sense. My protagonist is Ged, a boy with red-brown skin. In the film, he’s a petulant white kid.”

David Mitchell on the Wachowski’s adaptation of Cloud Atlas

“The first read-through of the Cloud Atlas script will stay with me forever. With three or four actors unable to attend, the film’s directors — Tom Tykwer and Lana and Andy Wachowski, who also wrote the screenplay — divvied up the spare roles. It seemed rude not to volunteer. I hadn’t been in a group-reading situation since my high-school English class, but instead of my 17-year-old classmates slogging through A Passage to India, here were Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, and Jim Broadbent delivering lines that sounded uncannily familiar. The whole experience felt rather like finding Gandhi playing Connect 4 with your plumber in the cupboard under the stairs — it wasn’t so much the individual elements of the scene that were surreal but their juxtaposition.” [via The New York Times ]

Bret Easton Ellis on softening his hatred for Less Than Zero

“It looked great. That’s why it’s gotten better as it’s gotten older. It’s aged well. I suppose that if there was no novel, we’d probably be even fonder of it, but there’s that novel that keeps messing everything up.” [via Movieline ]

Anne Rice on the casting of Interview With a Vampire

“I was particularly stunned by the casting of Cruise, who is no more my Vampire Lestat than Edward G. Robinson is Rhett Butler.” (She ended up loving him after seeing the film, obviously.) [via]

A very restrained James Ellroy on the many adaptations of his books

Brown’s Requiem, no comment. Cop, no comment. LA Confidential, wonderful film. The Black Dahlia, wonderful film.” [via]