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    15 Authors Who Felt Bummed, Horrified, And Just Plain Pissed Off About Adaptations Of Their Work

    If you thought the book was better than the movie, imagine how these writers felt.

    1. P.L. Travers — Mary Poppins

    HMH Books for Young Readers / Via amazon.com, Walt Disney Productions / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Books: Mary Poppins series (eight books, published between 1934 and 1988)

    The Movie: Mary Poppins (1964)

    The Hate: Travers and Walt Disney (who was determined to adapt her books after promising his daughters he would) had such a contentious working relationship that a whole other movie was made about it: 2013's Saving Mr. Banks. Despite her attempt to keep an iron grip on the film's direction, Travers ultimately despised the animated sequences and the way the movie watered down the more disciplinarian side of Poppins. The author despised it so much, she wept through the entire premiere.

    2. Rick Riordan — Percy Jackson Series

    Miramax Books / Hyperion / Via amazon.com, 20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Books: Percy Jackson & the Olympians series (five books, published between 2005 and 2009, plus supplementary works and spinoffs)

    The Movies: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)

    The Hate: Riordan has been open about his disappointment in the film adaptations of his work (so have the fans.) Though he's never actually watched the movies, he read the scripts, and apparently that was more than enough. In 2018, Riordan released the letters he wrote to the filmmakers during development, laying out his concerns and disappointments. Among them? The decision to age up the characters to their late teens ("it kills any possibility of a movie franchise") and straight-up bad writing ("the script as a whole is terrible.") Hopefully, the upcoming Disney+ adaptation rights these wrongs.

    3. Stephen King — The Shining

    Anchor / Via amazon.com, Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Book: The Shining (1977)

    The Movie: The Shining (1980)

    The Hate: Despite the fact that Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is considered a spooky classic, the King of Horror himself was not impressed. He thought the character arc of protagonist Jack Torrance was lacking, and once said that Wendy is "one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film." Luckily, King has had plenty of opportunities to enjoy other adaptations of his work — as of 2019, around 50 King movies were either already released or in production.

    4. Roald Dahl — Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

    Puffin Books / Via amazon.com, Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Book: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)

    The Movie: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

    The Hate: Roald Dahl is actually the credited screenwriter on this movie, but despite that rare level of creative control, he was still dissatisfied with the final product. He thought Gene Wilder was miscast as the eccentric candy tycoon, and he took offense to some of the small changes made to his script.

    5. Anthony Burgess — A Clockwork Orange

    W. W. Norton & Company / Via amazon.com, Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Book: A Clockwork Orange (1962)

    The Movie: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

    The Hate: Kubrick cannot keep these writers happy. Though Burgess was reportedly initially pleased with the adaptation of his dystopian classic, that good first impression didn't last. Burgess took issue with the director's decision to remove the 21st and final chapter of the book from the plot of the film (until 1986, American editions didn't include the 21st chapter, out of fear audiences wouldn't be convinced by the ultra-violent protagonist's redemption). He was also displeased with how little money he made from the adaptation. The author developed such a contentious view of Kubrick that in the stage adaptation he published in 1987, "a man bearded like Stanley Kubrick" is kicked off stage.

    6. Ken Kesey — One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    Berkley / Via amazon.com, United Artists / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Book: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962)

    The Movie: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

    The Hate: Ken Kesey never watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but that doesn't mean he wasn't pissed about it. Producer Michael Douglas recalled that the production "got into a financial dispute" with Kesey after his initial attempts to adapt his own work fell through, and mused that it might have been "his way of defending his ego." One of Kesey's major complaints was the decision to drop Chief Bromden as narrator. Kesey's feelings aside, the movie still won the "Big Five" Academy Awards (Best Picture, Actor in a Lead Role, Actress in a Lead Role, Director, and Screenplay.)

    7. E.B. White — Charlotte's Web

    HarperCollins Publishers / Via amazon.com, Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Book: Charlotte's Web (1952)

    The Movie: Charlotte's Web (1973)

    The Hate: White won some battles with the team behind the Hanna-Barbera cartoon production, including insisting that they keep Charlotte's death in the film, despite fears that it was too dark for a young audience. Regardless, White and his wife both hated the finished product, referring to it in private letters as "a travesty."

    8. Truman Capote — Breakfast at Tiffany's

    Knopf Doubleday / Via amazon.com, Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Book: Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958)

    The Movie: Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

    The Hate: Truman Capote was convinced that only one leading lady in the world could do justice to the iconic party girl Holly Golightly: Marilyn Monroe. When the role went to Audrey Hepburn instead, Capote "spent the rest of his life trashing" the adaptation, calling it "the most miscast" film. The severity of his disappointment may have something to do with the fact that according to biographer Gerald Clarke, "Holly was Capote’s favorite creation."

    9. Madeleine L'Engle — A Wrinkle in Time

    Square Fish / Via amazon.com, AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo

    The Book: A Wrinkle in Time (1962)

    The Movie: A Wrinkle in Time (2003)

    The Hate: This is not the 2018 Ava DuVernay adaptation (L'Engle passed away 11 years before it was released) but the 2003 made-for-TV movie. In a Newsweek interview from just before it was released, L'Engle said that she'd "glimpsed" the movie. When asked if it met expectations, L'Engle replied, "Oh, yes. I expected it to be bad, and it is." She didn't say much else, but did she really need to?

    10. Michael Ende — The NeverEnding Story

    Puffin Books / Via amazon.com, Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Book: The Neverending Story (1979)

    The Movie: The NeverEnding Story (1984)

    The Hate: Michael Ende hated this adaptation so much that he requested his name be removed from the credits. At a press conference in his native Germany, Ende called the movie "revolting" and claimed that the filmmakers secretly rewrote the screenplay without his permission. He justified these strong words by pointing out that, "My moral and artistic existence is at stake in this film.” You've got to wonder what he would've said about the iconic NeverEnding Story singalong scene from Stranger Things.

    11. Ursula K. Le Guin — The Earthsea Cycle

    HMH Books for Young Readers / Via amazon.com, Hallmark Entertainment / Via amazon.com, Buena Vista / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Books: The Earthsea Cycle (five books, plus a collection of short stories set in the same world, published between 1968 and 2001)

    The Miniseries: Legend of Earthsea (two episodes, aired on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2004)

    The Movie: Gedo Senki or, Tales from Earthsea (2006)

    The Hate: In a 2004 essay entitled "A Whitewashed Earthsea", Le Guin lays out her issues with the television adaptation, starting with the fact that her protagonist Ged changes from "a boy with red-brown skin" to a "petulant white kid." Le Guin points out that race, "a crucial element" of the series, was totally removed from the Sci Fi version, and that Danny Glover was the only man of color present in the main cast. These changes, she writes, made for a final product that was nothing more than a "generic McMagic movie."

    The 2006 Studio Ghibli adaptation also came as a disappointment to Le Guin. She was approached by Hayao Miyazaki years earlier about adapting her work, but at that time, she wasn't familiar with either his movies or anime, so she turned him down. She later became a fan, and was displeased when directing duties fell to Miyazaki's son Gorō Miyazaki instead. After she watched the film for the first time, Gorō Miyazaki asked if she liked it, to which she responded, "Yes. It is not my book. It is your movie. It is a good movie." But she was once again troubled by its approach to race, and the muddled plotting and moral themes.

    12. Donn Pearce — Cool Hand Luke

    Constable & Robinson / Via amazon.com, Warner Bros. / Everett Collection

    The Book: Cool Hand Luke (1965)

    The Movie: Cool Hand Luke (1967)

    The Hate: Pearce was actually hired to write the screenplay adaptation of his book, which was inspired by the two years he spent on a prison road gang. However, the filmmakers hired a more experienced screenwriter to rework the script, and on his final day on set, Pearce punched someone. The most famous line from the movie — "What we've got here is a failure to communicate," spoken by the Captain of the prison camp to Luke — does not appear in the book, and for good reason: Pearce later called it a "stupid fucking line" and argued that prison guards weren't educated enough to come up with such a sophisticated turn of phrase.

    13. Lois Duncan — I Know What You Did Last Summer

    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Via amazon.com, Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Book: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973)

    The Movie: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

    The Hate: While the original novel "married teenage melodrama to an urgent suspense plot," its film adaptation was re-envisioned as a slasher film, a change in genre which horrified Duncan. During an interview, she said that, "As the mother of a murdered child, I don't find violent death something to squeal and giggle about." (Duncan's 18-year-old daughter Kaitlyn was killed in 1989.)

    14. J.D. Salinger — My Foolish Heart

    Little, Brown and Company / Via amazon.com, Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Short Story: "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" (originally published in The New Yorker in 1948, later included in the 1953 collection Nine Stories)

    The Movie: My Foolish Heart (1949)

    The Hate: If you've ever wondered why The Catcher in the Rye has never been adapted for the big screen, look no further than this 1949 film: Salinger hated it so much that he swore never to give up the rights to his work ever again. With its plot radically changed from its source material, the movie opened to terrible reviews, and "every time Hollywood called after that, Salinger wouldn’t pick up the phone." However, Shane Salerno, who directed the 2013 documentary Salinger, argued that it was a myth that the author despised movies in general.

    15. Alan Moore — Literally Every Adaptation

    DC Comics / Via amazon.com, Warner Bros /Courtesy Everett Collection

    The Comics: From Hell (1989-1998), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999-2019), V for Vendetta (1982-1989), Watchmen (1986-1987), Batman: The Killing Joke (1988)

    The Movies: From Hell (2001), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), V for Vendetta (2005), Watchmen (2009), Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)

    The Hate: Moore has done his best to distance himself from the adaptations of his iconic work, arguing that, "There is something about the quality of comics that makes things possible that you couldn't do in any other medium." That hasn't stopped Hollywood from trying, with mixed results (and from Moore's point-of-view, outright bad ones). He called the V for Vendetta film a "Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country" and referred to Johnny Depp's version of the From Hell protagonist as an "absinthe-swilling dandy." So why did he sell the rights in the first place? Apparently, he figured the adaptations would never actually be made.

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