I just finished reading Peter Mayle's A Good Year. For those of you who don't know his writing, most of it is set in Provence and is smattered with French words and phrases, has a lot of food and a lot of wine. Makes we want to go there, like right now.
Anyway, a movie was made out of this book and it's one of my absolute favorite, favorite, favorites. It stars Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard and Tom Hollander. I've seen it (have it on DVD) at least 100 times. (Told you I loved this movie.)
Here's the thing, because I liked the movie so much I decided to read the book to see if there was anything in the movie I missed, some backstory, or maybe another plot twist. What a big fat freaking surprise when I finished it last night.
The book is nothing like the movie. Or should I say, the movie is nothing like the book. NOTHING. The main characters are shown in a completely different light. The plot in the movie is nothing like the plot in the book, not even remotely, the setting is different, the secondary characters are different, even the damn dog's name is different. I wanted to scream, "Who wrote the screenplay?"
Now I understand that a director/producer/screenplay writer will take a certain "creative license" with the material, but to completely change the whole story, well, wow, that kind of blows my mind. I think the only thing that stayed the same was the title. Don't get me wrong, like I said, I LOVE the movie. I also loved the book.
It got me thinking though, what would have happened to Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, if the "creative license" was given free reign.
My question to you gentle readers is this -- If you are so fortunate as to have someone ask you if they could make a movie from your book, would you allow them to do whatever they wanted with it, or would you insist on having creative control?