11 Famous Characters That Changed Drastically From Book to Movie

year ago

It’s not that easy to adapt a book to the big screen. It can happen that a screenplay will be as good as the original, but sometimes it leaves much to be desired. Usually, the authors of the books give their characters certain traits, but in the movie, they can be significantly changed for some reason. We’ve found several book characters and famous historical icons who were depicted in movies in a completely different light.


The book series about Tarzan includes 24 novels. They tell the story of a man who was raised in the jungle. This story has been adapted for the screen many times, so it’s no wonder that this character, who we know through movies and cartoons, has little to do with his counterpart from the book.

Some movies tend to show Tarzan as a member of an African tribe, not as the king of the jungle. It all started with a 1999 Disney cartoon, where this character became more comedic and kid-friendly and gained wisdom from his animal mentors. While in the books, Tarzan is a self-sufficient man who doesn’t need anyone’s advice.

Captain Nemo, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

In Jules Verne’s books, Nemo is a multi-faceted person. He was born an Indian prince, but was forced to escape and hide. Nemo is a very educated, intelligent, and witty man. He can be cruel sometimes, but also generous.

However, in most Hollywood adaptations, he was turned into a selfish pirate who only sought power.

Cleopatra in the movie of the same name

Be it the iconic Hollywood picture or the comedy about Asterix and Obelix, Cleopatra is shown as an unbelievably beautiful woman everywhere. Thanks to these movies, the audience is under the impression that the Egyptian queen charmed all men with her stunning appearance. But in reality, it wasn’t quite like that.

She looks like an ordinary-looking woman in most depictions of her that have survived. So, it’s more likely that she won men’s hearts not with her beauty, but with her wit.

Frankenstein’s monster, Bride of Frankenstein

Unlike his movie counterpart, Frankenstein’s monster from the book is not a clumsy creature who moves and speaks slowly. In the novel, the doctor’s creation speaks a few languages, is capable of having long dialogues, and has a deep personality in general.

Conan, Conan the Barbarian

Conan became famous after Arnold Schwarzenegger portrayed him. Later, this character was also played by Jason Momoa. In this movie, Conan isn’t really smart. He is more powerful and adept with a sword than with strategic thinking.

But in Robert E. Howard’s books, this character is far from being simple or stupid. Conan is remarkably erudite and eloquent.

Forrest Gump in the movie of the same name

The movie Forrest Gump holds 11th place according to IMDb. But very few people know that the flick differs from the book. In the novel, Gump is not kind, he is rather cruel and likes to curse. Also, despite his dimwittedness, he is surprisingly gifted in math and physics.

Dandelion, The Witcher

The game series about the Witcher is noted to be one of the best. And this is thanks to the fact that the game makers keep the story very close to the originals — Andrzej Sapkowski’s books. In the TV series, this character is shown quite differently. First, his relationship with Geralt is not as strong — Dandelion tends to bother Geralt, while they are close friends in the books.

Both in the books and the series, Dandelion is a ladies’ man. However, the book character graduated from university and gave classes there from time to time.

Hercule Poirot, Murder on the Orient Express

Hercule Poirot is very sophisticated and multifaceted, so it’s not easy to play him. In the 2017 movie Murder on the Orient Express, he suddenly took on a complicated and sorrowful vibe stemming from his background. He also looks comical and self-assured.

Like an action movie hero, he saves other characters with the help of his cane and pistol. While in the book, the detective prefers to solve problems with words and is not that tough.

Ron Weasley, Harry Potter film series

Harry Potter fans admit that Rupert Grint was great in the role of Ron. The problem lies in the script. Some essential elements of the main characters’ relationships are omitted there. In the books, Ron is a bit clumsy but courageous. But the moviemakers gave many of his traits to Hermione.

In the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Ron helps Hermione stop panicking and figure out how to get out of the trap. And in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he defended Harry and Hermione from the potentially dangerous Sirius Black, even though he was injured.

Peeta Mellark, The Hunger Games

Peeta is very kind in both the books and the movies. Thanks to his kindness and courage, he and Katniss become victors. But the movie audience got the impression that he was nothing without Katniss, who literally had to carry him on her shoulders through the story. In the books, this character is not weak but very strong, mentally and physically. And he’s also not as simple as he might seem.

In the novel, Katniss suspects that Peeta is being dishonest when they become tributes. She thinks that Peeta wants to kill her. The book is written in first person, while we can’t hear Katniss’ thoughts in the movie. So, some of her conclusions and worries are kept a secret from us.

Serena in the movie of the same name

Unlike the book character, Serena is too glamorous in the movie. In Ron Rash’s novel, she is a cold and calculating woman who takes her husband’s business and life under control. In the film, Serena is shown as a weaker person, which makes the story less dynamic.

Do you know of any other books that have screen adaptations you don’t like?


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