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12 Characters That Changed Drastically From Movie to Book

Cinema and literature have fantastic ways of taking us into new worlds and possibilities; both give us unique experiences through their characters, and each one does it in its own way. On the one hand, the book describes some details and gives us a space for imagination, while the cinema shows us the exact details. But what happens to the characters when movies adapt them to the big screen?

At Bright Side, we’re showing you how some movie directors didn’t do the best casting for the characters in their films.

1. Sherlock Holmes — Sherlock Holmes

Undoubtedly, playing one of the most mythical characters in modern fiction, like Sherlock Holmes, is not an easy job. However, the choice of Robert Downey Jr. to play the most famous detective of all time was extremely strange. Physically, he is a far cry from the literary character, who is described as being over 6 feet tall and so extraordinarily wiry that he gave the impression of being even taller. “His eyes were sharp and penetrating, [...] and his nose, thin and aquiline, gave his features an air of liveliness and resolution.”

2. Gilderoy Lockhart — Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Of course, we don’t question Kenneth Branagh’s acting skills, which surely influenced Chris Colombus’ decision to cast him as the controversial Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in the second Harry Potter installment. But perhaps we imagined a younger actor for the role, someone a bit more “attractive” and true to the book’s description.

3. Jo March — Little Women

In the book, Little Women, Jo March stands out with her 15 years of age and her light brown hair and gray eyes. But apparently, in the 2019 adaptation, they overlooked those features when casting Saoirse Ronan.

4. Pennywise — It

Stephen King skillfully created this character who feeds on the fear of his victims; he dresses in an entirely silver suit with orange buttons and bears a white skin tone. In the television adaptation, he is seen as a bald, white-faced clown with a crown of red hair around his head who dons a red nose, yellow suspenders with orange buttons, gloves, and a full-body yellow suit; he also occasionally carries balloons in his hand. In the film adaptation, he wears an old silver Victorian clown costume with white lace cuffs, pom-poms, and red thread embroidery adorning his attire.

5. Count Dracula — Dracula

Although at this point in film history we already had many iconic images of Dracula played by different actors, undoubtedly the first of all of them was that of Bela Lugosi, which continues to cause some nostalgia. But the truth is that, although he is very attractive and gallant, his characterization is nothing like the one in the book, which presents the monster as a “tall, clean-shaven old man, except for a long white mustache, and dressed in black from head to toe, without a single spot of color anywhere.”

6. Rochester — Jane Eyre

Edward Rochester is an unattractive man in Charlotte Brontë’s book. In fact, the author intentionally describes him that way to serve the purpose of her story. But in the 2011 film adaptation, Michael Fassbender didn’t have a stern face or bushy eyebrows. In fact, he is anything but unattractive.

7. Beatrice “Tris” Prior — Divergent

Shailene Woodley starred in the film adaptations of the saga written by Veronica Roth. But physically, she has nothing to do with her character, Tris. She is described as having blonde hair and big blue eyes in a thin, elongated face.

8. Katniss Everdeen — The Hunger Games

The saga was a great success on the big screen; however, the rating, in terms of fidelity to the literary work vs the adaptation falls short. In the film, actress Jennifer Lawrence does not portray the 16-year-old girl with a much thinner body due to food shortages and short stature.

9. Alice — Alice in Wonderland

Carroll’s Alice was based on a real girl. Although the author did not say much about the girl’s physical appearance, some details of her life can be discovered from the text of the 2 books. For example, it is assumed that she was a 7-year-old girl, but this is not verified. In Tim Burton’s adaptation, where she is played by Mia Wasikowska, Alice is portrayed as a 19-year-old woman.

10. Elsa — Frozen

Elsa seems to have captivated young and old with her values, enthusiasm, and warmth, although, ironically, she is the adaptation of the Snow Queen. In Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale, the queen is depicted as a living ice queen dressed in white and shrouded in sparkles, while in the adaptation, we see her as human.

11. Skeeter — The Help

Emma Stone is an exceptional star who can do justice to any character. She played Skeeter in The Help, an Oscar-nominated film based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett. Emma surprised everyone with her performance, although her appearance was far from identical to that of the book, where Skeeter was described as a tall, scrawny woman with a crooked nose.

12. James Bond — Casino Royale

Undoubtedly, Daniel Craig elevated the character of James Bond to his most human and sentimental side. His personality and intelligence outlined a perfect spy. But the truth is that Craig and the character created by Ian Fleming are nothing alike. The author had always described Bond as a man who was 5’9″ with long hair falling over his forehead.

What other characters based on books do you think could have been better adapted to the big screen?

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