A Take on Criticism Actors Face When They Take on a Role in a Book-Based Movie.

I’ll never understand why people flip out when characters in a movie don’t look exactly like they pictured in the book. Even though multiple people may read the same book, there is absolutely no way each of those readers had the same vision.

VA original book cover (Image from Goodreads)

There has been a continuing trend of books being made into movies. Finally, my favorite YA series is hitting the big screen. Vampire Academy is the story of two friends, one a Moroi (aka ‘living’ vampire) princess and the other her soon-to-be dhampir guardian. I heard a lot of complain about the dhampir, from whose perspective the story is told. Rose Hathaway is a fighter. She is toned, full bodied and not afraid to show off what she’s got. One of the things I really admired about her character is how she owns her sexuality. She does this with pure attitude.

When Zoey Deutch was first cast as Rose, there was an uproar of negativity. To this day, I hear people complain that she’s too small, she doesn’t have the muscles, she doesn’t have the boobs and her skin isn’t dark enough. Were people imagining a body builder when they read Vampire Academy, because women don’t magically get huge muscles like that. Depending on her body type, she could be plenty small and still kick ass. She also eats a typical 17-year-old diet, which would lessen her toned look. If you look at this chart of body fat percentages, you’ll see you have to have an extremely low amount of body fat to look ripped. It takes more than fitness. You have to eat to perfection if you want to look like the woman showing off 10-12% body fat.

The complaints about how Zoey looks are what really get to me. The book is written from the perspective of Rose. I don’t recall her ever saying her cup size, but, again depending on her body type, she could have A or B cups and still consider herself well endowed. She’s the one telling use she has curves that drive men crazy. It’s fabulous that she has that kind of confidence in herself, but that doesn’t mean she looks like Beyoncé.

This touches on another issue I have when people complain about actors in movies based off books. Not only does each reader have a unique vision of the story they read, the characters in the book also have unique views. When we read Vampire Academy, we are reading Rose’s view of the world. Just because she says Dimitri Belikov is the hottest thing this side of the Pacific does not mean he would appear that way to everyone else. This is one of the reasons why I don’t give a damn about how attractive actors appear to me. The book is not about TK running around, protecting Moroi  and staking Strigoi. It’s about Rose and Lissa as they struggle to find out who has been terrorizing Lissa, who can be emotionally unstable at times. Just because they think certain character look hot, child like or frightening does not mean I would think the same thing looking at the same person. This fact is just one more reason why I don’t care if actors look exactly like what I imagined reading the book.

VA Movie Poster (Image from IMBD)

At the end of the day, I could care less about how Zoey looks, how tall she is or how toned she is. Rose is supposed to have long brown hair – which can be done with dye or a wig if she doesn’t have it naturally. Her actor should look like she’s fit, which can look very different depending on her body type. More important than anything else, she needs to be able to act the part. When  Zoey Deutch opens her mouth, I expect to hear Rose Hathaway snark. When she runs into danger, I expect her to whip out her stake and kick ass. When someone accuses her of being a slut, I expect to see some exceptional snark and possibly bloody noses. From what I can tell of the previews, she’s got this all covered.

If I were to complain about any of the characters, I’d target the actors for Mia and Christian. Those two are the farthest from what I imagined. Yet, I’m not complaining. From what I can tell in the previews, Sami Gayle and Dominic Sherwood have their characters down. That’s all it takes to make me happy.

I will make my way to Vampire Academy the movie with an open mind this evening. More than likely, it won’t be exactly like the book. That’s okay. I am rooting for this movie to be a huge hit because I want the darker, more mature books that come after this one to be made into movies as well. If you love me, you’ll go see the movie. So, please, everyone, go see Vampire Academy this weekend!

How important is it for an actor to look like the character you pictured when reading the book? Have there been any actors that really disappointed you in their portray of a character? Why? What’s your favorite book-based movie to date? Will you be seeing Vampire Academy?


10 thoughts on “A Take on Criticism Actors Face When They Take on a Role in a Book-Based Movie.”

  1. I saw the preview for that movie last night! It actually looks really good. I get nervous with the whole vampire thing blowing up but I freaking love vampires so I can’t help but watch!

    1. I have high hopes because the books are AMAZING. Hands down the best YA series I’ve ever read. It’s a lot like Harry Potter in the sense that the first two books are rather simple with some very important foreshadowing details. After that, things get much more complex and darker. I’m expecting some kick ass fight scenes. You should defiantly go see it! Go see it, love it, read the books and root for a second movie!

      I’ve loved vampires for a long time. I think they offer a unique perspective on humanity. I could get very deep with that train of thought, but let’/s just say that I love them too. Vampire Academy is based off of Romanian vampire mythology where there are three different races. I’m not going to say more than that because the whole political world gets so complex the more you know about it. If you read the books, you’ll know what I mean.

      1. Aw man. Now I definitely want to read up. I’ve loved vamps ever since Interview with a Vampire. My little self became hooked. I’m gonna watch the movie and if I like it, I’m buying the damn books lol

        1. I really REALLY hope the movie does well enough to result in more movies… and merchandise. I just can’t contain my excitement. I’ve been obsessing since they first said this movie was happening.

  2. Hands Down FIGHT CLUB…… OMG I’ve never seen a movie like Fight Club that was practically verbatim from the book. The director/screen writer did an incredible job on that one. For those people who never read the book and only saw the movie they literally got everything almost word for word………..

    Okay, you can make fun of me but I still have a warm place in my heart for the Chronicles of Narnia and when I saw the movie that they made a couple years ago I thought it was really weird that Lucy in the film had blonde hair when in the book she was a redhead; Huh? I didn’t mind who they cast as Lucy….. but can’t we at least dye her bloody hair for some continuity please? (and notice that you mentioned the color of hair in the movie you’re about to see….. so I think we might be on the same page with this one)

    And I got to disagree with you about the attractiveness factor. If a character in a book is described as being extremely attractive or extremely ugly (if that is central to the story) and the actor/actresses are the exact opposite in the film; well just like with Lucy’s red hair, I would have problem with the continuity factor because I believe the movie should at least bring a sense of continuity from the book i.e. the ‘essence’ of the book should be portrayed…. otherwise what’s the point of even making the movie ‘based’ on the book, just give it another bloody title and write a new script.

    Now I haven’t read the vampire series you’re referring to, but as long as the characters appearance isn’t central to the plot than I would agree with you; it doesn’t matter who they cast.

    1. The characters’ physical appearance is described, but I wouldn’t say that makes it central to to the story.

      On the point of attractiveness, I wasn’t trying to say having an actor who is opposite is okay. I expect the producers to prioritize acting first. If the character looks just like I imagined, but can’t act for shit, the movie won’t be any good. I also expect the producers to do everything they can to make the actor look just like the book character (I agree they should have turned Lucy’s hair red. They could have given Harry Potter’s character green contacts as well. It can’t be that hard).

      I was talking more about how people nitpick and say characters aren’t hot enough or don’t look like they imagined. For example, a character in this book/movie is Dimitri. He is a twenty-something teacher and guardian. He’s from Russia, has an accent, always wears his duster jacket and had shoulder length brown hair which he often wears in a short pony tail. Being a guardian, he’s also physically fit.

      So, they hired a Russian actor (this will actually be his first English film) had him grow out his hair and gave him a wig. Google Danila Kozlovsky and you’ll see he’s a fine looking guy. Is he ever girl’s image of attractiveness? Of course not. No actor is going to embody the exact image each reader saw because each reader saw something different.

      That’s the point I’m trying to get at with this. I hate when people nitpick and get angry because an actor doesn’t fit exactly what they saw in their head. That’s impossible. Their acting is most important, not the fact that their hair is an inch shorter or longer than you imagined.

    2. Oh, and one other thing, I have a friend who raves about Fight Club being so true to the book. Then we went and saw Catching Fire. He couldn’t believe it. He kept saying he never saw anything so exact to the book like that since Fight Club.

      I feel like I fail at life for not having read the book or seen the movie. Maybe I should get on that.

      1. well ya don’t fail at life ha ha …. but gosh I really love the book and the movie 😉 there are just so many points about the world we live in that the movie/book talks about and gets you to think about.

        And I agree with your comment above that I’ve heard people in the past complain about particular actors/actresses who were cast in certain roles and they ‘didn’t think they were like the character from the book” totally annoying I agree.

  3. I haven’t seen a lot of movies that have portrayed the books I’ve read, but I will say it can be shocking when the character looks vastly different from the one I created in my mind. At the same time, A lot of different people can create very different looking characters. Sometimes I like the movie character’s looks better. Like the woman who played the lead in Thorn Birds. I thought Kristen Stewart was perfect for Bella because Bella is attractive and yet ordinary looking at the same time–A girl that most others feel they could relate to and identify with. I also thought that Kiera Knightley was perfect for Elizabeth Barrett, in terms of personality, although the fictional character was supposed to be less attractive. Zoey sounds perfect for a kick-ass vampire– Capturing the personality, whether or not she captures the voluptuous. And here, personality seems more important.

    1. I agree. Rose’s personality and confidence is what really shines about her in the book. So long as she has that, I’m good.

      It’s the same with what they did for the character of Mia. In the book, she’s described as having curly, blond hair, but in the movie she has a pixie cut. She seems to be playing her part well, in the previews though, so I can live.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s