It's happened to all of us at one time or another. We suspect it, because we live in an age of viral culture, but it somehow always still always catches us by surprise and floods us with a devastating range of emotions. What I'm talking about, of course, is when Hollywood buys the movie rights to your favorite book.
The end of 2014 alone brought more than two dozen novels to the big screen, including box office successes like Gone Girl and Mockingjay, to awards show nominees (and/or winners) like The Imitation Game and Wild. Whether it was a blockbuster or an indie sleeper, these movies are unique from original screenplays in that they already come with a certain set of expectations — not from the film critics, but from the readers who have already connected with the story or characters in their own intimate way.
My relationship with movie adaptations from my favorite books over recent years has been complicated. I think The Hunger Games series is fantastic. I thought Gone Girl was almost as perfect an adaptation as it could be. I LOVED The Perks of Being a Wallflower (which I know isn't really a popular opinion). And I if I hadn't been so in love with John Green's The Fault In Our Stars (or really just hadn't even read it at all), I would have thought the movie was a good idea, but executed very poorly.
No matter how the film turns out to be, there are certain stages I always go through from the moment I find out the characters I imagined are going to be alive in front of me on the big screen to when the credits roll and the feelings begin to flow. Here are the 10 stages of seeing your favorite book get turned into a movie:
OMG I'm so excited!
Your heart races when Twitter/your favorite gossip blog/your mom tells you the news. You post it on Facebook. You send out a mass text to all of your friends who have also read it. Depending on your level of commitment, you may or not may not put in a request to take the premiere date off from work.
Oh wait, but what if it turns out to be really bad?
What if your favorite character isn't how you imagined her? What if one of your favorite subplots doesn't make the cut in the screenplay? What if the element of surprise on screen is totally ruined because oh how completely taken aback you were the first time you figured out the crazy twist?
But it could be really good. So I should buy tickets to the midnight show, just in case.
Let us not forget how skeptical you were before Gone Girl. And the lack of chemistry between Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck in their early relationship was made up for in other ways — like how perfectly insane Neil Patrick Harris was as Desi and how the twist still made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up even though I totally knew it was coming.
Okay, the production shots are cool and everything, but I just want it to BE HERE.
I can only watch the trailer so many times (that amount of times is about 100 times). I've already stalked the main actors on Twitter and Instagram and seen all the behind-the-scenes shots that exist. I can't hold out too much longer.
It's today! It's midnight and I'm at the movies!
It's like Christmas merged with New Years AND my birthday and I don't even care if I'm here by myself or with a group of friends I somehow convinced to come with me! Popcorn and Cherry Cokes on me, everyone!
*Looks around the theater and sees copies of the book secretly stashed in other people's bags.*
These are my people. I've found them. The lights start to dim, you take a deep, comfortable breath and watch the story begin.
Wait, where's X? Are they seriously nixing one of the most important minor characters?
How could you just cut out the main character's sister completely? And isn't this something that happened in the second book? Are they really trying to merge story lines right now?
But aww, I forgot how much I love this scene.
I take everything I said before back, if only momentarily. I totally forgot about this perfect subtle scene where nothing and everything happens all at once. If I didn't see the movie, I probably wouldn't have remembered or even realized how important this one little moment is for the entire plot.
In the end, it definitely wasn't as good as the book.
Mostly because they didn't put me in charge of casting, but whatever.
Because I secretly loved it anyway.
And you know I'll be seeing it at least one more time in theaters. And then four more when it's streaming on Amazon.
Photo: Giphy (10)