Children's Books Lose Their Essence on the Big Screen

by Tanya Thomas on  June 21, 2011 at 8:54 AM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
Children's books have long been fodder for Hollywood, but experts say movies based on these stories fail to live up to the print versions.
 Children's Books Lose Their Essence on the Big Screen
Children's Books Lose Their Essence on the Big Screen

Key details are often changed in hopes of turning a page-turner into a blockbuster, according to two Kansas State University children's literature experts.

"My biggest concern when a children's book is made into a movie is that the essence of what made the book a success will be lost in translation," said Anne Phillips, an associate professor of English at Kansas State who teaches courses in children's literature.

"Generally, the studios want a well known actor to play one of the roles so that they can obtain funding for the project. An example is when Dame Maggie Smith was cast as the housekeeper in 'The Secret Garden.' The script was then adapted to give her more to do. All of a sudden the project changed because of adult casting," she said.

Naomi Wood, an associate professor of English who also teaches several children's literature courses, said how the plot is treated is key.

"It's not unusual for distinctive aspects of the text to be erased in favor of a generic approach to plot, characterization, etc.," she stated.

"For example, the protagonist of 'Holes'-written by Louis Sachar-was overweight, but movies often replace such characters with conventionally attractive child actors," Wood added.

Source: ANI

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