Maryland Students Weigh in on Book-to-Film Adaptations

By Michelle Leibowitz, Bloc Reporter

Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” series all have something in common: they were best-selling books before they were movies.

Now, with over 100 million copies of books sold, Universal Pictures set the release date for a “Fifty Shades of Grey” film adaptation in 2015.

However, the film industry has some University of Maryland students torn between whether film-adaptations take away from the imaginative aspect of books or if movies supplement their paper counterparts.

Ilana Frier, a junior government and politics major, is a self-described “hardcore ‘Harry Potter’ fan.” She said the film industry simplifies the novels to have a mass appeal.

“They want the movies to sell so they need to be simple to understand for non-fans,” she said. “Die-hard fans of the books won’t be 100 percent satisfied with the movies because so much gets left out and [misconstrued].”

Other students, like Lizz McMillen, a sophomore psychology major, said she believes although movies may not be perfect visual replicas of books, they act as a positive supplement.

“I usually feel like films don’t completely portray many series, but with ‘Harry Potter’ I felt like I saw these stories from my childhood come to life,” she said. “Although not everything was included from the books, I really loved the films.”

The film industry plans to produce over 36 book-to-movie adaptations for 2014, according to IMDb, an online movie database.

Jennifer Lawrence, 23-year-old actress who plays main character Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” movies, said in an interview with Screen Rant the most challenging part of being in a film adaptation is people’s pre-existing ideas about her character before she gets on screen.

Junior economics and psychology double major Amber Muni, a fan of “The Hunger Games” books, said she is not fond of the movies because of her pre-existing ideas about the characters. She said the film adaptation tried to strip her of her original feelings.

“The second movie made me hate Katniss even though I loved her in the second book,” she said.

Major book distributors, like Scholastic, publishers of “The Hunger Games” series, opt to use pictures of the actors on the covers of books once the movie version has been released.

“If I re-read the book after watching the movie, I definitely picture the actors instead of what I originally thought them to be,” said Maggie Perkins, a sophomore early childhood education major. “I like picturing the book by myself.”

Alyssa D’Orazio, a freshman public relations and Chinese major, has a word of advice for students who don’t want their vision of a book to be tarnished by a film adaptation.

“I’d say to watch the movie, because it’s interesting to see what your vision of the storyline is compared to what the Hollywood version is,” she said.

“But don’t get your hopes up.”

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