I made breakfast this morning. I threw some eggs in a pan with a little cream and butter and scrambled them up. Yvonne made toast, lightly buttered, and coffee (too light). Obviously, me in a critical mood, we then sat down to watch a
bootleg ‘For Your Consideration’ copy of the movie Breaking Dawn: Part 1.
As played by Kristen Stewart, Bella Swan is happy, sad, morose, elated, deflated and bitter all while displaying the same facial expression for over ninety minutes. If a look could be monotone then Ms. Stewart has mastered the art of it – which explains why Stewart’s portrayal of Swan is brilliant: she is the character in the Twilight books.
This made me think of other actors who had brilliantly played beloved fictional characters whose lives had originated on the page rather than onscreen. Nothing is more daunting to an avid reader than a favorite character who gets Hollywoodized on screen, becoming a mere shadow of their literal selves. Here are a few of my observations:
Vampires Louis and Lestat – Hollywood saw Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise – we saw red until we saw the movie. Years later the performances hold up and the B & T combo is acceptable by my standards.
Scarlett O’Hara – Vivian Leigh personified the character on screen almost as if she had swallowed Margaret Mitchell’s words. Simply phenomenal.
Jacob Black – Taylor Lautner can’t act and his Jacob against the other two main characters is just flat and makes us root for Team Edward.
Harry Potter – Daniel Radcliffe, in the first installment, was smashingly brilliant (how so verrrry British of me!)
Lila Wingo – In a film filled with solid performances, Kate Nelligan played the ambitiously damaged matriarch of The Prince of Tides with such ease that resenting her came naturally to the audience.
Carrie White – Sissy Spacek took a poorly written character (Sorry Mr. King but Sue Snell is the true main character in your disjointed first novel) and made her multi-dimensional. Carrie breaks your heart and even though we all now know the ending, we still root for her when she becomes Prom Queen.
Mary Poppins – Julie Andrews played her exactly as P.L. Travers wrote her. And, even though she got the Disney treatment, we were never disappointed by this nanny.
And what are your thoughts?