10 Book-Movie Adaptations Authors Hated

The book is almost always better than the movie; even the author agrees in these cases. For your consideration, we now present the ten book-to-movie adaptations hated by the respective authors. Some of these movies are so prolific you might not even know they were book adaptations. Material translates differently in different entertainment mediums, which is why many filmmakers take creative liberty when adapting novels and short stories. While this often works without offending the author, there are occasions when the spirit of the original material is so overlooked that even the author can’t forgive where the filmmakers go wrong. Case and point, subsequent book-to-film adaptations were hated by the writers of the original material.

10. Christina Crawford hated “Mommie Dearest”

Credit: Paramount via Angelika Film Center

While Joan Crawford was one of the most famous actresses of her time, she posthumously became less known for her acting skills and more known for being an abusive mother, thanks to the memoir of her adopted daughter Christina. Dear Mum. The book was adapted into a film in 1981. Although it has now become a cult classic (which may be part of the problem), it was critically tarnished and won several Razzie awards, including Worst Picture and Worst Actress. for Faye Dunaway. . Perhaps the film’s worst critic is none other than Christina Crawford herself. In numerous interviews, she denounced the film for its inaccuracies, focus on extremities, and Dunaway’s overly campy portrayal of her mother, which she called “grotesque”. This campy grotesqueness is most evident in the infamous “NO WIRE HANGERS” scene, which is so over-the-top it’s now often joked about in casual chat and on shows such as family guy and Futurama. As Christina Crawford tried to portray a complicated relationship and promote awareness of child abuse, Dear Mum ended up being a melodramatic camp party that she didn’t enjoy.

9. Anne Rice hated the “Queen of the Damned”

queen of the damned

Credit: Warner Bros via IMDb

The late Anne Rice The Vampire Chronicles has received two film adaptations, and a TV series is on the way. While Rice was in awe of 1994’s Interview with the Vampire starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, she and the rest of the world were appalled by the 2002 adaptation of queen of the damned, which starred Stuart Townsend (replacing Cruise) and the late R&B star Aaliyah. Rice was upset enough that they skipped adapting the second novel in the series entirely, The Vampire Lestat. But she was more unhappy that it was a complete deviation from the material. Rice viewed the film as a mutilation of his work that fit little more than the characters’ names.

8. EB White hated ‘Charlotte’s Web’

charlotte web

Credit: Paramount via Moira Avis

Adaptation of E. B. White by Hanna-Barbera in 1973 Charlotte’s web was a moderate success with critics and at the box office. While its popularity has increased dramatically through reruns and a VHS release, few would consider the film a masterpiece, especially not EB White. White didn’t like cheerful musical numbers, and he didn’t like that the Blue Hill Fair was inaccurately portrayed as a Disney World-type event. White prevented some changes from happening in the film, but not enough for him to like it.

7. Truman Capote hated “breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Credit: Paramount via Medium

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a beloved movie, and everyone who sees it loves Holly Golightly’s portrayal of Audrey Hepburn. In other words, everyone except Truman Capote. The author felt that there was only one actress who could ever play his favorite creation, and that actress was Marilyn Monroe. Still, the role went to Hepburn, and Capote was not happy. He then trashed the film for years, calling it the worst-turned-film he had ever seen. While many can’t imagine anyone other than Hepburn in the role, one can understand why Capote felt too stylish to play a runaway from Texas, making her Manhattan “it” girl. Either way, many still treasured the movie, no matter how much the author hated the book-to-movie adaptation.

6. Winston Groom hated “Forrest Gump”

Forrest Gump

Credit: Capital Pictures via Telegraph

Although it is a beloved and iconic film, Forrest Gump often gets dumped for many reasons (e.g. people hate Jenny and people who think he shouldn’t have won Best Picture). But no one hated him more than Winston Groom, the novel’s author. Forrest Gump. The book-film adaptation of the author’s novel differed significantly from the source material. Forrest has moments of high intelligence in the novel, and he’s also much less sane. He also goes to space and plays chess, he doesn’t meet Bubba in the military, and (spoiler) he doesn’t end up with Jenny, who in the novel takes their child and leaves him for another man (and you thought she was bad in the movie). Either way, the studio made the changes we all know about and Groom couldn’t stand it. In the following novel, Gump and Co., Forrest says on the front page, “Never let anyone make a movie about your life story.” Looks like Groom was sending a message to Robert Zemeckis.

5. Rick Riordan hated “Percy Jackson”

the author hated percy jackson

Credit: 20th Century Studios via Fox Metro News

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is an immensely popular fantasy series, and fans have been eagerly anticipating the book-to-movie adaptations. Unfortunately, only two of the books were made into movies, and both disappointed fans and series writer Rick Riordan. His hatred for the movies was revealed in a 2016 tweet from a schoolteacher showing one of the movies to her class. In an open letter pleading with teachers not to show the films to their students, Riordan wrote: “No. Stop. Please. No class deserves such punishment. I mourn the loss of perfectly good class time. Riordan took it a step further in 2020 when he said, “Well, for you guys, it’s a couple hours of fun. For me, it’s my life’s work to go through a meat grinder when I begged them not to. Although Riordan hadn’t actually seen the films, reading the scripts was enough to cause him massive offense. And most fans of the books agree with him. Fortunately, he will be heavily involved in rebooting the series for Disney+ and can prevent the failure of those films from repeating itself.

4. Roald Dahl hated “Willy Wonka” and “The Witches”

willy wonka the witches

Credit: Warner Bros. via Looper and Bloody Disgusting

We have a duplicate here. Roald Dahl was the author of many beloved children’s stories, including Charlie and the chocolate factory. The 1971 film adaptation, Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory, is considered a classic and the one that made Willy Wonka an iconic movie character. She’s such an icon that we’ll soon learn her origin story in the upcoming movie. Wonka. However, for Roald Dahl, that was part of the problem. Dahl didn’t like Wonka taking center stage over Charlie. Additionally, he hated Gene Wilder’s performance, feeling that Peter Sellers would have been a better fit for the role.

Unfortunately, Willy Wonka wasn’t the only book-movie adaptation to disappoint Dahl. He also hated Jim Henson’s 1990 adaptation of The witches (now a cult classic). Although he praised Anjelica Huston as the perfect actress to play the Grand Witch, he was enraged by the change in ending as well as the gruesome makeup. The latter upset Dahl so much that he wrote a letter to Henson accusing him of “vulgarity” and “bad taste”.

Both films have now received remakes starring Tim Burton Charlie and the chocolate factory and Robert Zemeckis The witches. Although no one knows what Dahl would have thought of these films (he died in 1990), neither film performed with audiences or critics as well as the originals. This is a case where the fans and the author don’t seem to be on the same page (pun intended).

3. Ken Kesey hated “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

a flyby, book-film adaptations

Credit: Warner Bros via IMDb

Flight over a cuckoo’s nest was critically acclaimed and received numerous accolades. Along with the Best Picture Oscar, it earned Jack Nicholson his first Oscar, and Louise Fletcher won Best Actress for her portrayal of one of the most famous villains of all time, Nurse Mildred Ratched. However, none of these accolades change author Ken Kesey’s hatred for this adaptation of his work. Kesey was offered the opportunity to write a script, but his script didn’t work out, resulting in a fallout. It was already making him bitter. He was also disappointed that the character of Chief Bromden was dropped from the role of narrator. Kesey avoided the movie like the plague and even went over it while channel surfing.

2. PL Travers hated “Mary Poppins”

Mary Poppins, book-to-film adaptations

Credit: Disney via Diario de Noticias

Mary Poppins is a Disney classic that has remained popular for nearly 60 years. But beloved as it was, the author of the source material couldn’t stand it. According Reader’s Digest, PL Travers hated the animated sequences as well as the glamorization of the main character. Travers reportedly cried during the film’s premiere, and those weren’t tears of joy. The creative differences between Travers and Walt Disney inspired the film Save Mr. Banks, although you can debate what to do with this film since it is itself a Disney film. Although a spoonful of sugar can help the medicine go down, this book-movie adaptation was too sweet for the author to swallow.

1. Stephen King hated “The Shining”

the author hated the book-movie adaptation

Credit: Warner Bros via Roger Ebert

It’s one of the most famous horror movies of all time, based on a novel by one of the most prolific horror writers of all time. However, Stephen King’s hatred of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his third novel is legendary. King was disappointed that Jack Torrence became the villain of the story rather than a flawed but well-meaning man who fell victim to a haunted hotel. He also hated Shelley Duvall’s portrayal of Wendy Torrence, saying that Duvall only screamed throughout the film. These changes and more made King feel hurt by Kubrick’s film.

Here’s a fun fact to help you understand the extent of this hatred. King was so disappointed with the adaptation of Kubrick’s novel that he sought to reclaim the rights so he could make a miniseries, which he did in 1997. One of the conditions of those rights was that King had to stop criticizing Kubrick’s film. King agreed and complied. However, when Kubrick died in 1999, King felt free to resume disparaging Kubrick’s view of his work. Even dead, the director cannot escape the author’s hatred for his book-film adaptation.

If you know of any other book-movie adaptations the authors hated, mention them in the comments.

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