What ‘The Hunger Games’ teaches about book-to-film adaptations

Most everyone agrees that The Hunger Games is one of the best book to film adaptations out there.  Loyal fans of the books have largely praised the film, which is a huge testament to just how well it was done.  That being said, we know not all film adaptations are received as positively.  Next Movie has put together a list of 12 lessons that other would be book adapters should take from The Hunger Games.  Check out a partial list below.

Lesson #1 – Go For a Property With Real Movie Potential

Just because a book is popular doesn’t always mean it’s movie material. “The Hunger Games” boasted a plethora of desirable traits for a good movie — action, romance, suspense, drama, twists, turns, you name it — and that came through on-screen. If the book’s not edge-of-your-seat or otherwise all-consuming, a movie based upon it will probably fall flat.

Lesson #2 – Involve the Author, Maybe

Director Gary Ross and author Suzanne Collins teamed up to put the trimmings on the working draft of “The Hunger Games” script. It’s a rarity, of course, that an author has a history of screenwriting (Collins had a heavy dose of TV scripting experience before writing books) but if and when that is the case, whip out the spire because it’s a must-tap resource.

Lesson #3 – Initial Casting Reactions Can Be Misleading

Collins told Entertainment Weekly Josh Hutcherson would’ve been the prime selection for Peeta even if he “had been bright purple and had six foot wings,” but some “Hunger Games” fans were skeptical about the choice at first. In fact, a lot of the biggest casting decisions for the film weren’t met with praise at the outset, but now that the film’s out, the attitude has shifted quite a bit. So, when casting a favorite book-based character, there may be some grumbling at first, no matter how right the choice. Stick to talent, and they’ll do all the convincing themselves.

Lesson #4 – If You Must Stray From the Source Material, Make It Count

It’s important to book (read: built-in) fans that a resulting movie stick pretty closely to the source material. If you’re going to make some changes, though, make ’em count. Consider the Seneca berries scene or Cato’s altered final monologue. These weren’t terribly drastic story alterations, but they sure were effective at amping up the tension.

Continue reading HERE for all 12 lessons!


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