Roald Dahl is one of the most celebrated authors of the modern era. While much of his work was targeted towards children, there's no denying that he went to some pretty adult places that could be appreciated by people of any age. Roald Dahl movies, or rather their adaptations, have in many ways become just as iconic as his books. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and James and the Giant Peach are just some of films that have successfully translated the spirit of Dahl's books to the big screen with many more sure to come.
But how close to the books are the characters we see onscreen? Are they even supposed to look like the people being presented? Well, one way to tell is to check out the book's illustrations. Luckily, Dahl had a close collaborator named Quentin Blake who worked on the pictures for many of his books. Comparing the film characters to Blake's illustrations gives us a pretty good idea for how to judge the Road Dahl films with their translation from page to screen.
Which ones were the closest? Scroll down and find out.
For the 2016 adaptation of The BFG, Spielberg and his team of visual effects artists really put time into bringing Dahl's character to life. The film's BFG has a face straight from the book, right down to the huge ears that are such a striking feature in Quentin Blake's illustration. Overall, it looks like they faithfully translated the character on screen, albeit with a bit more hair than Blake allowed him.
The original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is so iconic, Peter Ostrum is kind of the go-to visual inspiration for the role. So, it's no coincidence that Quentin Blake's illustration is very close to the actor's likeness. It's also worth noting that Peter read directly from the book for his audition, as there wasn't a script yet.
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One of the few Roald Dahl books where one of the more memorable covers wasn't drawn by Quentin Blake, James and Giant Peach's cover is very in line with the film. Both versions of James have the same general look, though the movie is a little more upbeat and lively. We also have to give a tip of the hat for that classy jacket and tie ensemble in the film version.
Quentin Blake's Grandpa Joe certainly seems more chipper than his live action counterpart, who stylistically seems based off the depression era. The actor who portrayed the actor in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Jack Alberton, went on to win an Oscar for The Subject Was Roses, which also starred Roald Dahl's wife. David Kelly, who played Grandpa Joe in the 2005 Tim Burton film, which is a closer adaptation of the book, also sports a similar look.