17 Times Authors Thought Movie Adaptations Cast Their Characters Perfectly

List Rules
Vote up the characters you agree lived up to the vision in the book.

Literature and film are different beasts; while one medium serves up details on a silver platter, the other demands its recipients use their imagination - entire worlds and characters conjured out of nothing but words. When beloved books are adapted into movies, it’s hard to live up to what the author conceived (especially if it's autobiographical).

Sometimes making a good film means following a different creative vision, changing what was on the page to fit the screen. Often the text is reimagined and actors are cast to play characters who looked completely different in our minds. Other times, lightning strikes - movie characters are not just similar to their book counterparts, but turn out even better than the author imagined. Here are some examples of authors who were blown away by how actors brought their characters to life. Vote up your favorite screen versions of beloved characters.

  • David Fincher’s cult classic Fight Club is based on Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name. The story follows an unnamed narrator suffering from insomnia and an overall feeling of societal disconnect. He then meets soap salesman Tyler Durden who, in many ways, represents everything "Jack" wishes he could be (at least aesthetically). Fight Club at its core is a contemplation of existentialism, consumerism, male identity, and body image affecting the "middle children of history."

    (Spoilers) Tyler turns out to be a figment of the protagonist’s imagination - an alter ego created to do and be the things he cannot. In the film, Edward Norton plays the protagonist and Brad Pitt plays Tyler. In an interview with (ironically) Men's Health, Palahniuk called the contrast between Norton and Pitt a no-brainer, saying, “Brad was the only kind of super blond actor who could play that part.”

  • Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather is considered one of the greatest films of all time, featuring an immersive tale and mesmerizing performances led by the godfather himself, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). The film is so widely acclaimed that people often forget about Mario Puzo's novel of the same name - a narrative that was certainly improved in the adaptation.

    Recognizing his novel's big-screen potential, Puzo lettered Brando saying, "I wrote a book called The Godfather which has had some success and I think you're the only actor who can play the part Godfather with that quiet force and irony (the book is an ironical comment on American society) the part requires." At the time, the studio had its reservations about Brando. However, once Coppola came on board, the director backed Puzo's instincts.

  • Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is loosely based on the author’s experiences in 1930s Monroeville, AL. Atticus Finch, the lawyer who represents Tom Robinson, is based on Harper’s father, Amasa Coleman Lee, who also defended an African-American man in a highly publicized trial. The Guardian’s Michael Freedland once scored an interview with Lee thanks to the referral of Gregory Peck, who played Finch in Robert Mulligan’s big-screen adaptation. According to Freedland, the relationship between star and author was not unlike that of a father and daughter - perhaps due to the character fitting Peck like a glove:

    In that film, the man and the part met. As far as I'm concerned, that part is Greg's for life. I've had many, many offers to turn it into musicals, into TV or stage plays, but I've always refused.

  • Lauren Weisberger wrote The Devil Wears Prada 11 months after quitting her job as an assistant to renowned/notorious Vogue editor Anna "Nuclear" Wintour. Her novel follows a young woman, Andrea "Andy" Sachs, who gets hired as a personal assistant to a powerful fashion magazine editor, Miranda Priestly. Her job inevitably becomes nightmarish due to its demands - and the treatment from her boss.

    While Priestly isn't necessarily entirely based on Wintour, there's no denying an inspirational connection. Meryl Streep famously played Priestly in David Frankel's adaptation of Weisberger's novel, and got the author's stamp of approval. The bestselling author said in the Daily Mail: "I hadn't envisaged [Streep] originally - not that I had envisaged anyone for the role - but she was as good as it gets."

  • Stephenie Meyer was incredibly involved in the adaptation of Twilight (at least more so than most authors). She was consulted on almost all of the casting choices and, by the last film, Meyer was a producer in attendance at every audition. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Meyer was asked which casting decision most approximated her vision of a character. Given the otherworldly/unobtainable beauty exhibited by the vampires in her novels, Meyer recalled seeing Ashley Greene's headshot and thinking she was the perfect Alice: 

    She's stunningly gorgeous. Physically, [she's] not as short as Alice, but facially very close. She's probably the most like a vampire because they're supposed to be inhumanly beautiful.

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    Nicholas Sparks: Ryan Gosling As Noah In 'The Notebook'

    Of all Nicholas Sparks's novels, The Notebook is perhaps the best known - in particular because of its movie adaptation. Not only did the film start a trend of adapting Sparks's work, but Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling's next-level performances (as well as their chemistry) amplified the film's emotional sucker punch. The Notebook did wonders for both of their careers, cementing them as cornerstone celebrity crushes for years to come. According to Sparks on IMDB Asks, few actors wanted to play Noah due to the character's limited arc; Gosling proved to be the actor most capable of providing substance: 

    [He] came in, and he really brought that story to life and showed what you can do, even if the arc was relatively minimal.