Book Beat: Rick Riordan’s Emails, William Goldman’s Death, and A Criminal Reception to Grindelwald

Hello readers! It’s Emily, back again to share the latest in book news. As the weather takes a dive and the snow rolls in, we have even more reason to curl up on the couch and binge-watch our favourite movies (and why yes, I did just finish rewatching the extended editions of Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time).

For book lovers, film adaptations offer us the ability to see our favourite characters and words in new light. We’ve seen successes. We’ve also seen failures. And we likely will continue to see both as Hollywood looks to books for inspiration. So this week, let’s look at what’s been going on in the world of book-to-film adaptations.

Rick Riordan on the Percy Jackson Film Adaptation

Film adaptations of books can be profitable for authors, but it comes at the price of control. In almost all cases, an author has no say in casting, script, and plot changes. This matter arose recently when Percy Jackson and the Olympians author Rick Riordan asked followers who they would like to see in charge of a hypothetical adaptation of the novels.

After exposing what people thought of the filmmakers, Riordan followed up by releasing information on some of his interactions with the studio behind 2010’s The Lightning Thief film adaptation. These interactions show the concerns Riordan had during pre-production and the attempts he made to get the films to be true to the books.

In emails to the producers, Riordan is very straightforward. He’s diplomatic to some degree, highlighting some of the things he likes, but he doesn’t pull punches. He straight up tells the producers they are making mistakes, limiting the potential of the series, and doing a disservice to the fanbase. In short, the emails are proof that, as our Bookmarked editor Paige put it, “the only person who hates the Percy Jackson films more than book fans is the author himself.”

RIP William Goldman

Fans and fellow writers were saddened by the news that beloved author and screenwriter William Goldman passed away last Friday.

Goldman launched his literary career after graduating with a master’s degree in English from Columbia University. He published a number of bestselling novels before shifting to film, where he won recognition for his talent as a screenwriter.

He is remembered for his Oscar-winning screenplays for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President’s Men, but perhaps more so for The Princess Bride. Goldman published the novel in 1973 and the movie version based on his screenplay was produced in 1987 by Rob Reiner. Today, it remains one of the best-loved comedy films and novel adaptations in history.

His talent and wit will be sorely missed.

The Numerous Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hit theatres this past weekend and earned over $253 million, beating out Venom and Bohemian Rhapsody for the top weekend slot. Yet, despite ruling the box office, it has received mixed reviews.

As I write this, the film has a 40% on Rotten TomatoesThe Atlantic’s David Sims argues that Rowling is inspiring criticism by making “inexplicable and unnecessary additions” to the wizarding world, and Forbes’ Scott Mendelson thinks fans’ poor reception of these prequels will have a negative effect on the planned five-part series.

Viewers’ main concerns seem to be the film’s plot holes, confusing narrative, and sexist and racist treatment of its female characters. However, another aspect of the film that has fans confused (with themselves) is Jude Law’s (hot) Dumbledore, which Nerdist calls “the most important takeaway” from the film. If the hotness of a single character is the biggest takeaway, perhaps that says something about the film’s overall quality. Still…

Out this week:

Fire & Blood by George R.R. Martin

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy

Dragon Shadow by Elle Katharine White

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis

Five Feet Apart cover

Happy Thursday!