When you love a book, finding out it’s being made into a movie can be a good thing, or—depending on the book’s fanbase—a very bad thing. While we’ve seen plenty of great movies based on novels (“The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” “The Shawshank Redemption”), we’ve seen just as many bad ones, which explains the crazy reactions some fans have after learning casting details (just look at the wild reaction Ben Affleck got for being cast as Batman).
It was recently announced that Taylor Swift was cast alongside Katie Holmes, Jeff Bridges, and Meryl Streep in the upcoming adaption of Lois Lowry’s 1993 dystopian young adult novel “The Giver,” and we’re a little skeptical. Should someone whose biggest movie to date is “Valentine’s Day” really be given such a hefty role? (If you’ve read the book, Taylor will play Rosemary. If you haven’t, it’s not a tiny part.)
This got us thinking about other film portrayals of books turned movies, and most simply just aren’t that good. From classics like The Scarlett Letter to newer titles like We Need to Talk About Kevin, we’ve seen several of our favorite novels become veritable jokes on the big screen. Whether it’s bad casting, bad acting, bad directing, or simply a case of leaving out the best parts or adding plot twists that weren’t there before, we’ve rounded up 10 book-to-movie adaptations that should have never been made. Or, at least should have been made very, very differently.
Click through above and tell us which book-to-movie adaptations you love and—more importantly—which ones you hated.
The Nanny Diaries
When former nannies Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus' juicy novel was released in 2002, it definitely had people talking. A roman à clef that provided razor-sharp satire about the absurdity of self-involed rich people, it was inevitable a movie was going to be made. Too bad, because the 2007 big screen version—starring Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney, and a random role for Alicia Keys that wasn't in the book—was goofy, rushed, and totally miscast.
Fans will tell you that one of the worst casting decisions in history involved Tyler Perry in 2012's "Alex Cross," based on the beloved James Patterson mystery series. The role was originally supposed to go to Idris Elba, but he ended up being replaced by Perry, who earned a Razzie Award for Worst Actor that year.
Eat Pray Love
The 2006 memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert left many inspired, as it chronicled the author's trip around the world after her divorce and highlighred what she discovered during her travels. It was obvious the book would swiftly be made into a rom-com, and it was in 2010 starring Julia Roberts. The movie ended up being a total snoozefest, and it was the first time we'd ever found Roberts not likeable.
Queen of the Damned
This 2002 vampire horror flick was a loose adaptation of the third novel of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles series, and stars the late R&B star Aaliyah as the vampire queen Akasha, and actor (and former Charlize Theron beau) Stuart Townsend as the vampire Lestat. Apart from its many book-to-screen inconsistencies, this was just a really bad movie on its own.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
After being totally captivated by this honest, chilling novel about a mother with a sociopath son who conducted a school massacre, we so wanted the movie to be good. With an amazing cast in place (Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller), we thought it might be, but unfortunately the 2011 film veered too far into horror and sensationlism, and wasn't able to live up to our high expectations.
The Scarlett Letter
The first rule when adapting a classic: Don't change the ending! The Hollywood-ized ending of this 1995 movie—based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 romantic classic—was a total flop. Oh, and the movie featured a totally miscast Demi Moore, which didn't help matters.
Although the movie cast amazing actors like Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Vanessa Redgrave, and Hugh Dancy, it didn't stay faithful to the 1998 novel about a dying woman reflecting on past love, making the whole thing a hard-to-watch disaster.
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Author Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series may be witty and charming, but the 2009 movie starring Isla Fisher was middling and painfully unfunny.
The Time Traveler's Wife
If you hadn't read the 2003 novel, you might actually enjoy the 2009 romantic film about a Chicago librarian with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel as he tries to build a relationship with a woman. For fans of the novel though, too many important characters were completely ignored in the big-screen adaptation starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana.
Alan Markfield/Alan Markfield
The Lovely Bones
This definitely deserves a spot on the list of books that shouldn't have ever been made into movies. Alice Sebold's novel about a murdered girl who watches over her family and her killer was a big hit when it came out in 2002, so it was inevitable that a film would follow. Although the 2009 adaptation gives it its best try—Peter Jackson of "Lord of the Rings" directed it—it comes across as cheesy on the big screen when it tries to illustrate the main character's idea of heaven, a poignant moment in the book.