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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Long and Winding Road: Book To Film

People often ask me whether I'm afraid the film version of my books won't be "faithful," or won't adequately live up to the book itself. Usually, I say I-don't-care-just-get-me-to-the-red-carpet-and-buy-me-a-pretty-dress, but I thought I'd take a moment to give a slightly more thoughtful response.

I recently read the first draft of the excellent Delirium script. (Did you know that Delirium was on its way to the big screen? Oh, yeah, baby.) I felt the script was remarkably faithful to the book, which is fascinating, because it managed to condense 400-ish pages into a slender, moving, and breakneck-paced script of about, I don't know, 120 pages (and much of that was margin space!).

It got me thinking. So...did I use too many words as I was writing it? Would it have been possible for me to lop the book in thirds? Or is the script too condensed, too crystallized--is it missing key elements?

The answer to both questions is, I think, no. Film is a visual medium. That means its tools, is language, is totally different from the tools I employ as a novel writer. And maybe that's why I've never really "feared" that something would get lost in translation. I mean, yes, bad movie adaptations happen, but I think that in order for books to become good movies, they must transform. Being faithful to the book must mean that you are willing, onscreen, to depart from what was on the page. Just like any other translation, sometimes in order to preserve the spirit, you must alter things structurally, grammatically. And film has a far different grammar than fiction.

When I re-read the Delirium script, I realized that certain things had really changed. I hadn't noticed these alterations on first read because the script felt like a faithful interpretation to me. The spirit was there, and that's what's important to preserve.

As the French like to say...plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...[The more things change, the more they are the same.]

So...bring on the pretty dresses and the red carpet! I'm super excited about seeing Delirium and am already brainstorming cast ideas. Any suggestions for Alex? ;)

xo Lauren


Anonymous said...

So excited for you Lauren! What fabulous news to know that you'll be seeing your brilliant books on the screen!"
Best, Liza

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

The Delirium series would make amazing movies! OMG I can't wait! I don't know who I see as Alex. Often when I read characters in books I don't necessarily see faces, but I am definitely looking forward to hearing what others will think!

Emmah said...

I really hope they cast Benjamin Stone as Alex! I think he'd be perfect for the role :D

Nikki S said...

I cannot wait until it actually hits theaters. I just recently read Delirium and I loved it! I'm very interested in who will play Alex. I can't wait to see his dreaminess on the big screen! Congrats on getting to theaters!

Kerry said...

I'm really hppay that they're making the Delirium books into movies. This past weekend I bought Pandemoneum and finished it the same day. It was amazing:) Can't wait to see how they play out on the big screen:D

Nikita said...

the script is essential, that is true.
But I feel like a good main character holds the entire movie. If the performance of the leads or their chemistry is useless not even the most brilliant script will save it.
It's very exciting though! I hope it all turns out the way you want it to. It's your book and vision after all.

Alexandra Corinth said...

It's so interesting to hear this from an author's perspective. I am a film student, and when we study adaptation, oftentimes the major arguments that are made involve/center on fidelity. My mentor (and other scholars coming out of my department) is trying to shift the conversation of adaptation away from fidelity for the very reasons you mentioned - film, as a medium, expresses emotion, dialogue, and action in wholly different ways than print (or audio, or graphic narrative, etc.), and by examining a film only within the constraints of its fidelity to the original source, you ignore what the film's aesthetics bring to the story.

Congratulations! Can't wait to see the books on the big screen. ^_^

Unknown said...

I personally like Emma Roberts for Lena. She is the only actress I imagined as I was reading. I haven't thought much about Alex's character. hmmm....

Tynga said...

I didn't know Delirium would make it to the big screen. That's great!
BTW the correct expression is: Plus ça change, plus c'est pareil ^^

Nity said...

I really hope you cast Benjamin Stone for Alex :). he is an amazing actor and he kinda of looks like the alex i imagined while i was reading the book ?:D <3

Lauren said...

This is great news. Sarah Bolger for Lena and Asher Book for Alex. Though now that someone mentioned Benjamin Stone, he is looking good for the part.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see how this translates! I love book to movie adaptations, and I'm very lucky to be able to separate the two in my mind. I understand that they NEED to be separate entities in order to properly tell the story.

Also, Ben Barnes. For all the parts. :D

josy.isabel said...

I was hoping Delirium would make it to the big screen!! Great news indeed. As for the cast, I have come up with the following (they are in their mid-late twenties but would be great for the roles):
Alex- Grey Damon or Diego Boneta
Lena- Michelle Trachtenberg, Alexis Bledel or Leah Pipes
Hana- Blake Lively

Sameera said...

I screamed after reading your post, Lauren! I am so excited for you :) I can not wait and hope to see Delirium on the big screen very, very soon! So when will it be coming out? Yeah, I agree with Nikita. Chemistry and the performance of the leads is very important. I will be happy with any actor playing Alex or Lena as long as they make their love believable and stay true to the book :)

I adore your writing style and you make me want to be a better writer. Please keep writing!

Sameera said...

I second Blake Lively for Hana!

heather said...

Thank you Lauren. My husband is a script doctor and you hit it right on the head...they are 2 different mediums, you have to take the time to paint the picture---film offers it right there in living color.

Keep doing what you are doing...it works!

Ella Preuss said...

Blake Lively's too old to play Hana! LOL

I loved this, loved that I can understand the situation from my POV (as a film student, I mean). I know that it may seem to you that there aren't that many words in a script, but those are really hard to write, specially when they're adaptations! 120 pages equals to 120 minutes, so that'll be a lengthy film! Can't wait!

Unknown said...


Emily said...

YAY! CANNOT WAIT!!! Alex better be super hot!! :)

Unknown said...

Eliza Bennett as Hana

Garota Imaginária said...

I can't believe it! I'm so happy! I think Emma Roberts and Asher Book and would like Lena and Alex, but others can be provided that is faithful to the book!
Kisses from Brazil!
- Thayris

Ella Whiddett said...

I have always, always imagine Freya Mavor as Hana.
Never had a distinct face for any of the others...but Hana - always saw her as Freya.

itzcrazykk said...

Are you thinking on holding open calls for casting? If so, I would love to try out.

Adrianna said...

Oh my gosh. OH MY GOSH. Delirium movie? I'm going to fall out of my chair a few more times before the shock wears off.
Alex is perfect in my mind, so I can't even begin to think of someone to act as him. I'm beyond excited for this. (but not as much as I am for Requiem D: !!!!! )

Natalie Aguirre said...

So excited that you're pleased with it. Because that's a good sign we'll all like it too. So excited that it's being made into a movie! Get your dress ready.

Anonymous said...

Liam Hemsworth for Alex! Or maybe Julian, I can't decide.

Adriana C said...

Great news!!! COngratulations!
And I hope you get your pretty dress and the red carpet!

Kelsey said...

Alexis Bledel for Lena. For Alex... hmmm... You know, I'll have to keep thinking about it! ;)

Unknown said...

That is wonderful! Have lots of fun picking out your dress. And I'm way excited to see Delirium on the big screen.

Meghan said...

I had no idea there was already a script! (Or, at least, a first draft of a script!) I'm so excited! It will be a great addition to the dystopian movies, but still so different.

tunia98 said...

I am so excited about the movie! I hope you stay VERY involved & try to keep the integrity of the AMAZING books you've written. I don't want to be heartbroken again like I just was at another amazing Dystopian Book Trilogy turned not amazing movie!

tunia98 said...

Oh yeah, I agree with Kelsey above on Alexis Bledel for Lena. Alex.....hmmmmm that's a tough one though....

~The Book Pixie said...

Lauren I am so friggin excited for you! Huge congratulations! I was looking at suggestions for Alex and Lena above and I have to say Benjamin Stone for Alex and Sarah Bolger for Lena look the best by far to me. :D


Unknown said...

i think Chase Crawford would make an amazing Alex.

HannahBobanza said...

I've always imagined Alex being rustic and, in a way, very mature. So, to me, a blonde James Franco would be perfect for the role. Also, Channing Tatum would be great, but then again, what's a role Channing Tatum wouldn't be great for?

Charlee Hoffman said...

I'll throw in my lot and say that I think Max irons is a great choice for Alex. :)


Sam said...

I know it's crazy because he is not an actor but he is an entertainer and you might be credited for discovering a new movie star:) but the guy on American Idol COLTON DIXON is who I picture when I am reading about Alex. He is exactly what I picture of Alex. Just my opinion, at least go look at him. There are pics of him everywhere.

Sam said...

Oh and for Lena I see Ellen Page. A girl who is not drop dead gorgeous but lovely and can play a raw edgy girl afraid of love.

alaskaparsons said...

Asher Brook as Alex
Freya Mavor as Hana

SydneyEster said...

I think that the actors/actresses who play the lead roles of Lena, Alex, and Hana should be unknown. That way people aren't going just because they are fans of the actors, they are going because they want to see an amazing story unfold.

Ellis said...

Felicity Jones or Sarah Bolger as Lena. Chloë Moretz would be a solid for Hana I think.

eescaping said...

shane coffey as alex would amazing.

Cara said...

Hailee Steinfeld for Lena. I'm not sure about who I would like for Alex yet.

Ellis said...

Also, Mia Wasikowska for Hana

Aisha said...

I agree with Sydney Ester...the lead characters should be unknowns. That would make the audience more intrigued by the story, not simply besotted with the actors.

Lauren-Anne said...

HOLY CRAP! I was just speaking to my friend about how great this book would be as a movie!! im so excited! i loved both delirium and pandemonium so much! ( cannot wait for Requiem also..) i can just see Sarah Bolger as Lena, and Mia Wasikowska or Freya Mavor for Hana. But Alex has to be perfection! he is in the book and he should be in the movie? perhaps Asher Book or Benjamin Stone? Chemistry and the performance of the leads is very important.

Anonymous said...

i love the books so much and have always wanted them to come out on film so more people will experience the true glory of the story and then maybe then go on to the book.The casting will be tricky though and it has to be done 100 % right.Lena i think can be plain but pretty and Hana has to be confident and have a strong look about her. Alex HAS to have hair the colour of autumn leaves and be skinny but strong. I am soooooooo excited about the film and I cant wait to see who is playing the parts!

The Robinson Bunch said...

Oh my gosh!!!!! I'm literally doubled over in excitement!!! I just got done reading "Delirium" and "Pandemonium" and all I kept thinking once I finished reading both was "please dear heavens, please let them turn this into a movie!!!! I have turned super fan over night!....cant wait til it comes to the big screen! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH....here are my choices for cast...exactly how I pictured them to look while reading the books :-)

Ellen Page as Lena
Asher Brook as Alex
Freya Mavor as Hana

p.s. cant freakin' wait for Requiem! on pins and needles I tell ya!

Caroline W said...

Asher Book as Alex and Sarah Bolger as Lena. That would be soooo amazing, and just as I've imagined!

Is it possible that "normal" people can cast for the movie?
Not that I'm thinking of myself.. Denmark is unfortunately not close to the US.. :-(

Anonymous said...

Danielle Campbell as Lena and Alex Pettyfer as Alex.

MissGemma97 said...

Even though no one can compare to Alex, i would say either Benjamin Stone or someone unknown because it sometimes ruins the movie for me when I can picture from other things. Just make sure that the people aren't too perfect looking. After-all, this is a dystopian society (:

Lauren-Anne said...

Alex Pettyfer should play Julian i think!

Andresa Tabanez said...

I guess it will be an wonderful movie. I trust you that will say the right things for the producers. What is good to change or to do something new in the story.
My Alex will always be Alexander Vlahos,even I know he has blue eyes... But he is too perfect for me.


CONGRATULATIONS. This is exiting news!!! I'm in love with Delirium and I can't wait to watch it as a movie on the big screen!!!. Since you are asking I think it would be a great idea to just go ahead and have open castings so that way it would be a fresh new trilogy with new fresh faces ;).. just think about it, there's also great undiscovered talent nowadays.

emelvin said...

alex pettyfer as alex? i mean, as in the book he's described to have blondey hair? so either him, or if you dont mind what colour then zac efron:)

Joni said...

i think of a Columbian/ Mexican descent when I think of Alex ... like Nicholas Gonzalez http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0327764/bio

Joni said...

or Jay Hernandez http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0379596/

me marcho said...

I think the actors should be unknowns. Sometimes with famous actors, you only see "that famous person", rather than the character.

Violet Green said...

Me and ALL my friends think Alex Petyfer would be PERFECT how much longer until it comes out im alrdy BEGGING my parents to let me c the midnite premier :)

lihui said...

it's so cool tat delirium's gonna b made into a movie!! hope they show it in singapore! :)

Jenna said...

I agree with everyone who votes for unknown actors. When it comes to film adaptions, for me, I like having a fresh face. Sometimes I find it difficult to break away an actor from the character when it's a very well known actor. Even in the Hunger Games, I find myself saying "Liam Hemsworth" and not Gale, "Josh Hutcherson" and not Peeta. Although, I must admit Benjamin Stone has the sort of face I imagined for Alex!

aleexdelapaz said...

So psyched for the movie!!! Congratulations! I'm very interested on how the movie will turn out :)

Alex Pettyfer as Alex and Kay Pannabaker as Lena (not sure about kay though)

aleexdelapaz said...

or maybe Paul Wesley for Alex :)

Stars said...

I loved this series and think it will be as big if not bigger than hunger games.

Montse said...

I was just speaking to my friend about how great this book would be as a movie!! im so excited! i loved both delirium and pandemonium so much! ( cannot wait for Requiem also..) i can just see Sarah Bolger as Lena, and Mia Wasikowska or Freya Mavor for Hana. But Alex has to be perfection! he is in the book and he should be in the movie? perhaps Asher Book or Benjamin Stone? Chemistry and the performance of the leads is very important.

Marica. said...

The book is absolutely fantastic! I think the best actors would:
Alex Pettyfer (Alex)
Sarah Bolger (Lena)
She is talented and beautiful!

Melly said...

The book is F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!!!! Yeah! :D
I think the best actors would:
_Charlie Rowe (Alex)
_Lorn Macdonald (Alex)
_Patrick Gibson (Alex)
_Q'orianka Kilcher (Lena)
_Sarah Bolger (Hana)

They're an young and talented!! :D

Heidi said...

what ever you do do not pic someone who is named or looks like robert pattinson because i dont know i i can handle the world pretending alex is hot just cuz some dumb castor is blind and please please please do not pick someone named or who is as bad an actress as kristen stewart not that its possible to get any worse than her...i like the suggestion for ellen page and asher books for lena and alex and think Alex Pettyfer would be a good julian :)

S said...

I don't have a suggestion for Alex, but I freaking LOVED who they used to play Peeta in the movie the hunger games and felt he was the perfection adaption for the books Peeta. Someone like that who can display in their eyes a lot of kindness and radiate love and gentleness would be fabulous! Hopefully he is not just a pretty face or another big time actor but just a downright fabulous actor and someone who gets across the loving spirit that Alex is- Again I loved the choice they made for Peeta in the hunger games so I am hopeful it will be the same.
When these movies from books pick the right actors it just makes it amazing! I freaking love these books and I hope the fourth book goes the way it should. I hate to see bad endings and I get distaste to the whole series if things go wrong- So hopefully Alex ends up with Lena again because that is who she lived for and ran away for- Can't WAITTTTTTTTTTTTT to see the movie! I know she doesn't look much like Hana in a way of her face or age- but someone like Sarah Michelle Gellar can perfectly protary innocence and evil at the same time- Kind of like Hana when she turned them in yet was still a great friend.
Hoping you pick good characters for actors and not just uber pretty faces who aren't such great actors like in so many of the CW and teen shows nowadays- More like characters they pick for Nick or disney channel shows- Not all are overly perfect and they have great acting chops- The more original a person in looks- the better- Seems like they are more likable that way like in older tv series :)

Maureen said...

I am so excited for the delirium movie! Congrats on the your success. I love all of the suggestions above... I have no idea who should play any of the characters. I can't wait to see who gets casted in the movie. What is the expected release date for the movie in theatres?

Samantha said...

I think this book really deserves to be a movie. While reading it i couldn't stop thinking this would make such a good movie! Anyways, i was wondering who wrote the script? Even though its not as excited as knowing who is cast, i think the script writer is very important, and i'm super curious.

Anonymous said...

Omg Shiloh fernandez has got to be Alex! He's exactly how I was imagining him all through delirium! and Michelle trachtenberg mentioned in a previous comment looks perfect for the role of Lena, and although I know she's not an actress, Perrie Edwards looks just like how I imaginged hana to look, cant wait to see who gets the actual roles!

Luv2read said...

I have always imagined Alex as native American, like Alex Marez or Rick Mora

Violet Green said...

As much as it would be amaazing for someone like Paul Wesley, Zac Efron or so on, to b Alex i dont (suprisingly) want them to be Alex. I used to want Alex Petyfer. But i dont think hes as good as someone like Brenton thwaites. Another person is Liam Payne... Ik hes a 1D guy but seriusly when i see him i think HES THE ALEX. ANd Dianna Agron wld b PERFECT for Hana!!! and for Lena......Danielle Campbell! thats just what i think:)

Unknown said...

Lena- Sarah Bolger
Alex- Luke Pasqualino
Hana- Sasha Pieterse

Sarrymog said...

Benjamin stone or Taylor lautner

lily said...

chloe moretz as lena. she needs a big role in a trilogy that showcases her talent and beauty.

Miss Corner said...

I just recently read the books (they are absolutely great and I couldn't put them aside ..I even cried) and I've got a good imagination. Still I think you should try to find some "unknown" actors, because I'd hate to see some famous actor doing it. It'll also give some new faces a good chance..and I am sure there a whole lot of good people out there.

Congratulations for getting them on screen from Germany

Miss Corner said...

Oops I missed an "are" ^^

Unknown said...

Omg Omg! first of all i'm so excited Delirium is going to be a movie! So I'm gonna put my input

Hana: Freya Mavor

Alex: ummm GASPARD ULLIEL (but if you don't choose him then please choose a hot one!)

Lena: I don't really have an idea for Lena, but I agree with the others; she should be played by an unknown. It would make the performance more memorable and relatable you know?

Anyway good luck and I hope you enjoy the film process!!

Peetasgal said...

Alex Pettyfer as Alex, and Lilly Collins as Lena.

Martha said...

Sarah Bolger for Lena and Asher Book for Alex.

Courtney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Courtney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Courtney said...

oh my god avan jogia as alex and freya mavor as hana

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Evan Peters (Tate from American Horror Story) would be perfect for Alex!

Do you by chance have any updates on how the film/script development are coming along?

Unknown said...

Omg! Max Irons as Alex!
K. thats all thanks :)

JULLA said...

Omy goshhhh! I love delirium so much. I think Max Irons or Jeremy Sumpter should play Alex. Just look at how Jeremy Sumpter's acting skills in Peter Pan and also, Max iron's at Red riding hood. For Lena, I think Nina Dobrev should do it or Sarah Bolger. But anyway, Good Chemistry is always needed in movies ;))

Anonymous said...

Lena - Lily Collins
Alex - Max Irons
Hana - Ashley Benson
Gracie - Mackenzie Foy
Carol - Nicole Kidman
Rachael - Emma Watson
I imagined all of these so easily! They would be perfect!

Amal Rose said...

Alex-James Gaisford

PointeShoes:) said...

I just finished Pandemonium and can honestly say these 2 books were one of my absolute favorites..I LOVEEEE this trilogy!!! :D
I picked my favorites from the suggestions that people were commenting :) :
Favorites: Sarah Bolger as Lena, and Benjamin Stone as Alex
2nd favorites: Michelle Trachenburg as Lena, and Ben Barnes as Alex
But I also love Alex Pettyfer and Taylor Kitsch so that would be pretty cool to see them in there, but I don't think they suit as Alex...
And I agree with something someone else said, they shouldn't be famous actors/actresses because then you can only think of them as who they really are, and not the characters they are trying to portray on screen...

PointeShoes:) said...

Also agree with Georgia, Lilly Collins would be really good for Lena as well

Jeff Olson said...

Lyndsy Fonseca for Lena. :)

Unknown said...

I think this cast is the best.
Watch it ;)).

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Lyndsy Fonseca for Lena
Alex Pettyfer for Alex
Sasha Pieterse for Hana

Unknown said...

I'm so excited to see this movie! I loved the first two books - dying to know how the third one ends! I'm personally rooting for her to end up with Alex again - think I'm actually in love with him, and never quite warmed to Julian! x

Unknown said...

I think that Alex Pettyfer should play Alex!

Unknown said...

India Eisley as lena :)

Unknown said...

Does anyone know when's the expected time this movie will be released? I'm so excited!

trellybeans said...

I agree with someone elses comment, haha
Diego Boneta definitely for Alex

cassi said...

yaaa! Ican't wait whens it gonna be!! I loved the book by the way started crying at the end of it can't wait to read the next ones!!

Mani said...

Haliee Steinfelid as Lena
Jeremy Irvine as Alex
Emily Watson as Carol
Elle Fanning as Hana

Please choose actors that can actually act ! Many film adaptions flop because the right people were not casted.

Kami said...

Congratulations Lauren! Your books are absolutely amazing. I just can't get enough of your writing!

I really like
Lena - lily collins or emma roberts
Alex - william moseley or max irons
Julian - alex pettyfer or freddie stroma
Hana - maggie grace

The main song for the trailer should be yellow light by of monsters and men, it's perfect!

Elaysa said...

Alex Pettifer as Alex

Unknown said...

Any new news......?

Anonymous said...

Lena - Lilly Collins or Alexa Bledel
Hana - Black Lively or Freya Mavor
Alex - Jeremy Sumpter or Brenton Thwaites

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