An Author’s Perspective on the Casting of Fifty Shades of Grey
So, I’ve done my share of movie bashing in my life. I’ve spent plenty of time on my Twitter and Facebook Page laughing hysterically at things in Twilight and other movies. It’s all in good fun, and quite frankly (Fellow Authors: DO NOT SHOOT ME) when I first saw the Twilight movie I hadn’t even heard of Stephenie Meyer or her books. I watched it, LOVED it, and was easily convinced by my co-author Emily Faith that I should read the books.
Now, years later, when I watch the movies, I get a good laugh out of the unexpected facial expressions they make, or silly editing mishaps that happened during filming. But either way, it’s my view on an artistic interpretation of the overall work, and since it’s a complete work, it’s open for comment.
I know what you’re going to say. “The casting of Fifty is open for comment, too.” Sure it is! But what pisses me off like a royal bitch is that everyone is passing judgement on these actors before they’ve even acted for your viewing, yet. You’re commenting on your own predictions of how it will turn out, not how it actually turned out.
“They have no chemistry.”
Well, aren’t you just the creepy little peeping tom! How the hell do you know?
“He’s no Fifty. He’s not dominant enough.”
Do you actually think there’s an actor on this planet that will fill the shoes of a role written by an author that swept the 20+ female world off its feet? Don’t say Ian Somerhalder. I adore him, but Christian Grey doesn’t have eyebrows that walk.
“She/He is too old for the role.”
Two words: DAWSON’S CREEK.
Did you complain throughout the 90’s, too? Yes, they were older actors than the characters they played. Who cares? They captured the emotions just right, and the relationships were believable. When you’re watching Christian spank the shit out of Ana, are you really going to be thinking, “Damn, I wish he was just 2.5 years younger…”??? Yes? Then you’re shallow. Go home.
“I don’t think he looks like Christian Grey.”
Duh!!! As authors, when we write fictional characters, many of us don’t have specific actors in mind as we describe them. The character comes to life through his mannerisms, his words, the way he breathes, talks, scratches his balls, etc. Not through the angle of his cheekbones or how deeply-set his eyes are.
I wrote a character once picturing Joe Manganiello (Nycholas in Gilded Destiny) – and the character ended up looking completely different from the Pack Master in the book, since it was his mannerisms I was considering, his overall build, not the shape of his jawline or that super-cute speckle of gray in his beard. Physically speaking, Joe fits a different character in my fiction entirely, but I used his demeanor to help sculpt Nycholas.
Think about it. Do you really think Stephenie Meyer was like, “I’m going to write about a vampire, and he’s going to look like this!”
Of course she didn’t! So shut up. The film version of a book comes from the artistic visions inspired in the director, actors, makeup artists, set designers, etc, etc, etc after they’ve been inspired by the story written in the book. NO, it’s not going to look how you see it in your head. Pretty sure most women read 50 picturing Christian tying HERSELF to a bed, not Jamie Dornan handcuffing Dakota Johnson.
The movie is still going to be hot as hell no matter who plays the parts, because it’s the story, depth of emotion, and character of Christian that won you over, not the shape of his fucking chin. It’s the strength, challenge, and drama of Ana’s relationship with him that kept you on the edge of your seat, not the fact that she was so young.
So before you judge the quality of a movie that hasn’t even been made yet, why don’t you thank E.L. James for writing characters that made you so hard you can’t even get off your own soapbox without tripping on your wood.
Here. Contact her here and don’t be a douche. It took a lot of balls for her to put this book series up for public judgement, and I applaud her for it.
Being an author isn’t easy. We put our imaginary friends and fantasies down on paper and blast it all over the world for everyone else to play with. Give her some credit and stop trashing the actors for a job they haven’t even done yet.
I have editing qualms with many books I read. Sometimes I can’t deal with reading a book just because I feel like it would have been easier to read in a voice more similar to my own writing style. But that doesn’t make it a crappy book. It makes me narrow-minded and unable to step away from my own artistic vision to see the art for what it really is, not for what I picture in my own head.
So step off your soapbox (here – take my hand, I’ll help you hop over that boner you got reading 50 Shades) and come back down to Earth, where E.L. James, Jamie Dornan, and Dakota Johnson are all just artists trying to achieve the impossible: Make that fairy-tale vision of THE PERFECT DOMINANT MAN in your head a reality on the big screen.
Collaborative writing is hard. Emily Faith and I sure know that… can you imagine how difficult it must be to put together a movie with so many artistic visions floating around amidst the kind of pressure Fifty is seeing these days?
Wait until the movie is out before you scream the actors were wrong. And then try to appreciate the components of the artwork on their own,in addition toas a final piece.
If any of my books were ever made into movies, I’d be so grateful for every artist on board I wouldn’t give a shit even if they cast Jason Statham as Asher Chain.
*pictures Jason Statham as Asher Chain*
*hops over my boner and off my soapbox*