Netflix is starting a book club!
Yeah, you heard me, the site that pulled us away from our newest novel into the world of ad-free on-screen entertainment is broadening its horizons. The book club is going to be hosted by Uzo Aduba who we all knew and loved as Suzanne Warren in the show “Orange Is the New Black”. So what’s it going to feature? Well, books that are getting their own adaptations of course! The first selection is “Passing” by Nella Larson, a Harlem Renaissance era love story about Black women who can pass as white, with the film starring the gorgeous (not to mention badass) Tessa Thompson.
The book club is created in partnership with your local Frappuccino dealer, Starbucks, and will feature Aduba talking to authors, cast members, and others involved in the adaptation process in different Starbucks locations. They’ll be talking about the book itself and the huge process that is involved in adapting a written work into a whole new format. Next time you’re out dealing with your pumpkin spice fixation, you might want to keep an eye out for some special guests to bump into.
It’s not easy to adapt a book into a movie, and I know you don’t believe me. “The script’s all there though!”, “You already have your character descriptions!” etc. etc. Here’s a couple of things to think about though:
Character Casting: It’s annoying when the Annabeth you were waiting for is a brunette instead of a blonde, and when Harry Potter is missing the iconic green eyes he got from his mother. But casting choices have to be made according to who embodies the role better and if that’s Dan Radcliffe with a color contact allergy, then that’s who it should be.
Fantasy Races: It’s all very well to have a magical land with its own history in a book, but your real person is coming in with their own accent, and skin color, and facial features that can’t become a blank slate to mould. They’re gonna come in with their own pasts and whatever is associated with their culture, which is then going to become the culture associated with where their character is coming from. A good example of this is Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone.
Setting the Scene: In a book, you can read about someone entering a room and falling into bed, but oh no! the next chapter reveals an assassin hidden behind the curtains. This works because you only see what the character notices. A movie, however, would show you the whole room as the character enters it, and if you notice the big boots peeking out from the curtain then the assassin isn’t a surprise anymore.
I’m looking forward to new criticisms on adaptations, because “they skipped half the scenes” and “the characters don’t look right” is so last season.