One of the great debates is should you read the book or see the movie (or television adaptation) first. For the most part, I side with those who believe in reading first because usually the book was created first. It is the original creation of the story and how it should occur. Recently, I figured out one of the reasons why I stand by my argument (Other than you should read how it was originally intended to be).
I’m in the process of reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. Breakfast at Tiffany’s happens to be one of my favorite movies. Since I have seen it, oh, a million times, I am reading the characters voices in my head as they appear in the film. When I read what became the opening scene of the movie (where Mr. Yunioshi yells at Holly for ringing his bell because she can’t keep track of her key), I had Mickey Rooney’s voice in my head and a picture of his Japanese-ified face looking over the railing to go with it. Every time there is dialogue for Holly, I have Audrey Hepburn’s voice with the slight French lilt playing. This one doesn’t bother me so much because having read Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson, I’m pretty confident that she was the perfect person to play Holly despite what she thought (Okay, so maybe I wish I were Audrey and may be biased but I’m sticking to what I think).
The one thing that bothers me the most about reading the book now when I have the film carved into my brain is hearing and seeing George Peppard when “Fred” is telling his story. There’s two reasons I loathe this happening. The first is pretty obvious. Peppard did not actually play the character of Fred. Fred was the closest thing Holly ever had to a best friend and was openly gay. Peppard’s character, Paul, replaced Fred in order to have a love interest for Holly–one who would take her out of her unconventional ways–so that the nation would find her ways more appropriate since she leaves them. The way she acted–not just because she was a prostitute–was highly frowned upon when the book was released in 1958. The second reason I really hate this has to do with reading Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.–it goes chronicles the creation of the book and follows the entire production process of the movie. In the book, there is a section that discusses how Peppard acted on set. Apparently, he was very difficult to work with–even to the point where he got lines cut from the character of Mag Wildwood. He was said to be rude and narcissistic. Because I love the story and Audrey Hepburn so much, I cannot stand the thought he would tamper with the work (okay, I know the book and the screenplay are two very different things but I can love both pieces of work) and that he would be rude to her.
As I realized all this was happening, it hit me that this isn’t the only book I’ve done this with. Whenever I read anything dealing with the Vampire Diaries, I picture Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, and Paul Wesley. The worst part of that for me is the physical differences in Elena (and the fact that since I watched the show first, I like Nina’s version better). Okay, maybe it’s just because I have dark hair, but I feel like Elena is better as a brunette than a blonde as she is in the books. And, ask anyone who has watched the show: Katherine (show version) would never work with her attitude as a blonde. There. I’ve said my piece.
I do this with a lot of Stephen King books as well. It’s mostly because I’ve been watching his movies a lot longer than I’ve been reading his books but it happens. Okay, now that I’m thinking of it, maybe it doesn’t happen as much as I would have thought. I’m going to chalk this one up to not watching the same movie repeatedly like I have with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Vampire Diaries. The one the I really remember it happening with is Christine, which was the first Stephen King movie I’d ever seen as well as my favorite and the one I’ve seen the most. You see, I’ve always kind of had a thing for Dennis in the movie and Arnie is a very memorable character. Therefore, I saw their faces throughout the entire book. However, I did love the book a lot more than the movie thanks to it being a lot creepier and having a lot more detail.
In fact, with Stephen King, one of my favorite screenplays is Rose Red, which he wrote the book for after the mini-series was produced. And as it turns out, I really don’t like the book all the much compared to the series. The series focuses on the house and all mystery and paranormal stuff with it. The book, while the premise is interesting, focuses on why the house is like that in the form of Ellen Rimbauer’s diary (Don’t be alarmed about Stephen King not being credited as the author on the cover. He wrote it. And if you’ve watched the mini-series first, as you should, you will understand who the “author” is. Or it’s explained in the very end of the book). It goes into detail that even I find too grotesque and it just isn’t as interesting. I would have been happier having never read it and gone on only having the knowledge of the movie (Okay, it is nice knowing why the house is as weird as it is but I just didn’t like the book. It could have been better, as I expect out of Stephen King).
Okay, now that I’ve found more reasoning for my argument in the great debate, I must go finish the book and move on to The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson and see if I imagine Johnny Depp the whole time as more proof. On to more annoying my mom with Breakfast at Tiffany’s quotes in my terrible Holly Golightly impression as I read.