There was big news in the world of publishing today. Some may think it’s that Kirkus Reviews has been saved from extinction by a new owner. But other news set my mind in a whirl: Katherine Heigl, of Grey’s Anatomy and Knocked Up fame, has been picked to play Stephanie Plum, the heroine of Janet Evanovich’s first Plum book, One for the Money. The notice said Reese Weatherspoon had originally been picked for the part, but the project had been stalled for years.
I don’t read a lot of adult lit–I can’t abide the waste of the English language after a decade of training to make every word count in writing for children. So when I do read it, I like to be entertained. So I admit I’ve read and listened to a couple of the Stephanie Plum novels and loved them. If you’ve never listened to one, treat yourself and do so. The woman who records the books is great.
Does this woman live in New Jersey? I don't think so.
So, like the readers of our children’s books, I’ve formed a picture in my mind of what the main character would look like. And like our young readers, I think I’m going to be disappointed because the producer’s idea of Stephanie and mine is completely different. This is a woman working for her cousin the bail bondsmen chasing down folks who don’t show up for court to make her rent. This is a New Jersey woman who gets beat up by low lifes and who–more than once–has had her car go up in smoke. Somehow, I never pictured young and sexy Katherine Heigl in this role. I pictured an earthier person–kind of a younger Melissa Leo.
So will this work? Only the final print will tell. Sometimes, producers can ignore the few physical cues a writer gives in a book and have the right actor overcome the readers’ image of the character. This worked very well to me with Holes. In the book, Stanley is a round boy. In the movie, Shia La Beouf made me believe he was Stanley, even though he didn’t share the book Stanley’s physical girth.
Do you have a favorite children’s book that was turned into a movie? Did the actor match your mind’s vision of the main character?