Ah. The book-to-film adaptation. I suppose the most important thing to remember is that, if you’re fortunate enough to get picked up for one of these media transformations, you need to know what your priorities are. Changing a book to a film naturally means losing some of the detail only a book can provide but, at the same time, it can bring other aspects of your writing to life.
When Harry Potter was adapted for film, I remember being really excited to watch it, then watching it and being really disappointed because it wasn’t precisely how I imagined (I was a rabid 12 year old, forgive me). This is something I grew out of when I got older, and realised that a) you’re never going to please everyone and b) film has certain restraints and restrictions that books do not.
So…if The Elder Throne was going to be turned into a film, hm? Let’s see…
What won’t work well
- Anna’s inner dialogue:A lot of my protagonist’s growth and personality comes across from her inner thought process, and I feel like if this was lost (which is would be), then she wouldn’t be quite as compelling. I may be wrong – let’s hope so!
Mrs. Cobb is a faery who transformed into a creature very similar into appearance to a giant spider. She’s two storeys tall and clicks her pincers whenever she speaks (usually to shout at someone). Despite this, she’s a caring, well-loved member of Seelie society.
I’m not confident that justice could be done to her if she was fixed on screen. Depending on budget, she could look ridiculous. Depending on her design, she could look terrifying!
What will work well
- Casting:The wonderful thing about
TiggersSidhe faeries is that they are largely humanoid in appearance, so when Anna reaches the Seelie realm, it won’t require an abundance of CGI. If I have a savvy casting director (or if I have any say in the matter), the film of Elder Throne could have a great, on-point cast from all over the world. The Seelie Court is the hub of the Seelie Kingdom, to which faeries flock from every country, meaning the majority of the cast wouldn’t have to be limited by their ability to do an Irish accent (except, obviously, Aberon, Burr, Spindle and Knightshade).
One thing I would like to ensure in my ‘film’ is representation. Anna, for example, has Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS) and – I’m aware this might not be possible – but if there were a girl with ABS, who had the acting chops to take on a main film role, my first choice would be her.
- The set:This is really self-explanatory. The greatest strength of film is the ability to convey message through aesthetics. The Seelie Court is a vibrant, interesting place that would really lend itself to being created for a bit of show-and-tell. Giant trees, rope bridges, galleries of gemstones, lush forests… I can see it now.
- Make-up / costumes:If there’s one word that describes Seelie and UnSeelie fashion, it’s flamboyance. I think there’s great scope for a brilliant range of costumes and hairstyles for the film, and it could be an incredibly visually stunning film. Likewise, I’d say that make-up / prosthetics are practically designed for stories like this. A variety of pointed ears aside, we have characters like Azalea Burgeon who, as a Leshy, looks basically like a very pretty tree (bark and all). Knowing what is possible from make-up teams these days, I’d say her appearance would translate very well to film. Also, there’s that moment when the UnSeelie arrive…