15 Authors Who Hated Their Book Adaptions

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON June 29th, 2017

15 authors who hated their book adaptions

Hollywood studios love to translate best-selling literature into a cinematic masterpiece. The decades old practice has pleased the audience on more than one occasion but believe it or not, there have been many instances when the author of the book absolutely loathed the very movie based on their own book. Take a look at some of the authors who hated their book adaptions:


15. Winston Groom (Forrest Gump)

Winston Groom Forrest Gump

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Nominated for thirteen Academy Awards and winning six including Best Picture, the success of Forrest Gump was probably responsible for a big party at the headquarters of Paramount Pictures but it was a nightmare for author Winston Groom. Faced to see numerous plot points and Gump’s personality altered in the movie, the author was completely dissatisfied.

To add insult to injury, he was not mentioned in any of the six acceptance speeches of the Academy Awards ceremony and was not paid the 3% of the movie’s profits that he was contracted for due to a complicated Hollywood accounting structure. Not so surprisingly, he wrote:

“Don’t never let nobody make a movie of your life’s story”

in the very first page of the sequel book Gump and Co.


14. Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)

Bret Easton Ellis American Psycho

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The black comedy horror novel American Psycho is one of Bret Easton Ellis’ finest works but he felt that the movie adaption botched for a variety of reasons that were not his fault. Oddly enough, he did not even believe that American Psycho needed to be turned into a movie.

Though director Mary Harron undoubtedly did a remarkable job making the movie, Ellis was completely against the decision of being directed by a female film-maker and thought that it “requires a male gaze”.


13. Richard Matheson (I Am Legend)

most adapted book to film I Am Legend

Image Source: scpr.org

Unlike the rest of the entries in the article, Richard Matheson’s science fiction horror novel I Am Legend has been adapted into a film three times! Coincidentally, the author hated every one of them.

The first one was The Last Man on Earth and starred Vincent Price whom Matheson thought was a “miscast”. The second one was The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston. The movie was gigantically diverted from his book that “it didn’t even bother” him.

More recently, when it was announced that A-lister Will Smith would be starring in the third film-adaption of I Am Legend, Matheson commented:

“I don’t know why Hollywood is fascinated by my book when they never care to film it as I wrote it.”


12. P.L. Travers (Mary Poppins)

mary poppins

When Walt Disney’s daughters fell in love with P.L. Travers’ critically acclaimed book series Mary Poppins, they convinced their father to make a movie on it. However, the author was sure that the studio cannot do justice to her books in the form of a movie and it took Disney 20 years to finally convince her otherwise.

Released in 1964 and receiving thirteen Academy Award nominations and sweeping five, Mary Poppins became a global phenomenon but Travers was mortified by the film. She cried when she saw the movie at the premiere and cited several “promises had not been kept”.


11. Alan Moore (Watchmen)

Zack Snyder Comic Book Watchmen adaptation

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Despite its complexities, Zack Snyder directed a spot-on movie on the comic book Watchmen that was tremendously faithful to the source material but author Alan Moore claimed that he had no interest in seeing the movie.

The comic book writer ripped the movie to shreds as he insensitively commented:

“The Watchmen film sounds like more regurgitated worms. I for one am sick of worms. Can’t we get something else? Perhaps some takeout? Even Chinese worms would be a nice change.”


10. Clive Cussler (Sahara)

Clive Cussler Sahara Movie adaptation

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With Mathew McConaughey and Penélope Cruz in the leading role of Clive Cussler’s Sahara movie adaption, everything seemed fine until the final product. The movie bombed at the box office and the author was not too pleased about it.

Cussler blamed producer Philip Anschutz for failing to consult him as far as the script was concerned and a lengthy legal battle between the two ensued. In a strange turn of events, the author lost the case and was entitled to pay $13.9 million to the studio.


9. Frank Miller (Every Batman Movie)

Frank Miller Every Batman Movie

Image Source: hollywoodreporter.com

Renowned comic book writer Frank Miller was the brains behind the acclaimed Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns but as it turns out, he cannot bear to watch Batman movies.

“When people come out with movies about characters I’ve worked on, I always hate them. I have my own ideas about what the characters are like. I mean I can’t watch a Batman movie. I’ve seen pieces of them, but I generally think, ‘No, that’s not him.’ And I walk out of the theatre before it’s over.”

Miller also took a shot at Christopher Nolan and said that he was 20 years too late to use the title of The Dark Knight. However, the comic book writer did praise Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman.


8. Roald Dahl (Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory)

Roald Dahl Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory

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As one of the most admired children movies of its time, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was an out-and-out marvel but author Roald Dahl disowned the film entirely due to a dozen reasons. For starters, the movie revolved around Willy Wonka instead of Charlie Bucket. If you are not aware, the original novel’s title is actually Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Dahl was also disappointed with the casting as he hoped for Spike Milligan for the titular role instead of Gene Wilder. In Paramount Pictures defense, the blame partially goes to the author as well. When Dahl failed to meet the deadlines to contribute towards the script, writer David Seltzer had to fill in his ideas that significantly deviated from the novel’s plot.