Warning: Characters in film may appear different than promised

Visualization is not one of my strengths. Book characters normally take on more of a presence than a concrete physical form in my mind. Thankfully, I am unaware of this process unless I utilize my $75,000 critical thinking skills (#thankyoucollege).

Please don’t cry for me, Argentina (or anyone else). I don’t think it hampers my reading experience. Plus, I am still aware of what the characters are supposed to look like, which is why it is so jarring when a movie falls short from even my meager expectations.

Is the character tall? Well then find an actor who is at least 6’1″ or a 5’8″ actress. Is the character pale? dark? tan? freckled? Then cast accordingly. Does the character have a distinct physical feature like messy hair, a set of piercing green eyes, or a lightning bolt scar? Then at least find contacts and a wig.

John Green recently caused a little hullabaloo when he announced the actress selected to play Margo Roth Spiegelman from “Paper Towns” is none other than British super model Cara Delevingne. The casting decision has since grown on me, but initially I was one of the protesters (just, you know, internally and to Moose).

Green does not focus too much on Margo’s individual features. Instead, he continually reiterates how her physical features take a backseat to her personality, presence, and aura of mystery. Casting Delevingne strikes me as funny as she is foremost known for her body and face.

Main character Q made random comments on Margo’s physical features throughout the book:

  • “It wasn’t even that she was so pretty. She was just so awesome, and in the literal sense.” (p. 14)
  • “You can’t divorce Margo the person from Margo the body. You can’t see one without seeing the other. You looked at margo’s eyes and you saw both their blueness and their Margo-ness. In the end, you could not say that Margo Roth Spiegelman was fat, or that she was skinny, any more than you can say that the Eiffel Tower is or is not lonely.” (p. 50)

When I read the book, I pictured a girl who looked more like Mary Elizabeth Winstead (think Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) or Brie Larson. To be fair, Delevingne is the only one out of the three who has blue eyes like Margo. Also, Delevingne is known for her larger-than-life personality, much the same as Margo.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? (Cara Delevingne)

Some movies make me question whether the casting director paid attention to the book’s description. For example, Shailene Woodley plays Tris in the film adaptation of the “Divergent” series. Woodley is a 5’8″ natural beauty, whereas Tris is described as  a short, bird-like girl with a long, thin nose almost too big for her face.

Unknown (Shailene Woodley as Tris)

Maybe Hollywood can’t handle having a striking— not beautiful or attractive— actress helm a young adult franchise. #toomuchtoosoon #overit

If I watch a movie before reading a book, the author has to make it really clear the blue eyed, dark haired chick is actually a brown-eyed blondie. For example, Anne Hathaway will always be Princess Mia Thermopolis in my head. I don’t think Mia is supposed to be as lovely as Hathaway is, but so it shall remain!

My favorite by far is when readers are wrong about what a character looks like— GASP! I know we Bookworms are supposed to be the experts in the movie theater, but even we get it wrong from time to time. Remember the ridiculous outrage some people expressed over Rue being played by a young black actress?

Rue_tribute_portrait (Amandla Stenberg as Rue)

“Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins makes it clear Rue is not the white kid many readers somehow pictured on page 45, “And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes…” I’m not sure how so many people misconstrued this one.

I’m sure there have been many a casting sin, but I am still broadening my genre consumption. This blog post has made me wonder what LOTR, The Walking Dead (comic-verse), and Game of Thrones fans think of the casting decisions for their beloved books, etc. #theworldmayneverknow

(I’m just kidding, just Google that shizniz, we Bookworms are a loquacious bunch.)

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