“Movie” or “Why Hollywood is *Not* Making One of ‘The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale’ Without Me”

Any authors out there dream of having their book turned into a “connected cinematic narrative represented in a sequence of photographs projected onto a screen with sufficient rapidity as to create the illusion of motion and continuity”? I know I do. But much as I would love to see “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” up on the big screen, I’ve been disappointed by enough movies based on… er, inspired by… um, mutilating the source material found in books, that I would approach any potential movie deal with great caution and firm stipulations regarding my involvement in the project. I can predict all too easily what would happen with my back turned…

1) Charming, jocular Will Scarlet would be dragged over the line separating “cool, fun character” to “annoying character who thinks he’s funny, but seriously, nobody’s laughing”. Heck, knowing Hollywood, they’d make him Black, if they could get away with it, disrespecting both Will Scarlet and the Black community in one sick-making move…

2) Meanwhile, the sexual tension between Will and Marion would be through the roof – expect at least one kissing scene, maybe worse – even though in the book, both of them know how to keep that kind of nonsense under control for the sake of her marriage to his cousin/leader and the wellbeing of the Merry Men as a whole.

3) Speaking of Marion, do I even want to know what they’d do to her? It could go one of two ways: She’ll either a) be so worthless that you can tell that the only reason they didn’t write her out was so she could hookup with Will, or b) she’ll act like, as the only technical Merry Woman, she somehow has something to prove, and be a bothersome rhymes-with-“witch” (and, ironically, she’ll still be worthless).

I mean, I get it, Morganne’s is a gorgeous face… but it’s supposed to also be an *elusive* face!

4) Casting will screw me over at every turn. The actors playing the North Wind (if they bother to include him, which somehow I rather doubt) and Little John will not be imposing enough. They’ll get some “big name” actress to play Morganne le Fey and then give her way more face time than the book ever did, just to make it worth the several thousands it took to hire her. Anyone who’s supposed to be good-looking will be… by Hollywood standards… which half the time reads “not so much” or even “downright eew” to me. (If they have Kristin Stewart playing Marion, I will scream fit to wake the dead, I kid you not.)

5) They’ll probably make it so Allyn really is conversing with his dead father’s ghost or something, instead of it all just being in his head. …Or maybe they’ll act like those imaginary conversations mean that Allyn is truly delusional. Either way = wrong.

6) They’ll no doubt overly-simplify the “villain” and his/her/its motivations. For all I know, they’ll make the wrong (and perhaps painfully obvious) person the one whodunit, just so they can get away with editing out a few characters.

7) There will be some dramatic final battle I never wrote between Allyn and whoever they select as the baddie, and Allyn will come out on top by some really contrived, stupid means. Yay, hooray, the Faire is saved, too bad no intelligent viewer could care less at this point.

8) They won’t include any of my song numbers. *massive frown-y face*

In conclusion: Hollywood is making this movie without my final say-so over my dead body.

How ‘bout the rest of you? What’s your book-to-film experience been like?

And for the writers in the house, what are your thoughts regarding your books’ possible translation to another medium?

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6 thoughts on ““Movie” or “Why Hollywood is *Not* Making One of ‘The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale’ Without Me”

  1. Yes, I would live in fear of hollywood casting. I still twitch at Kevin Costner as Robin Hood, lol. Not even a british accent… ack. I hear one of the cable stations is working on a series for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Can’t imagine what they’ll do with that, or how they could possibly do justice to Jamie Fraser.

    Funny your Marian and Will have that whole sexual tension thing going on. Last free writing exercise I did, Will floored me with rather poetic lusting after Marian. Not as serious an issue since she’s not involved that way with Robin, but still totally unexpected.

    • Not even a British accent?! Oh, come on, be an actor and fake one! I’ve been doing it twice a weekend all summer, and for much lesser pay!

      “Ooh, poetic lust!” says Will, eyebrows wiggling. “Sounds better than the prosaic brand! Don’t see why it caught you by surprise, though; when you’re Will Scarlet, sexual tension just comes with the territory. Everyone wants me.”
      Or everyone wants Marion.
      “Probably that,” he concedes.

  2. I think it’s pretty much every author’s dream to have their novel made into film. I’m not one for sticking to a book in the movie version *gawks* . . . I know, I know . . . but I kinda like to see a different twist on a story I’ve already read!

    • Well, so long as the changes made were for the better, sure, I guess I’d have little to complain about. Let’s face it, you usually kinda have to change some things, going from book to movie; different mediums have different strengths and limitations, meaning at least parts of the story will need to get shown/told in different ways. And if you come up with something cool for the movie that you didn’t think of or couldn’t do for the book (and the change won’t destroy the story’s soul), heck yeah, why not throw it in? It’s the unnecessary, cheapening changes that drag the story down that get me groaning. The “what was even the point of that?” changes. The “this movie would have been so much better if you’d just left that untouched, but no-o-o…” changes. I’m pretty sure most of us have seen at least one movie like that.

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