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Top 10 Authors Who Hated Movie Adaptations Of Their Work

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Clayton Martino After their books were taken and turned into major hollywood movies, the authors who penned them had some not so nice things to say about them, as they were unhappy with what their stories had become! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Authors Who Hated the Movies that Were Based on Their Books! But who will take the top spot on our list? Will it be Stephen King and "The Shining", Truman Capote and "Breakfast at Tiffany's", or P.L. Travers' "Mary Poppins"? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to drewbrown and MikeMJPMUNCH for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Authors+Who+Hated+Movie+Adaptations+of+Their+Work

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While audiences and critics may’ve loved these films, the original scribes did not feel the same way. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Authors Who Hated Movie Adaptations of Their Work.

For this list, we’re looking at authors who, for one reason or another, took issue with the big screen versions of their written material.

#10: Billy Hayes
“Midnight Express” (1978)

“Midnight Express” tells the true story of Billy Hayes’ incarceration in Turkey after being apprehended for smuggling hashish. Its film adaptation, directed by Alan Parker with an Oliver Stone screenplay, was a success both commercially and critically, winning several Academy Awards. But, while the movie version was relatively faithful to the source material, Stone opted to change the ending. In the film, Hayes takes the life of a prison guard attempting to sexually assault him. In real life, however, Hayes escaped by stealing a dinghy and rowing 17 miles across the Sea of Marmara. Hayes has been quoted as saying he wished they’d included the real ending, but it never made it into the final draft.

#9: Winston Groom
“Forrest Gump” (1994)

“Forrest Gump” was the smash hit of 1994, earning over $677 million at the box office and winning six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Perhaps the film’s biggest critic, however, was the author of the original book himself. Winston Groom was frustrated that the film left out several key plot points. What’s more, Groom didn’t earn much due to the language in his contract, which allotted him 3% of the film’s net profits. However, producers claimed “Forrest Gump” didn’t turn a profit, so 3% of nothing is a bit fat zero. Groom published a sequel to the novel in 1995, with the first page stating: “Don’t never let nobody make a movie of your life’s story.” Ouch.

#8: Michael Ende
“The NeverEnding Story” (1984)

If you were a kid in the ‘80s, odds are you watched “The NeverEnding Story” a dozen times, if not more. The film was generally considered a critical success, with Roger Ebert praising the visual effects in particular. These effects weren’t enough to win over the original author, however. Michael Ende believed the ending of the revised script was so different from the spirit of the book that he tried to take back the film rights, took the producers to court, and eventually had his named removed from the project entirely. In the end, he called the film “a gigantic melodrama of kitsch, commerce, plush and plastic.”

#7: E. B. White
“Charlotte’s Web” (1973)

E.B. White’s tale about the friendship between a pig and a spider is one of the best-selling children’s books of all-time, and in 1973, it was adapted into an animated musical film. Although “Charlotte’s Web” was a moderate success at first, it has since become one of the most beloved children’s films ever produced. That likely isn’t the case in E.B. White’s household, however. White called the film a travesty and that he hated that the storyline was constantly interrupted for musical numbers, stating “I don’t care much for jolly songs.”

#6: Bret Easton Ellis
“American Psycho” (2000)

“American Psycho” is a chilling tale about a Wall Street investment banker with a taste for the macabre, who begins moonlighting as a serial killer. The author behind the source material, Bret Easton Ellis, was not impressed with the adaptation, stating that he didn’t think the book needed to be turned into a movie. Ellis has also been quoted as saying that film is “a medium that really is built for the male gaze and for a male sensibility,” perhaps a comment on “American Psycho”’s director, Mary Harron, whom Ellis believes failed to capture the book’s ambiguity and Bateman’s role as an unreliable narrator.

#5: Anthony Burgess
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

From one disturbing adaptation to another, “A Clockwork Orange” is considered one of Stanley Kubrick’s best films. Even now, decades later, it continues to terrify, shock, and disturb viewers. However, Anthony Burgess, the author of the 1962 novel on which it was based, didn’t feel the film did his original work justice. The Englishman believed that Kubrick missed the main theme of the novel – redemption – with the director choosing to focus on graphic violence and explicit sex instead.

#4: Roald Dahl
“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” (1971)

Who doesn’t love Gene Wilder’s performance as the eccentric Willy Wonka in the 1971 film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”? Well, Roald Dahl for one. Dahl, the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” hated the fact that the film shifted the focus from Charlie to Wonka, as evidenced by the change in title. He also disliked Wilder’s performance, calling it pretentious, and wished that Spike Milligan or Peter Sellers had been cast instead. Ultimately, Dahl vowed to never allow producers to adapt the novel’s sequel while he was alive.

#3: Truman Capote
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)

Audrey Hepburn is one of the most beloved actresses of all-time, and perhaps her most memorable role was that of Holly Golightly, the eccentric socialite in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Hepburn was even nominated for an Academy Award for her performance. Clearly no one told Truman Capote any of this, however. Capote believed Hepburn was entirely wrong for the part. Instead, he wanted the role to go to Marilyn Monroe. While Monroe would likely have been great, in retrospect it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Hepburn playing Holly.

#2: P. L. Travers
“Mary Poppins” (1964)

P. L. Travers held out for nearly 20 years before she finally allowed Disney to adapt her children’s book “Mary Poppins” into a big-budget film. Unfortunately, her worst fears were realized during production. Travers’ script edits were disregarded, she hated the changes to Poppins’ character, thought the animated scenes were absurd, and reportedly even detested Julie Andrews’ classic portrayal. At the film’s premiere, Travers allegedly spent much of the film in tears. As a result, she refused to allow Disney to adapt any of the other books in the series.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Richard Matheson
“I Am Legend” (2007)

- Ken Kesey
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)

- Lothar-Gunther Buchheim
“Das Boot” (1981)

#1: Stephen King
“The Shining” (1980)

“The Shining” is considered by many to be the greatest horror movie of all-time, so it’s ironic that the master of horror fiction and author of the source material disagrees. Stephen King hated Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his novel, particularly the changes to the characters. He believed Kubrick and Jack Nicholson turned Jack Torrance into a crazy character, which was not the case in the novel, and transformed Wendy Torrance into nothing more than a screaming mess. King claimed that Kubrick couldn’t grasp the inhuman evil of the hotel, and instead looked for evil in the characters. King disliked it so much he ended up helping produce a TV miniseries adaptation in 1997 that was far closer to his intended story.

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