I went to see a movie last night (Skyfall, in case you're wondering), and there was a preview for the Jack Reacher film. I can't remember the title, but I've enjoyed the book series. I was excited when I first heard they were making a movie based on the book series, but then I heard Tom Cruise was cast as the main character, and I was deflated.
You see, I just plain don't like him. Therefore, no matter how good an actor he may or may not be, it taints the film for me. Admittedly, it looks like a damn good movie, and I will likely see it, but there's an internal war going down about that right now. Is it worth it to me, even with T.C. in it? Will my feelings for him remove me from the film too much?
This can work in various ways. Maybe it's not just about not liking the actor. Maybe I've seen them in another role and my brain has typecast them. For instance...the dad in Twin Peaks. I, to this day, cannot see that man without being completely ooged out about him. In human-speak, he's creepy! Actually, that's probably true of a few of the actors in that show. But the dad always sticks out to me. So seemingly harmless, and then...
In books, this is a bit different. When I meet the authors, it can sometimes bleed over into what I'm reading by them. If I don't like the author, negativity leaks into some part of the book. I've only met two writers I didn't like (writers rock, man!), and I've only read a book by one of them. But that person was so unlikable that I ended up finding her main protagonist impossible to like. A lot of her personality seemed to be wrapped up in her character, and I saw the things I hadn't liked. I struggled the entire way through the book. Now, this person has a successful series of books, so it's apparently only me that feels this way. In fact, I spoke to someone who loved her protagonist the other day. So is it the character...or the writer?
This can be a good thing, too. I met another author before reading their work, and they had such a distinct cadence when talking that when I read this person's books, I do so with that cadence in my mind. And, in fact, it makes the reading experience better, because that cadence is reflected in this person's writing. I've heard from others who hadn't met him that they had a hard time reading his work, but I'm betting it would suddenly get quite a bit easier if they met him and heard him speak.
Other experiences with this are fairly neutral. Yes, I'll see some bits of personality from the author in the writing (why wouldn't there be?), but it won't have any great affect.
The point of this? Remember when you're rich and famous that the way you interact with people will surely be reflected in your writing when they read your books. Don't be a jerk.
Do you find this happens with you? Or can you keep the actor/writer independent from their characters?
May you find your Muse.
Image courtesy of Iyo at clker.com: Education Student Reading