Monday, February 11, 2013

Impressions Matter

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 Education Student Reading


  1. Most of the time I can keep an actor's life separate from his onscreen presence. (I think Cruise is crazy, but I do enjoy his movies.) I think it's a little different with books though. In the movies, it's a character that often has nothing to do with the person in the role. With a book, the author created it and is often evident in the story. So I can understand why not liking an author means you don't like the book.

  2. Well, I have to say a lot of writers do walk around with their noses in the air with swelled heads.

    As for TC. He's been brainwashed.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. I feel the same way about a particular writer (initials also TC, strangely)whose work I will no longer read because of a comment he made about money. And I concur about the dad in Twin Peaks. I will always see him as Laura Palmer's father

  4. A lot of the time, it colours my choice of books if I don't like the author.

    Also not a fan of Cruise, but will see the movie if it appeals. He's Hollywood's choice of leading man, while women (some of us) really prefer the Depp variety or someone made of less cardboard.

  5. I stay away from books by writers I know to have engaged in unsavory things like online bullying of reviewers who didn't like the books, or of manipulating the reviewing systems to inflate a book's rating and vote down anyone with negative reviews. Other than that, I'm open-minded unless given a reason to avoid the writer.

  6. I can separate an actor from a role. I find that there are certain actors that rub me the wrong way, but if they are in something I want to see, I can see the movie (or TV show), and enjoy it.

    As for books, I haven't encountered that problem, but I assume it'll be much the same way. If it's something I would enjoy, I could separate the author from the work. But I'll have to see before I can say for sure.

  7. Books and movies are for me like water and oil. Different, together but different. between the book and the movie I prefer the book and I always compare them and the book always wins.

    the only movie that seemed as good as the book - for me, at least - was "Pride and Prejudice" the one from 2005. A very convincing Mr. Darcy and a movie very faithful to the book.

  8. I have a story about this that I'll get around to telling one day.

  9. Totally with you on Tom Cruise. I love the Reacher books, but hell no, I refuse to think Jack Reacher looks unattractive like Cruise. The guy I can't stand, and refuse to see any movie he's in is Leonardo DiCarpro (sp?).

    Was it me you hated when we met?

    I can't wait to hear who you really hated on Thursday when you come up to the RMMWA meeting. You will tell me, right? Unless one of them was me. Then just lie and say Carol Berg. Mostly because you'll be the first person to ever say they didn't love Carol.

    Looking forward to seeing you.

  10. Actors tend to influence my opinion more than authors, probably because they tend to get more press--though I've never met a writer in person and then read their work.

  11. I will watch a movie just because Tom Cruise is in it! Guess we are polar opposites on that...I wanted to see Jack Reacher last week but it had just left the theatre so my wife and I saw Zero Dark Thirty. I had read the book it was based and still the movie really good.

    Funny thing...we were supposed to go to see Top Gun (another Cruise flick) in 3-D this week but my wife got the dates mixed up and it was only touring the area for one week so missed it...last week. She is the one who actually wanted to see it and I love that movie so somewhat bummed at the moment.

    And who can't not like Risky Business..."Porsche, accept no substitute."

  12. With any art form, it's hard to like the product if the author/artist/actor is a jerk. This is always a huge turn off to me, and I'm stubborn enough to say "meh" to whatever it is they create. On the flip side of that, it's always fun to discover someone who should have a big ego is actually super humble and nice. Hugh Jackman and Woody Harrelson come to mind.
    ps. Tom Cruise is a creepy weirdo!

  13. This is a good question. For me it's a casting issue. I find that when a person is wrong for the part, I have a hard time following, no matter what kind of actor they are. I think TC, is a good example of this. He pulls a number of big roles that he's just not right for. I get frustrated then, wishing TC and others of his ilk would spread the wealth a little, give another guy, one who's better for the part, a chance. Getting back to your question. Once I can see the main actor in a movie is wrong for the part, I have a hard time overlooking that. The writing and the rest of the casting have to be great pretty damned outstanding to keep my interest then.

  14. Not familiar with the book but when you mentioned Tom Cruise...I don't and never have cared for him at all......

  15. Aurora, indeed!

    Alex, there aren't too many actors I can't stomach, but those who fit that category I have a lot of trouble accepting.

    Shelly, aw, I've been lucky not to meet too many of those. Funnily, some I've met like that aren't "big" in the writing world, so it's even misplaced.

    Marcy, my hubby saw that actor at LAX. He called me from the airport and I was freaked out from a distance, ha!

    Becca, thanks!

    D.G., I like the way you put that, made of cardboard. And I'll take Depp over Cruise any time! So is it men that prefer him?

    Carrie-Anne, those are excellent reasons to avoid a writer. There are too many good writers who are also good people out there to give our money to those who don't fit those categories.

    Liz, that's true for me for the most part, but there are a few that I simply can't stomach.

    Elena, he seems to have been a very popular Mr. Darcy!

    Andrew, lol, I think you quite often have a related story!

    Julie, DiCaprio drives me nuts, too! He looks like a big five year old and he comes across as so cocky and obnoxious. As far as the writer, I'll have to tell you on Thursday! And of course it's not you (or Carol)!

    Golden Eagle, it's true, actors get more press and it's easier to have an opinion on them. They really can't get away with much.

    Chuck, hey now, I enjoy Top Gun and Risky Business. There's a certain age at which I came to not be able to stand him, so it's his movies after that. I'll still watch Mission Impossible, too, but I'll hate on him the whole time, so it ruins a bit of the movie.

    Winopants, I wholeheartedly agree! If they prove to be good people, or really likable, I'm a fan for life.

    D.M., oh yes, if they're wrong for the part I can't handle it. Doesn't make me dislike the actor, but it can definitely affect the film for me.

    Sandy, I think the books are by Lee Child? The Killing Floor is one.

  16. Nine out of ten times I can keep an actor separate from their role, especially if they are a good actor. Tom Cruise seems a little crazy, but I liked the film Jack Reacher and I thought he was very good in it. Admittedly, I hadn't read these books so I had no preconceived notion of what the character should be/look like.

    On a slightly different note--but still somewhat on topic, I have a VERY hard time switching actors. Like, when Richard Harris died and Michael Gambon replaced him as Dumbledore in the HP movies.

    Honestly, if I'd LIKED the way Michael Gambon played the role I would've been okay with it. But he always seems really grouchy and non-Dumbledorey. I'm pretty sure that's a word, right? non-Dumbledorey? If it isn't, it should be. ;)

  17. I'm usually okay to separate the actor from the characters that they portray (though I'm just not a fan of Tom Cruise as either). I've not met that many authors to make the comparison with their books, but hopefully one day I'll get the chance :)

    Jamie @ Mithril Wisdom

  18. Oh, and my Tucker & Dale review is up.

  19. Tamara, oh yes, I don't enjoy having to accept a new actor in a part. I also had a hard time with Gambon. He just couldn't quite live up to the first Dumbledore, who was more lighthearted, it seemed. Jack Reacher definitely looks like a good movie! Sigh.

    Jamie, I hope you get the opportunity, for sure! If the actor does a good job, I can typically get past it and get involved in the film. If not, not so much.

    Andrew, yay! Will check it out. And, hey, isn't that the mark of a good storyteller? To always have a story?

  20. I have had a harder time watching Braveheart since Mel Gibson's bad behaviors have been more widely publicized

  21. I don't know. I suppose that could also be the mark of an annoying story teller.

  22. I do find that if someone has read out their wip at one of my writing workshops I will forever read their work with that voice in my head. Intriguingly I sometime find that people use a special voice for reading out their manuscripts.

  23. I am seeing Skyfall tonight! (I type Skyrim, though I've never played the game yet heh). I am stoked to still be able to see it in the theater.

    A lot of people I know have an issue with TC, but I happen to enjoy his movies. Many associate it to the Scientology? Aren't many Hollywooders subscribed to that, though?

    I am in agreement with actors being placed in roles that don't seem to fit the character. That always annoys me. That was the biggest complaint I heard about TC playing Reacher (mainly height, as TC is short; Reacher tall?). I've never read the books, but I hear positive things.

    I understand what you are saying about certain performers too, because Julia Roberts is that way for me. I don't know what it is, but she bothers me lol That being said, however, I've watched a handful of her movies and have liked some of them.

    I used to "typecast" a lot. Hated Brad Pitt until Fightclub, Leonardo Dicaprio until Romeo/Juliet and The Beach. I don't do it so much anymore. Thankfully, because I'd be missing out on some great performances if I did any or all of the above too often :)

  24. I usually do all right keeping actors and writers separate from their roles and books. However, there is one name writer I no longer read after meeting her. So true about remembering not to be a jerk. Anytime :)

  25. I don't like Tom Cruise either. There's something about him that repels me, and it colors my reaction even to his best performances. Fortunately, most of the writers I've met so far have been nice, normal human beings, and meeting them hasn't affected reading their work.

  26. OHMAHGAH, I am SO WITH YOU on the Cruise thing. Gah!

    I do know what you mean about feelings for an author getting in the way of feelings for the author's work. Weird, ain't it? But you know, all throughout life, each and everyone of us unconsciously applies countless biases and prejudices against others - it's just a part of this bizarre human experience.

  27. LuAnn, I agree. I used to adore him, but now I have trouble stomaching him. Sad.

    Andrew, that's entirely true, at least on the one person.

    Rosalind, that's fun! I haven't heard a lot of readings, but I'm betting from the few I have heard that it would be the same for me.

    Jak, for me it isn't about the Scientology. I think he started going downhill, though, when he attacked Brooke Shields when she came out talking about post-partum depression. It took a lot of guts for her to speak openly in order to help other women dealing with something that was not well known, but was far reaching, and he criticized her. That, and a billion other things.

    Carol, definitely. The fact is, everyone is going to have bad days, but we've got to do our best not to let that taint our behavior.

    Jan, the vast majority of authors has been the same for me. Super nice people. In fact, it goes the other way: I'll read a book I'm not interested in because I liked the author.

    Mina, that's so very true. The tiniest thing can create a bias that we don't even understand ourselves. Yet it's there.