Ricochet Movie Fight Club: Question 1

 

What is the best film portrayal of a book character?

The Rules:

  • Post your answer as a comment. Make it clear that this is your official answer, one per member.
  • Defend your answer in the comments and fight it out with other Ricochet member answers for the rest of the week.
  • Whoever gets the most likes on their official answer comment (and only that comment) by Friday night wins the fight.
  • The winner gets the honor of posting the next question on Saturday.

Notes:

  • Only movies will qualify (no TV shows) however films that air on television (BBC films, a stand alone mini-series) will qualify.
  • Your answer can be as off-the-wall or controversial as you’d like. It will be up to you to defend it and win people to your side.
  • Fight it out.

Ding! Ding!

Update:
We have a winner:

Charlotte with 18 likes for Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies.

Congratulations, Charlotte, you get to choose question #2.

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There are 174 comments.

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  1. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    It occurs to me that it will be hard to differentiate between best portrayal in the sense of being most interesting and ‘character-like’, vs. most accurate to the book. 

    Which means more fighting – fite! fite! fite! 

    • #31
  2. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. His facial expressions, his gloriously menacing voice, the way he moved, his costume and wig — everything was the perfect embodiment of what had been in my mind’s eye from the books.

    Official answer.

     

    Darn! I’m too late. That is exactly my thought too. Good pick Charlotte.

    • #32
  3. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Official Answer: Steven Waddington’s portrayal of Duncan Heyward in The Last of the Mohicans

    Major Heyward is an unimpressive character in the book. You only sort of root for him because he tries to rescue Alice (book version). In the film version he is much more complex. Waddington elevates this character and transforms him into a self-sacrificing hero, and though the screenwriters took heavy liberty with the character (something I despised with Faramir), with Heyward it’s pure beauty, and still one of my favorite scenes in film history.

    Maybe i need to re-read the book, but I thought it was the opposite. I seem to recall thinking better of Heyward in the book than I did when I watched the movie. Hmmm, I’ll put that book back in the to-read pile. It was an enjoyable book so it won’t be a chore.

    • #33
  4. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    Official Answer: Jack Nicholson as R. P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest. 

    I generally find Nicholson to taint most movies he’s in, but I think he was tailor made for that character. He personified the vigor and lust for life as well as the caginess described in the book. 

    • #34
  5. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Official answer: Sean Connery as Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October.

    I almost went with Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan from October. As much as I revere Harrison Ford, I still think Baldwin made the better Ryan. Still waiting on a great John Clark. 

    • #35
  6. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Official Answer: Steven Waddington’s portrayal of Duncan Heyward in The Last of the Mohicans

    Major Heyward is an unimpressive character in the book. You only sort of root for him because he tries to rescue Alice (book version). In the film version he is much more complex. Waddington elevates this character and transforms him into a self-sacrificing hero, and though the screenwriters took heavy liberty with the character (something I despised with Faramir), with Heyward it’s pure beauty, and still one of my favorite scenes in film history.

    Maybe i need to re-read the book, but I thought it was the opposite. I seem to recall thinking better of Heyward in the book than I did when I watched the movie. Hmmm, I’ll put that book back in the to-read pile. It was an enjoyable book so it won’t be a chore.

    He is good throughout the book, and more of an antagonist in the film, so you’re right, but in the film he has a redemptive moment that is much more powerful than anything he does in the book. 

    • #36
  7. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth In Pride and Prejudice. Playful but not giddy, pretty but not in a distracting film star way. She has an intelligent looking face and a twinkle in her eyes. Colin Firth put in a not too shabby performance opposite her too

    Have you seen this yet?

     

    • #37
  8. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    in the film he has a redemptive moment that is much more powerful than anything he does in the book.

    • #38
  9. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I can’t defend it because the story is still on my to-do list. But I’m pretty sure the winner is George C Scott as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Good luck to whoever can run with it.

    • #39
  10. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    Reply

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The difficulty of this question is that I can’t like an answer involving a well-acted character based on a book I haven’t read. In most cases, I fear, I have only seen the film.

    It’s interesting in that some literary characters are drawn clearly enough that the movie casting seems wrong, even when the actor involved does a good job. Robert Urich as Spenser, Alex Baldwin as Jack Ryan, or Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump were all well played characters but not at all like the picture in my mind after reading the books.

    Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher is quite good. (Imo) But he is absolutely nothing like the clearly drawn physical description of the character in Childs’ books.

    • #40
  11. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    I won’t argue for it, but have been told Russell Crowe well represents Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander.

    I read most of the series one summer at the recommendation of fellow Ricochet members – and Crowe very much fits the physical description of Jack Aubrey.

    • #41
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Official Answer: Jack Nicholson as R. P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest.

    I generally find Nicholson to taint most movies he’s in, but I think he was tailor made for that character. He personified the vigor and lust for life as well as the caginess described in the book.

    Nicholson made a great showing, but I don’t know that he looked like or behaved like the character in the book. 

    • #42
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    I won’t argue for it, but have been told Russell Crowe well represents Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander.

    I read most of the series one summer at the recommendation of fellow Ricochet members – and Crowe very much fits the physical description of Jack Aubrey.

    I must disagree; Aubrey was large, overweight, and blond. 

    • #43
  14. Michael S. Malone Contributor
    Michael S. Malone
    @MichaelSMalone

    Another vote for Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice.  Though Amanda Root kills it in the 1995 Persuasion, as does Russell Crowe in Master and Commander and Judy Davis in Passage to India.

    • #44
  15. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth In Pride and Prejudice. Playful but not giddy, pretty but not in a distracting film star way. She has an intelligent looking face and a twinkle in her eyes. Colin Firth put in a not too shabby performance opposite her too

    Have you seen this yet?

     

    I had not seen that thank you! 

    • #45
  16. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    TBA (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Official Answer: Jack Nicholson as R. P. McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest.

    I generally find Nicholson to taint most movies he’s in, but I think he was tailor made for that character. He personified the vigor and lust for life as well as the caginess described in the book.

    Nicholson made a great showing, but I don’t know that he looked like or behaved like the character in the book.

    I think the only thing off from the book, was the lack of red hair. Otherwise I think Nicholson was right on target (although he also could have gained a little more working-man muscle for the role, but he was close-as-is). 

    • #46
  17. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    Another vote for Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice

    Michael, make sure to like   @MarjorieReynolds comment (#20) so she can win and pen next weeks question.

    • #47
  18. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    I was maybe going to suggest Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint as the three wizard kids in all the Harry Potter movies.  I was enchanted by all three, and thought they were just perfectly cast after seeing the first movie (before I had read any of the books).  The first movie made me a Harry Potter freak, and I remain one.

    • #48
  19. Ed G. Inactive
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I was maybe going to suggest Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint as the three wizard kids in all the Harry Potter movies. I was enchanted by all three, and thought they were just perfectly cast after seeing the first movie (before I had read any of the books). The first movie made me a Harry Potter freak, and I remain one.

    Actually I think the movies did really good on most if the characters as described in the books.

    • #49
  20. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    All except Fleur Delacour.  The lady who played her was mousy, washed-out, and had little stage presence.

    • #50
  21. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I was maybe going to suggest Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint as the three wizard kids in all the Harry Potter movies. I was enchanted by all three, and thought they were just perfectly cast after seeing the first movie (before I had read any of the books). The first movie made me a Harry Potter freak, and I remain one.

    I’m also a huge HP fan, but I don’t actually think Dan and Emma really got a grasp of their characters (and by that I mean learned how to act) until the third movie. Rupert was good from the beginning despite the fact that the movies took away a lot of his strengths, which I’m fine with since they made him funnier.

    With Hannibal and Snape already chosen, I have to think really hard.

    • #51
  22. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I was maybe going to suggest Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint as the three wizard kids in all the Harry Potter movies. I was enchanted by all three, and thought they were just perfectly cast after seeing the first movie (before I had read any of the books). The first movie made me a Harry Potter freak, and I remain one.

    Actually I think the movies did really good on most if the characters as described in the books.

    It really helped that the adults were played by the best British actors. 

    • #52
  23. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    LC (View Comment):

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I was maybe going to suggest Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint as the three wizard kids in all the Harry Potter movies. I was enchanted by all three, and thought they were just perfectly cast after seeing the first movie (before I had read any of the books). The first movie made me a Harry Potter freak, and I remain one.

    Actually I think the movies did really good on most if the characters as described in the books.

    It really helped that the adults were played by the best British actors.

    Now come join the new Harry Potter Lovers group!

    • #53
  24. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Got to go with Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara.  I saw the movie before I read the book, and even though her character is drawn very differently physically in the book (she wasn’t that attractive and had straight hair), all I could imagine throughout was Vivian Leigh.  

     

     

    • #54
  25. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    Okay, since Lecter and Snape are out and a lot of Jane Austen’s characters have been rightly picked already (though I can easily add in Alan Rickman’s Colonel Brandon), I’m going to officially nominate Andy Serkis’ Gollum.

    Beyond just essentially creating a new acting medium (motion capture acting), Serkis nails the language, the mannerisms, and the suffering. Gollum’s split personality isn’t as pronounced in the book trilogy as it in the movie trilogy, but it’s there. It’s such a physical performance on top it all. Personally, I found Serkis’ tortured portrayal made me sympathize with the character more.  

    • #55
  26. Michael Minnott Member
    Michael Minnott
    @MichaelMinnott

    Antonio Banderas as Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan from The 13th Warrior (1999), based on the Michael Crichton novel Eaters of the Dead (1976).  Not only is his character in the movie accurate to the book, but the movie overall is very faithful.  If you’ve read the book you can see specific scenes and dialog that are used verbatim in the movie.

    The story uses the “found document” premise which provides a first-hand account, via Fahdlan, of the events detailed in the epic poem Beowulf.  Since the Scandinavians of the 10th century (called Varangians) had no writing, the introduction of the educated Fahdlan from the Caliphate of Baghdad is the basis for the fictional transcript on which the novel and movie are ostensibly based.  In this version of events the enemy is not Grendel, Grendel’s mother and a dragon, but instead the last tribe of Neanderthals in Europe.

    This is a great example of speculative historical fiction.  I sometimes wonder is Crichton was influenced by Poul Anderson who, although known mainly for sci-fi, had also written a number of such novels in the genres of fantasy and Scandinavian lore.

    • #56
  27. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    So a TV miniseries does qualify? Then Robert Duvall as Augustus McCrae in Lonesome Dove. What to my mind distinguishes good acting from bad or mediocre acting is how completely the actor disappears into the character and Duvall becomes Gus McCrae right into his gaze. You forget in the course of the portrayal both that you are watching Robert Duvall and that Gus is fictional. It’s an amazing piece of work. He perfectly convinces you he is someone else and that someone  else came off the pages of the McMurtry novel.

    That is my official answer for film, assuming that it is not disqualified, but with people nominating Jennifer Ehle from Pride and Prejudice  I think I’m on solid ground, though I have to mention that Ben Withrow as Mr. Bennet gets my vote for that series. I cannot picture anyone else  as the character now. 

    Speaking of actors who completely embody a literary character: Jeremy Brett. He was Sherlock Holmes. 

    • #57
  28. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I was maybe going to suggest Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint as the three wizard kids in all the Harry Potter movies. I was enchanted by all three, and thought they were just perfectly cast after seeing the first movie (before I had read any of the books). The first movie made me a Harry Potter freak, and I remain one.

    Oh, dear do I find myself in  stark disagreement about Watson. In the early films, she was good, but she hit the “child actor grows up  and exposes all the limitations of her/his talent” wall about Goblet of Fire. She’s  better again in The Deathly Hallows, I think, but in several scenes in the intervening films I found  her almost painfully wooden. 

    • #58
  29. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Michael Minnott (View Comment):

    Antonio Banderas as Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan from The 13th Warrior (1999), based on the Michael Crichton novel Eaters of the Dead (1976). Not only is his character in the movie accurate to the book, but the movie overall is very faithful. If you’ve read the book you can see specific scenes and dialog that are used verbatim in the movie.

    The story uses the “found document” premise which provides a first-hand account, via Fahdlan, of the events detailed in the epic poem Beowulf. Since the Scandinavians of the 10th century (called Varangians) had no writing, the introduction of the educated Fahdlan from the Caliphate of Baghdad is the basis for the fictional transcript on which the novel and movie are ostensibly based. In this version of events the enemy is not Grendel, Grendel’s mother and a dragon, but instead the last tribe of Neanderthals in Europe.

    This is a great example of speculative historical fiction. I sometimes wonder is Crichton was influenced by Poul Anderson who, although known mainly for sci-fi, had also written a number of such novels in the genres of fantasy and Scandinavian lore.

    That is an underrated movie for sure. 

    • #59
  30. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    Another vote for Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice

    Michael, make sure to like @MarjorieReynolds comment (#20) so she can win and pen next weeks question.

    Oh jay I should have read the rules first before posting!

    • #60
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