Book adaptations strike a strange mix of terror and hope into the hearts of readers. Will it live up to their imaginations? Can the cast truly represent these beloved characters? Earlier this year, fans of James Dashner’s 2009 dystopian novel The Maze Runner likely asked themselves all of these questions. It is easy to imagine that the writers themselves are even more stressed, though Dashner says that he “could not be happier… I just feel like [the filmmakers] nailed it.” Having recently gone through the book-to-film process and knowing that the sequel (The Scorch Trials) has begun filming, we asked Dashner for a list of his favorite adaptations.
I have to include this entire trilogy as one big (really big, like really, really big) movie. I just happen to own the extended versions, which makes it about 11.5 hours long. I also own the soundtracks, to which I’ve written for hours upon hours. It’s hard to stress how important these books, movies, and music are to my creative storytelling life. I just love them so much, and they taught me that in adapting a movie, staying true to the spirit of a book is much more important than attempting to literally translate it page by page.
This was a miniseries back in the mid-’90s, and it provides one of my favorite memories. I hadn’t seen my brother David in a while, and I went to visit him for a couple of weeks during summer break from college. The Stand, based on my favorite Stephen King book and starring Gary Sinise, just happened to come on TV that week, and David and I watched it together. It’s the best miniseries I’ve ever seen.
This is a rare case of my liking the movie even more than the book. Don’t get me wrong; the book is incredible. But this movie blew me away. It’s dark and violent, so be warned if you haven’t seen it yet. But it’s just plain awesome.
I admit that I’m not really a comic book/graphic novel kind of guy. But I’ve enjoyed this TV series so much that I’ve gone back to read the source material and loved it. If that’s not a sign of a good adaptation, I don’t know what is. I might be getting a little tired of zombies, but luckily it’s the humans who are the scariest villains on this show!
Director Wes Ball always cites this movie as a major influence on his style, and I think that’s pretty evident when you watch The Maze Runner. I love the book and the movie. It’s just a classic film, so perfect in mixing suspense with visual awesomeness and characters you care about. I guess I’ll just admit it: The movie is even better than the book!
It’s not out yet, but I’m hoping with all of my heart that the upcoming adaptation of Unbroken does justice to the book. The story of Louie Zamperini and the unbelievable horrors he went through as a captive of the enemy in World War II affected me on a grand scale. It’ll always haunt me, and I’m almost scared to see it come to life on the big screen.
James Dashner is the New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner trilogy and the 13th Reality series. Born and raised in Georgia, he now lives with his family in the Rocky Mountains. Learn more at his website.