Sure, P.L. Travers might be the most publicly known disaffected author (at least as it applies to the full-scale cinematic and, on her end, utterly despised imagining of her beloved “Mary Poppins” by Walt Disney — what, did you miss Saving Mr. Banks?), but she’s far from the only one. Stephen King is notoriously not a fan of The Shining, Anthony Burgess so disliked the movie version of his A Clockwork Orange that he regretted writing his own book, Bret Easton Ellis almost roundly dismisses movie takes on his novels, and the list goes on and on (we’re betting that Mark Helprin isn’t too excited about the recent spin on Winter’s Tale), but it doesn’t always have to be the case. In fact, it’s sort of fun when it’s not.
The YA genre has been mostly lucky when it comes to author-approved movies – at least when it comes to its most popular and recent ones – as massive franchises like Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games have been generally pleasing to their respective writers (at least, pleasing enough to not warrant public outcry). Now it seems that the YA love train can add another car to its huffing and puffing movement, as Veronica Roth, author of the “Divergent” trilogy, recently shared her thoughts on seeing the Shailene Woodley-starring Divergent with her fans (hint: she loved it).
Roth took to her Tumblr to share her experience in seeing the Neil Burger-directed film (the first of planned trilogy launched by Summit Entertainment, also home to the Twilight series) in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.
So what did Roth like? And what can we learn about the film, due to hit theaters later this month?
1. It made her remember her writing process.
Sure, this sounds pretty basic – this movie that is based on a book I wrote made me think about the book I wrote – but it’s also a damn good thing. Remember the last time you saw a film based on a book you loved that didn’t look anything like the book? Now imagine how that must have felt to the book’s author. Yow.
Roth shares, “as I was watching, I would flash back to this image of myself in pajama pants with really gross hair typing away on my computer, and then juxtapose it over the gorgeous shot of the Sears Tower or Navy Pier or the Abnegation sector on this big screen in front of me, and it was so ridiculously awesome and surreal I just wanted to laugh and cry all at once.”
2. She loved it.
Roth writes, “I loved it.” That’s to the point.
3. Even she was utterly absorbed by it.
The author shares, “I was completely absorbed by it.” Okay, okay, here’s more: “Even though I am so familiar with this story, I clearly remember grabbing the arms of my chair when Tris runs to catch the train after the Choosing Ceremony because I was nervous that she wouldn’t make it. (And then I thought to myself…YOU WROTE THE STORY, VERONICA.)”
4. Chicago looks good.
Roth says, “It was beautifully shot—Chicago is such a gorgeous city, and to see it transformed into this futuristic wasteland was incredibly cool—and suspenseful, and the cast did a wonderful job.”
5. Woodley and co-star Theo James are the definitive Tris and Four.
Although Roth declines to start calling out everyone in the cast, she does write, “I feel like I should say that Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four are everything I hoped for (or maybe more than I dared to hope for).” Cool your jets, fans.
6. Burger approached the book with care and respect.
“And we were so lucky to have Neil Burger driving this—his vision of the world, the amazing details and subtleties of it, his understanding of the story, and how seriously he took every part of it…I mean, you can tell. You can see it everywhere.” Too bad Burger won’t be back for the next two films, but let’s just enjoy him while we have him.
7. Bonus: Roth likes Milk Duds.
She just seems like good people.
Divergent opens on March 21st.