Monday, February 20, 2012

How Hollywood remakes public domain stories and characters

When Hollywood decides to make a movie or TV show from a book or story in the public domain, it rarely produces a straight adaptation.
Filmmakers are free to put interesting spins on classic works because they are free to use and they don’t have to get permission from authors to adapt them, sometimes radically.
Here are some of the approaches filmmakers take to freshen up public domain works:
  • Make the material darker for adult audiences
  • Make the story more suitable for kids and families
  • Change the sex of the lead character or characters
  • Change the race of the lead character or characters
  • Portray a younger version of the main character or characters
  • Set the story in the present day
  • Set the story in the future
  • Change the genre of the story (i.e., make it an action movie, comedy, musical or science-fiction tale)
  • Make a sequel to the original story
  • Make a prequel to the original story
  • Do a mash-up, combining characters and stories from different public domain works
  • Tell the story from a different character’s perspective
  • Go back to the source material for a more authentic version than people are used to
  • Make the film in a different medium such as animation or 3-D
Did I miss anything?

Photos: Publicity photos for “Snow White & the Huntsman,” a darker, action-filled take on the original fairytale.


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