Picturing the Characters: Do Movie Adaptations Ruin It For Readers?

Original image from Hunger Games Movie.

Imagine you are reading a captivating novel and are picturing the characters, setting, and events in your mind, just as the author intended. And then you see a trailer for the movie adaptation and the characters look nothing like you imagined. You are crushed.

So, here's my dilemma: Do I show my students pictures and trailer videos (OK, just one video for now) of The Hunger Games as we are reading, or do I allow them to picture the characters and setting first, then reveal Lionsgate's vision later?

Last spring I couldn't contain myself as we were getting movie casting news practically daily. We happened to be reading the novel in my class at the time, and each new cast member received a prominent spot on my white board. My students would rush into class each day to look at the board to see if I put up any new pictures. It was exciting; thrilling, actually. To see students who normally hated to read looking at the board and reading the articles about each casting...that was priceless. It also seemed to help students who had trouble picturing the story and characters.

But this year, I wonder if I should reveal the look of the characters first? Granted, if students want to find out who is cast in each role, a simple Google search will bring up gobs of pictures. (Although, some will be "dream casts" not featuring the true actors.) But there's been a few "that's not how I pictured Katniss" and "Peeta's blond in the book" comments that make me wonder whether I'm doing them a disservice showing them pictures of the movie actors.

On the other hand, I also have images of Scout, Atticus, Jem, and Tom from the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird" on my walls, and I never thought twice about those images tainting the picture in our minds as we read the classic novel by Harper Lee. Is it because I wasn't alive when the movie was being cast and have always known those actors in those roles? (Even though Dill doesn't have white-blonde hair, like his description in the book?) 

What do you think? Do the actors' images stifle the student's creative thought while reading? Or does it enhance the reading experience? Comment below or reply on Twitter (@MrsOrman) with your thoughts! I'd love to know what you think and how you handle it in your classroom. And if any readers here are students, I'd love to hear from you, as well.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...