Most authors have fascinating back stories of their own. Which is why they make great subjects for movies and television. Here are the screen alter egos of 10 of our favorite authors:
1. William Shakespeare
Shakespeare In Love: Joseph Fiennes
In Shakespeare’s time, young men played the female roles. Except in Shakespeare In Love where Will falls for plucky Viola who disguises herself as a boy, auditions for Will’s company and the rest is well, Romeo and Juliet.
Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Code: Dean Lennox Kelly
The Time Lord lands his Tardis near the original Globe Theatre and bumps into Will Shakespeare who helps unlock a code; shades of Dan Brown.
2. Giacomo Casanova
Casanova: Heath Ledger
In this comedy of mistaken identities, famously promiscuous Casanova is given an ultimatum: marry or be exiled from Venice.
Casanova: David Tennant
An old man tells a story to a wide-eyed young serving maid. The man is Giacomo Casanova and the story is a sad one – his exile from Venice cost him the love of his life.
3. Jane Austen
Miss Austen Regrets: Olivia Williams
Jane Austen turns down a proposal of marriage. Years later, she counsels her niece to follow her heart.
Becoming Jane: Anne Hathaway
Young Jane falls in love with dashing Tom Lefroy; he feels the same but his family’s fortunes depend on him making a good marriage.
4. Agatha Christie
Agatha: Vanessa Redgrave
In 1926, Agatha briefly disappears. A journalist tracks her down to a hotel in Harrogate but doesn’t break the story because he’s fallen in love with the author.
Agatha: A Life In Pictures: Olivia Williams
This dramatized documentary follows Agatha from childhood, through her war career as a nurse and apothecaries’ assistant, her failed first marriage, her happy second marriage, and her great literary success.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Midnight In Paris: Tom Hiddleston
F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of many great writers who inhabit the Parisian dream world as conjured by the imagination of a screen writer who yearns to be a novelist.
Z: The Beginning Of Everything: David Hoflin
This is Zelda’s story, but of course Zelda’s story doesn’t exist without Scott.
6. Ernest Hemingway
Midnight In Paris: Corey Stoll
Ernest Hemingway is another of the writers who move through the imagined world of Paris after dark, mentioned above.
Hemingway and Gellhorn: Clive Owen
The turbulent years of the 1930s are a suitable backdrop for Hemingway and Gellhorn’s fiery relationship.
7. Lillian Hellman and 8. Dashiell Hammett
Julia: Jane Fonda and Jason Robards
Dashiell Hammett encourages his lover, Lillian Hellman, to write about her childhood friend, Julia, who has been murdered by the Nazis.
Dash and Lilly: Judy Davis and Sam Shepard
Hellmann and Hammett live and love by their own rules during Hollywood’s golden era and the years of McCarthyism. They weather storms, including Hammett’s membership of the Communist Party and Hellman’s interest in Stalin’s Soviet regime.
9. Truman Capote and 10. Harper Lee
Capote: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener
Two films, released only a year apart, cover the writing of Truman Capote’s groundbreaking In Cold Blood.
Capote received most of the attention, due to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar winning performance.
Infamous: Toby Jones and Sandra Bullock
In both films, Harper Lee, Capote’s oldest friend, is by his side as he undertakes research in the Kansas town where the shocking crimes took place.
Not every author would want to be portrayed on screen; I suspect most of the above, with the possible exception of Truman Capote, were more comfortable creating their stories than being center-stage.
YouTube Channel: Movieclips
Featured image via Superior Pics