When a Hollywood studio options the rights of a book to make into a movie, fans of said book get nervous. And rightly so – how many adaptations have we seen in the past where things go from grand and glorious, to botched and reworked?
So, when I had the chance to learn more about the film “The Vow” (due out this Friday), I learned that fans of couple Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, whose lives and book inspired the film, will be in for a potentially unpleasant surprise: Screenwriters Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn have never read the book. They just got some ambiguous direction. “They (the studio) really said ‘a couple, they’re married, a crash, she doesn’t remember him.’” So naturally, we are in for rough waters, right?
But for “The Vow,” the filmmakers were intent on making a compelling narrative inspired by true events, not based on true events. Said Kohn, “I’d prefer that. It leaves us free to create whatever we think would make the most of that dramatic situation. Whatever characters we want to create, whatever past we want to have for them, we can invent. I think that left us free to create something that we felt best served that.” After all, there are some book adaptations that are so faithful that they lose sight of the possibilities given the medium of film.