Top 5 Screen Actors for Books Made Into Movies

A few days ago, Heather over at bitsnbooks tagged me to write a post on my favorite screen characters. This challenge has evolved, since Heather was originally tagged by someone who listed their top 10 screen characters, and then Heather narrowed it down to her top 10 book characters on screen.

Since I don’t watch a lot of movies (or much television) and since quite a few of my favorite book characters have yet to make it to the big screen, I split up my list into five favorite book-to-movie actors and five favorite book characters I’d like to see on the big screen.

As I already changed the rules for this challenge, I don’t see any need to compel anyone else to follow them, but here are a few more people who might find this as fun as I did. You can go with top screen actors/actresses, top book-to-movie characters, or some mix of the two.

1. Jacqueleen Hale
2. Rachel Hamm | I Picked Up a Pen One Day…
3. Live to Write – Write to Live


5 Favorite Book-to-Movie Characters
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1. Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) – Harry Potter

For me, this has to be one of the best castings in recent history. Emma Watson is, in many ways, a real-life Hermione Granger. Considering that she herself is brilliant, fearless, and kind, I’ve never been surprised that Emma Watson embodies those characteristics when she plays Hermione, too.

Hermione is my favorite character in the Harry Potter books and maybe even one of my favorite book characters ever, so seeing Emma Watson bring her to life and then grow into the character of Hermione on the big screen is truly magical.

Hermione: Honestly, don’t you two read?

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2. Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

While it’s been some time since I’ve watched the LOTR movies, Sean Astin’s performance as Samwise will always stick with me. Much of the attention is typically focused on the more prominent characters, and Astin has a tricky role as a background character who is almost always around. Playing best friend to the hero isn’t easy, as you have to be engaging enough to hold your own in a conversation with the hero, but you also have to know when to sit back. Sean Astin strikes this balance perfectly. One of my favorite Samwise scenes is in the last movie, after they destroy the Ring:

Frodo: I can see the Shire. The Brandywine River. Bag End. The Lights in the Party Tree.
Sam: Rosie Cotton dancing. She had ribbons in her hair. If ever I were to marry someone, it would have been her. It would have been her.
FrodoI’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.

How can you not love Samwise, the friend who stays even at the end of all things?

3. Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) – The Hunger Games

Sometimes while reading The Hunger Games, you can put Haymitch into a one-dimensional box as a lazy, obnoxious alcoholic.  But when he’s played by Woody Harrelson in the movie, that’s not possible. Harrelson breathes complexity into the character of Haymitch Abernathy that you can’t ignore. Simultaneously acrimonious and devoted in nature, Harrelson’s performance of Haymitch gives him a sympathetic note, where you’re able to see how a life like Haymitch’s could lead to behavior as difficult to handle as his is. And Haymitch does come through when Katniss and Peeta need him most, and Harrelson captures his sarcastic but still caring attitude with aplumb.

Haymitch: You and a syringe against the Capitol? See, this is why no one lets you make the plans.

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4. Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) – Once Upon A Time Television Series

This one is a bit of a stretch in terms of the book-to-movie category, since most Once Upon A Time episodes rewrite fairytale history, but in a series where the acting occasionally leaves a little something to be desired, I love Jennifer Morrison’s portrayal of no-nonsense Emma Swan. Along with the novelty of watching fairy tale characters interact with the modern world, she is the reason I keep watching the show.

5. Sara Crewe (Liesel Matthews) – A Little Princess

This one goes out to my childhood. I was charmed with this movie as a young girl, and I still had to hold back the tears when I watched the end scenes on YouTube before writing this post. I love Liesel Matthew’s performance as the little princess, Sara Crewe. She’s winsome and sincere, and she plays the sweet, but mischevious role of Sara well. The movie deviated from the book a bit, but Liesel Matthews performance as Sara Crewe is everything I envisioned for the original little princess in the novel.

Also, who knew the 1995 version of The Little Princess was directed by Alfonso Cuaron? I certainly didn’t until I pulled it up on IMDB. It was his first feature-length film for American audiences, and look where he is now with all the awards for Gravity. I admit I would have never guessed he directed this heartwarming film, but no wonder it’s so good!

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5 Characters Who Should Be on Screen

1. Orual from Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ last novel, which he considered his most mature, doesn’t get enough recognition as it is in book form, but it would make an excellent movie. All the dramatic elements are there in this story: betrayal, love, politics, power, and more. And Orual is a character with secrets and conflict.

2. Sicarius from The Emperor’s Edge Series by Lindsay Buroker

Sicarius is such a badass assasin that any cinematic portrayal of his character could easily put most Liam Neeson roles to shame. I’m just waiting for when some screenplay writer discovers what a gold mine this series could be for those of us who love action, fantasy, humor, and romance all rolled into one. And especially for those of us who love watching an icy and reclusive character like Sicarius evolve into a multifaceted, even endearing hero: it’s a Hollywood ending just waiting to happen.

3. Faina from The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

With the current popularity of live-action fairy tales (Malificent, Into the Woods, Once Upon A Time, etc.), I’m certain that a movie adaptation of The Snow Child, based on a Russian fairy tale, would be successful. And Faina would be a dreamy, mysterious heroine. The story is full of heartbreak and hope, set in the harsh, but beautiful landscape of 1920’s Alaska. Between the gorgeous setting, the compelling characters, and the elusive mystery of whether Faina is real, this story would make an excellent movie.

4. Haroun from Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Rushdie’s whimsical children’s story with all kinds of mystical creatures, a princess who needs to be rescued, and the fate of stories everywhere being at stake could be a fantastic movie. And I envision the heroes, Rashid and Haroun Khalifa, as winning characters, too, just waiting to be released onto a screen.

5. Kit Tyler from The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Several people have tried to drum up support for this novel becoming a movie, but so far, no luck. This book’s got all the right elements for an outstanding movie with lots of action and tense scenes, not to mention it’s set during the time of the Salem witch trials. Kit Tyler is a fierce, independent heroine, and I’d just love to see her story come to life.


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6 thoughts on “Top 5 Screen Actors for Books Made Into Movies

  1. Great list. I love Sam Gamgee too. He never gets the credit that Frodo does, which irks me to no end.
    I actually started working on a list of books that should be made into films yesterday (the Oscars got me thinking about it). I’m always interested to see if what I imagine in my mind is the same vision that the filmmakers have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, and Sam takes the creditless spot like a champ. What a guy. And I’ll be looking forward to that list! I also love seeing if my vision of a book matches up with a filmmaker’s. It’s just so cool to see another world come alive.


      1. Sam was always my favourite – in the books and the movies.
        I hope to my list posted in a couple of Saturday’s time. It’s been exciting thinking about the ones I’d want to be movies (or remakes even) and then googling them and finding out that the project is in development. Having said that, there’s one in particular I am absolutely DYING for to be be made in a movie/tv series and the project has been in development for about two or three years, with no film date in sight unfortunately. Which makes me sad.


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