Touchstone Pictures via Everett Collection
Summer: it's a time to relax, soak up the sun, eat mountains of ice cream and tackle the massive pile of books you've been meaning to read. Whether you need to make your way through hundreds of pages of classic literature before school starts up again or you've just been putting off the heavier tomes on your shelf until you have some more free time, reading the classics can sometimes be a slog in the summer. But it's a task well worth undertaking, and not just because it's good to broaden your literary horizons. Many of your favorite films are actually twists on well-worn tales. Sure, they're enjoyable on their own, but the only way to really pick up on the humor of Jane Austen or the references to Shakespeare in a suburban high school rom com is to read the books first. We've rounded up the best movies that become even better, funnier and more charming after you've read the works their based on. Consider it a well-earned reward for a book well read.
10 Things I Hate About YouBased On: The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.Most Drastic Change: Aside from the high school setting, he plot was simplified to reduce the amount of characters and false identities. For example, Joey Donner was originally two characters, Gremio and Hortensio. Best Reference to the Source: After Kat almost hits Michael with a car, he calls her a “shrew”; Michael also quotes Shakespearean sonnets several times throughout the film, and Cameron quotes the play itself (“I burn; I pine; I perish”). And there's that one girl who is oddly in love with "William."You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Almost every name in the film is a reference to something else. Padua High School refers to Padua being the location of the play, and Patrick’s last name, Verona, is where Petruchio is originally from. Kat and Bianca’s last name – Stratford – is a reference to Shakespeare’s hometown.
Clueless Based On: Emma by Jane Austen Most Drastic Change: Updating the film to be about ‘90s Valley girls; none of the character’s names are similar to Austen’s characters.Best Reference to the Source: The wedding fake-out at the end of the film. Since Austen wrote a great deal about the marriage plot, all of her novels end with the heroine getting married. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: While most of the characters have Austenian equivalents, Dionne is an original character, although it could be argued that she represents Ms. Weston. Also, Amy Heckerling cut out the character of Jane Fairfax completely. She is the main obstacle to Emma and Frank Churchill’s relationship; his Clueless doppelganger, Christian, is gay instead.
Bridget Jones’ Diary Based On: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Most Drastic Change: Instead of the large family that Elizabeth Bennet has in the book, Bridget is an only child, and has a large group of friends to give her advice, all of whom vaguely resemble her sisters. Best Reference to the Source: Casting Colin Firth as Mark Darcy. Author Helen Fielding has said that she based the character (both in name and looks) on his portrayal of Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC miniseries. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Instead of Darcy making two proposals, he only makes one; Bridget’s speech when she finds out that he is moving is a reflection of his second confession of love.
She’s the Man Based On: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Most Drastic Change: In the play, Viola just pretends to be a man, and calls herself Cesario, rather than specifically impersonating her brother Sebastian. Best Reference to the Source: The character of Malcolm, who is based on the character of Malvolio, has a pet tarantula named Malvolio. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Books: Like 10 Things I Hate About You, all of the names are either adapted from those of the characters - Duke Orsino is the modern-day equivalent of Orsino, who is a duke, and the restaurant they frequent is called Cesario – or the locations – the school’s name Illyria, is where the play takes place.
Screen Gems via Everett Collection
Easy A Based On: The Scarlett Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne Most Drastic Change: In the book, Hester is ostracized for cheating on her husband with a priest; she got pregnant during the affair. In the film, Olive only pretends to sleep with people. Best Reference to the Source: The foreign film that Olive goes to see, courtesy of one of her fake hookups, is called Der Scharlachrote Buchstabe, which translates to The Scarlett Letter.You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: The film is up-front about many of its similarities to Hawthorne’s book, as Olive is studying it in class. Though Olive doesn’t have an affair with anyone, Hester and Arthur Dimmsdale’s relationship is paralleled in the affair that Mrs. Griffith has with Micah.
ScroogedBased On: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Most Drastic Change: At the end of the film, Frank reunites with his love, Claire. However, in the book, too much time has passed for him to reconcile with Belle, and so he is instead content with becoming part of the Cratchitt family. Best Reference to the Original: In addition to Frank Cross joking about “scaring the Dickens out of people,” one of the TV shows he produces is called “Scrooge,” which was an alternate title that Dickens published the story under. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: The Bob Cratchitt part is played by two different characters: Frank’s overworked assistant Grace Cooley and the much-abused yes-man Eliot Loudermilk.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Based On: Homer’s The Odyssey Most Drastic Change: Instead of journeying home after a great war, Ulysses has escaped from a prison chain gang. Best Reference to the Source: The film is filled with references to the epic, but the cleverest is the repeated use of the song “Man of Constant Sorrow,” as the name Odysseus (the Greek equivalent of Ulysses) means “man who is in constant pain and sorrow.” You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: In order to win Penelope’s hand in marriage, all the suitors must string Odysseus’ bow and shoot an arrow through a dozen axe heads, but only Odysseus is strong enough to string the bow. In the film, Ulysseus also strings a bow in order to prove that he is who he says he is, and not an imposter.
Ruby Sparks Based On: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.Most Drastic Change: In the play, Higgins “makes” Eliza by transforming her from a flower girl into a lady, but in the film, Calvin physically creates Ruby, as she is a product of his imagination.Best Reference to the Source: At the end, Ruby becomes her own person, and leaves Calvin behind to do what she wants and become who she wants, which reflects the controversial ending of the play, in which Eliza leaves Henry behind in order to marry Freddy, even though Henry disapproves. The ending of Shaw's play was very controversial when it was first performed, but it was important to him that Eliza doesn't marry Henry. You’d Only Notice This if You Read the Book: Calvin’s brother, Harry, repeatedly warns him to be careful with what he’s doing, and not to disregard Ruby’s emotions, just like how Henry’s friend, Colonel Pickering, constantly warns Henry to be kind to Eliza and to treat her like a real person, rather than an experiment.
Dame Helen Mirren was feted with the coveted Icon honour at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards on Tuesday (03Jun14). The 11th annual prizegiving at London's Berkeley Square Gardens brought out a slew of stars, but it was the 68-year-old Oscar winner who stole the show.
Mirren was presented the Icon prize by Ryan Reynolds, her current co-star in upcoming film Woman in Gold. Reynolds dubbed her the "Dame of Thrones", and joked about the beloved actress, stating "For most actors, painstaking preparation involves nothing more than spray tan and a big pile of coke. But this next honouree has shown me that those things just aren't as important as I'd previously thought."
He continued, "The term 'national treasure' is bandied around a lot but, in the case of this stage and screen legend, it's absolutely deserved. She brings grace and fierce talent to her roles and leaves a trail of critical acclaim in her wake. She's also someone we're absolutely desperate to get drunk with at a party."
Upon receiving the honour, Mirren said, "There are a lot of really young women here who are very beautiful, incredibly talented, and I salute you and respect you all. I'm so proud to be a member of your sex." But she left with some parting advice, and quipped, "Your 40s are good. Your 50s are great. Your 60s are fab. And 70 is f**king awesome. I'm not quite there yet, but almost."
Other Glamour Women of the Year Awards winners included Taylor Swift (International Solo Artist), Nicole Kidman (Outstanding Contribution), Naomi Campbell (TV Personality for The Face), Orange is the New Black star Taylor Schilling (Editor's Special Award) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hunk Sam Claflin (Man of the Year).
Dame Helen Mirren has revealed why she married her husband Taylor Hackford - to save cash.
The Oscar winner wed her director partner in 1997, 12 years after they fell for each other while working on 1985 film White Nights. When asked in an interview with Hello! magazine why it took the couple so long to walk down the aisle, Mirren reveals she decided to don her wedding dress after a financial adviser told her of the money she could save if she got married.
She tells the publication, "(We married) for two reasons. I knew our extended family... wanted us to get married. The other reason was financial. As you get older, you start thinking about wills and planning for your estate. We realised that it was going to be so much clearer if we got married."
When asked if she believes in unions, she adds, "Not at all. I couldn't see the point until a financial adviser told me how much money we'd be saving. I was on board immediately."
Stars including Sir Michael Caine, Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth and Damian Lewis helped raise more than $2.2 million (£1.4 million) for U.K. charity Save The Children at a glitzy London benefit on Wednesday (12Mar13). The star-studded crowd donned colourful outfits for the reggae-themed bash at the Roundhouse venue in Camden, where 500 guests gathered for a charity auction.
Madness and Jimmy Cliff were among the night's performers, while Jamaican reggae singer Dawn Penn teamed up with UB40's Ali Campbell for a rendition of Sonny and Cher track I Got You Babe.
Other guests included Bonham Carter's Burton and Taylor co-star Dominic West and Lewis' wife, Harry Potter star Helen McCrory.
The donations were pulled in through ticket sales and the auctioning of prizes such as a huge portrait of Bob Marley and a vacation at the Golden Eye Resort in Jamaica, the one-time home of James Bond writer Ian Fleming.
Plenty of actors have lent their voices to prime time animated series like The Simpsons or movies like The Croods and Toy Story. But it’s hard to imagine Saturday Morning Cartoons with huge stars. A lot of people are shocked to find out that the original voice of Shredder on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star James Avery, or to recall which Star Wars veteran was behind The Joker. Perhaps you weren't aware of the big names behind some of these childhood favorites...
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
A group of teenagers use magic rings to harness the elements and to summon Captain Planet, an environmental superhero. Each episode, they battle villains trying to pollute the environment. Whoopi Goldberg voices Gaia, the spirit of the Earth and their boss. What a lot of children at the time didn’t realize is the show’s villains are all played by major celebrities. Meg Ryan is Dr. Blight, a disfigured doctor who works with a sarcastic British computer. Jeff Goldblum plays Verminous Skumm, a mutated rat creature with a fondness for toxic waste. Sting even appears on the show as the creatively named Zarm. Other villains are played by Hollywood veterans Martin Sheen, James Coburn, Malcolm McDowell, and Ed Asner. Major celebs also stop by for guest appearances including Danny Glover, Louis Gossett Jr., and even Elizabeth Taylor.
This Disney cartoon creates a mythology where stone gargoyles come to life when the sun sets. It also has a bizarre Star Trek connection. Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis play series villains David Xanatos and Demona. There are also performance by other The Next Generation stars Michael Dorn, Brett Spiner, LeVar Burton, and Colm Meany. The captains of Deep Space Nine, Avery Brooks, and Voyager, Kate Mulgrew, appear on the cartoon. Nichelle Nichols even makes an appearance.
Batman: The Animated Series
Batman is probably the most star-studded cartoon in television history. The series features appearances by stars from the 1970s to today. 1970s icons like Adrienne Barbeau, Michael York, and Marilu Henner pop by the series. Bewitched actress Elizabeth McGovern plays her last role ever on the cartoon. Mark Hamill, a.k.a. Luke Skywalker, finds a career resurgence playing The Joker. Night Court’s Richard Moll, The Beastmaster Marc Singer, and Melissa Gilbert all bring 1980s nostalgia playing major characters. Bruce Wayne’s various love interests include Heather Locklear, comedian Julie Brown, and Supergirl Helen Slater. There are also appearances by future celebrities like Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss and Megan Mullally.
Similarly, this Man of Steel cartoon has a ton of television actors lending their voices. Superman is voiced by Wings star Tim Daly and Lois Lane is Desperate Housewives star Dana Delany. Sitcom stars Peri Gilpin, Brad Garett, and Joely Fisher all appear on the show.
"She and Taylor Hackford have this mansion and I rent a little cottage in the back. If I'm having a problem with the house, she'll come up and fix it. She is everything you would hope she'd be: wonderful, warm and funny." Winona Ryder rents from Dame Helen Mirren and insists she is a hands-on landlady.
Twilight star Taylor Lautner is heading to the U.K. to star in a BBC comedy. After speculation swirled the hunk would be taking the lead role in the upcoming second season of Cuckoo, a BBC Three boss has finally confirmed Lautner has signed up for the sitcom.
BBC Three controller Zai Bennett announced the casting news in a statement: "Cuckoo was one of BBC3's most stand-out comedies, so I'm delighted to welcome it back with the addition of superstar Taylor Lautner joining the critically acclaimed Greg Davies and an outstanding British comedy cast for what will be one of the comedy treats of the year."
Lautner is set to play a "mysterious young stranger who shows up in Litchfield, Staffordshire." where the series is set.
He joins The Inbetweeners star Davies and former Friends actress Helen Baxendale in the series.
The 22 year old replaces comedian Andy Samberg, who starred in the first season of Cuckoo.
Samberg is finding success of his own in the U.S. - he recently earned his first Golden Globe award for his performance in sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The man whose story inspired Oscar-nominated movie 12 Years A Slave has been honoured posthumously, more than 150 years after he wrote his memoirs. The film is based on the 1853 book by Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and he has now been honoured for his writing with the 26th annual University of Southern California (USC) Libraries Scripter Award.
Northup, who is played onscreen by British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, shares the accolade with the film's screenwriter John Ridley.
Ridley accepted the prize during a gala ceremony, chaired by Dame Helen Mirren and her husband Taylor Hackford, in Los Angeles on Saturday (08Feb14).
Previous winners of the award include the writers behind acclaimed films such as Argo, The Descendants and The Social Network.
Twilight star Taylor Lautner is reportedly heading to U.K. TV to star in a BBC comedy. The Hollywood hunk has signed up to star in Cuckoo, a sitcom for BBC Three, opposite The Inbetweeners star Greg Davies, according to Britain's The Sun newspaper.
Lautner will reportedly appear in the upcoming second season of show. The first series starred former Saturday Night Live comedian Andy Samberg and former Friends actress Helen Baxendale.
Dame Helen Mirren is set to be honoured by Prince William at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) next week (begs10Feb14). The Duke of Cambridge, who is the President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, will present The Queen star with the Academy Fellowship Award on 16 February (14).
Previous fellows include Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Dame Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave and Sir Christopher Lee.