Famous novelists who dabbled in screenwriting…with mixed results

Some might be surprised to learn that their favorite novelists worked in Hollywood. No, not just when their books have been adapted for film and television. Many of the best novelists who ever lived have also written a film or two, and some have had the privilege of being the ones to adapt their own work for the big screen. While this has been a rare turn of events, it has become more common as more fiction writers have their works adapted.

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Contemporary authors, like horror icon Stephen King and fantasy author George RR Martin, have had the chance to adapt some of their work for the screen, but the list of screenwriter novelists covers more than some specialists of the genre. Even literary icons like Joan Didion have tried their hand at film. Take a look at this list of novelists who broke into the world of cinema, some of these entries are quite surprising.


F. Scott Fitzgerald found a second career as a screenwriter

Gatsby the magnificent is one of the most popular novels ever written. It remains a staple of high school English lessons in the United States to this day due to its heavy use of symbolism and themes related to sex, class, and toxic relationships. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus has been made into a movie twice, once in the 1970s and again in 2012 starring Leonardo Di Caprio as Gatsby. Fitzgerald struggled towards the end of his life, and in his attempt to recover financially he attempted to start a career as a screenwriter. He did reviews on movies like carried away by the wind which ended up not being used, and eventually his inability to get regular work led to him having a relapse of his alcohol abuse. Most of the movies he worked on didn’t credit Fitzgerald, that was before the Screen Writers Guild won the writers’ protections that prevented producers from stealing credit. However, one film has F. Scott Fitzgerald listed as a writer, the 1937 comedy Three comrades. Other films Fitzgerald worked on but weren’t credited include winter carnival and Mrs. Curie.


Stephen King wrote several classics

King is one of the few writers to have had the privilege of adapting his work for the screen. werewolf cycle was an adaptation of one of his more obscure novels, but the film ultimately flopped. However, King wrote other classics, such as Creepshow, The Stand and the remake of the 1990s miniseries the brilliant (King hates Stanley Kubrik’s version). Other films written by King include Maximum overdrive, sleepwalkers and cellular, however, all three of these films failed at the box office.

George RR Martin wrote for “Game of Thrones”

Despite falling out with showrunners, George RR Martin will forever be remembered as the man who sparked the sensation that was game of thrones, which was based on his best-selling fantasy series A song of ice and fire. Martin, before falling with game of thrones producers, worked closely to help adapt the show. He wrote 4 episodes of the series between seasons 1 and 4. Martin had worked as a screenwriter before. While still a budding fantasy writer, he also wrote for television, he wrote several episodes of the 1980s reboot of The twilight zone and the original live-action miniseries version of The beauty and the Beast, and The outer limits.

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Agatha Christie adapted a Dickens novel

The mystery writer was a notorious crank, and she hated virtually all adaptations of her work. However, even the notoriously bitter Christie tried to cash in on Hollywood when she penned a TV adaptation of one of her stories. The wasp’s nest. Although Christie dabbled in screenplays as a hobby, she rarely showed the plays to anyone. It was not until the 1960s that she returned to the big screen to adapt Charles Dickens’ novel. dark house for MGM. Christie’s work continues to be adapted for television and film, the most famous of his characters being the portly, finely mustachioed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. classic sound Death on the Nile was redone by Kenneth Branagh in 2022.

Mario Puzo wrote “The Godfather”

Puzo is privileged to be the author of both the original novel and the film adaptation of what is widely regarded as the greatest film ever made, The Godfather. The story of how the book was created is fascinating, as is its journey to becoming a movie. Puzo wrote the film at the suggestion of his friend, producer Robert Evans, who then promised he would use it as a vehicle for a Paramount-sponsored gangster movie. Eventually, the film would go to director Francis Ford Copolla, and the rest is movie history.

Michael Crichton of “Jurassic Park” fame

Crichton is probably the most successful novelist to break into film, as he also became a filmmaker and producer as well as a novelist. Her first novel The Andromeda Strain blasted it into the limelight, and he was privileged to help adapt the film version in 1971. He also wrote the original film version of Westworld which was rebooted as an HBO series, and he wrote the 1996 disaster movie Tornado. His novel jurassic park was transformed into the multi-million dollar franchise it is today. Crichton was also co-creator of Emergency roomwhich became one of the longest running drama series on television and ran for 330 episodes.

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Margaret Atwood wrote for television

Atwood wrote: The Handmaid’s Tale in the 1970s and has since become one of the most popular subversive texts in America. Her adaptation for a series on Hulu is seen by many as a prophetic symbol of the state of women’s rights. However, the TV series is not Atwood’s first foray into the industry. She wrote an episode of For registration, a Canadian television series, an episode of Screen Two for the BBC, and a TV movie called The heart comes last.

Joan Didion has written several films

The author passed away in 2021 much to the dismay of his loyal fans, but the literary maverick left behind a work extensive enough for us to enjoy. In addition to his long list of stories, poems and novels, Didion has written the following films Panic in Needle Park (1971), Play it as it is, which was a 1972 adaptation of his novel of the same name, A star is born in 1976, which has been remade several times (latest with Lady Gaga in the lead), True Confessions (1981), and Up close and personal (1996).

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