So Tom Cruise is playing Jack Reacher, the kick-ass former US Army major in the wildly popular Lee Child series.
It seems that almost every fan I've encountered, whether on this blog or out in the real world, thinks this is the worst decision ever. Not least because Tom Cruise is 5'7" and his fictional counterpart Jack Reacher is supposed to stand at a towering 6'4".
"I could maybe overlook the height difference," moaned my friend, a self-professed Reacher addict, "but I can't overlook the Scientology, couch jumping and that weird thing he has against psychiatry."
That's the thing about much-loved books. When they are turned into film, you can be deeply disillusioned with the actors chosen to portray your favourite characters. A friend in the UK who makes a living as a movie critic recently swanned off to see the new Anna Karenina film. She gritted her teeth through the entire 130 minutes - because it starred one of her most-hated actresses, Keira Knightley.
In that spirit, I decided to look at actors who you'd want to play, or wish had played, your favourite book characters (are you paying attention, movie studio executives?), starting with...
Tom Cruise got the role in real life, but names like Liam Neeson, Russell Crowe, Daniel Craig and Gerard Butler have been bandied about. I'm no Reacher fan, but I'd put my money on Gerard Butler. For one thing, have you seen him as King Leonidas in 300? And if you still think he's not bad-ass enough, his character killed a guy with a steak bone in Law Abiding Citizen. A steak bone.
Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games)
I know this one will be controversial, but I read the books way before the first film came out and, well, Josh Hutcherson just doesn't cut it. For one thing, Peeta can toss around 50lb sacks of flour! Hutcherson, though cute as a button, wouldn't be able to heft a bag of cats. You know who would make the perfect Peeta? Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor. He's also big bro to Liam Hemsworth, who plays Gale. Keeping it in the family and all...
Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey)
The top pick for this yet-to-be-cast film is Ryan Gosling, and I really can't argue with that. I've tried to be diplomatic about Fifty Shades, because I think any book that gets people reading and actually talking about books has got to be a good thing on some level. If Gosling is cast as the main character, then there's at least a good chance that I'll actually go to see this movie!
Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife)
Whoever decided to cast Eric Bana in this role deserves to be hit with a crucio spell. Look, I am all up for some sweet eye candy but Bana was terrible as Henry - he was distinctly dispassionate, and actually looked a little constipated the entire time. Ryan Gosling would again have been perfect as Henry, or failing that, Leonardo DiCaprio. They both have the right mix of intensity and good looks, a winning formula!
Zachry (Cloud Atlas)
This movie isn't being released in New Zealand till January 2013 (boo, hiss), but given that it's one of my favourite novels of all time, I naturally had a strong vested interest in the cast. I did not see Zachry, who in the book is supposed to be a man in his mid to late 20s, as Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks! Fer the love of...anyway, I actually thought Garrett Hedlund would have been the perfect Zachry. Right age, good looking dude, and I can see him with mussed-up hair and tribal tattoos walking through a post-apocalyptic landscape.
Who are some of the actors you want to see cast in the roles of your favourite book characters?