One for the Money – More Romance Novels Should Be Movies

A few months ago I sat in a movie theater, behaving myself, until a One for the Money preview came on.  Katherine Heigl said, “They blew up my car!” in a Jersey accent, and I cheered.  Grandma Mazur shot the dinner turkey, Joe Morelli called Stephanie Plum “cupcake” – I laughed and shouted “Yesss!”

I understand it’s generally thought uncouth for a woman my age to publicly indulge in teenage behavior.  I was so excited, I didn’t care.

Excited, because Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is brilliant.  One for the Money sells over 75 million copies, and finally someone gets the idea to make it into a movie.  Duh.  The characters are endearing, the dialogue is hilarious, and the premise is simply awesome: Down-on-her-luck divorcée returns to her hometown and takes a job as a bounty hunter, and her old flame is the target.  Stephanie Plum screws up a lot, but she’s unflappable.  Joe Morelli handcuffs her to the shower rod – what’s not to love?

Sure, literary, suspense and YA fiction is adapted for the “big screen” all the time.  I’m wondering if romance novels are passed over by Hollywood.  I know we could debate whether or not One for the Money is technically a romance novel.  And yes, Nicholas Sparks’ books and angsty teenage vampire series are made into movies.  I’m not satisfied.

The enduring popularity of Jane Austen and Brontë adaptations should be a clue to producers that viewers crave a good love story.  Romance novelists are great storytellers, and with an annual average of $1.4 billion in sales, romance is by far the bestselling fiction genre.  Where is Hollywood, then?

Granted, not every bestselling romance is suitable for a screenplay, but the same could be said of books in every genre.  That’s the purpose of adaptation and editing.  I also admit a good deal of popular romance novels are too racy for me, and for the general viewership.  I’m not advocating “that kind of movie.”  Offhand I can think of a dozen romance novels which would appeal to broad audiences and could be well-adapted to screenplay, and so could you, I bet.

I’m talking about Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.  The beloved classic Mrs. Mike by Freedman.  Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.  Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie.  Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect.   I could go on . . . but why don’t you instead?

Romance readers: What favorite should get the next big movie deal?

Okay, critics – take me to the mat.  Go ahead and explain why I’m wrong about everything.  I can take it.

Comments

  1. i love rom/coms but now they seem to be getting more crude, less funny. maybe you’re right, they just need to focus more on filming the romance books…with humour.

  2. peggybird1112 says:

    Absolutely, there are a lot of romances I can imagine as movies–Cindy Gerard’s BOIs, Bella Andre’s Sullivan siblings series, Victoria Dahl’s Donovan Brother’s brewpub. But movies are made for 18-30 year old males, aren’t they? Sad.

    And not to quibble about “One for the Money” but they cast a blue-eyed Irishman as Morelli? Really? Did they read the book?

    • Peggy – Amen to all those. And yeah, if the name “Morelli” wasn’t a clue, the book could have told the producers it’s blue-collar Italian in Trenton NJ. I think they were only looking at pecs. hehe.

  3. LOL – they were only looking at the pecs…I kinda got lost on them, myself! I’d love to see Jayne Ann Krentz’s arcane series made in a movie or three…and Rachel Gibson’s Anything but Love..that would be a funny movie!

    • Kristina, You have great taste, as always. I can’t help but think your book “What a Texas Girl Wants” would be a fantastic movie. I’m chuckling, thinking about it.

  4. micahpersell says:

    I would commit all kinds of crimes to see a Kresley Cole book make it to film. Her heros are so sigh-worthy. Side note: remember Sleeping with the Enemy? It was made after a romance novel. It’s a great read!

    • Hi Micah! Thanks for visiting. A Kresley Cole movie would be intense. Probably too scary for me! You’re right – she is a master storyteller. I wonder who could play Nix, the crazy valkyrie.

  5. nikkielockeauthor says:

    I second Micah! All kinds of crimes! I LOVE Kresley Cole’s books. They would be hilarious!

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