The Round Table: Famous People As Book Characters

August 28, 2013 Round Table 11

As I read Veronica Roth’s Divergent last week, I got to thinking: do the book characters you imagine ever mirror real life actors, singers, athletes, or models? For example, I know a person who only pictures Matt Bomer in all the books she reads no matter what.

Most of the characters I read remain faceless. By that I mean, they aren’t based on anyone real (as far as I know). I have yet to picture a celebrity as Gideon Cross and my ideal Cross isn’t anyone people have suggested (ie: Henry Cavill, etc). Although there are times when I do picture a celebrity for a brief moment and it is just for that small moment in time and then it passes. For example, in a scene in Jessica Lemmon’s Tempting the Billionaire, when Shane is at the office and steps out to meet Crickitt, I pictured David Gandy from this photoshoot.

Like I said it was for a brief moment and then Shane went back to remaining faceless (by that I mean not having a famous face). When I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, I didn’t imagine Shailene Woodley, but for some odd reason her voice narrated the book. I blame the moment of casting of news and how it coincided with me starting to read it.

I know you are probably wondering why I began to think about this during Roth’s Divergent. It’s not because I imagined Theo James as Four because I didn’t, but rather I pictured Theo’s physique while Four’s face remained in the shadows. Part of this I believe has to do with Four’s age too. I mean he’s 18 years old in the books and oh my goodness…I feel like a perv lusting over him. Which is one reason I’m having fun with Theo as Four in the film because he’s legal and very close to my own age. And it makes it okay for me to go fangirl crazy over Four.

Yeah for the most part, okay 99.9% of the time I don’t picture anyone famous. Heck, I even change hair color to suit my needs. Eva in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series was never a blond to me. Mention a redheaded hero? He’s suddenly dark haired.

So do any of you imagine famous people as characters while you read? If so, do you have a particular person in mind for all the characters?

11 Responses to “The Round Table: Famous People As Book Characters”

  1. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I never picture celebrities. My characters get a vague appearance and I like to imagine what they look like based on descriptions (and I like to add certain things when I feel like it)

    Sometimes I like to think about it and try to come up with a celebrity that matches the face. I can’t think about Severus Snape without seeing Alan Rickman and I must say, he’s the perfect actor to portray him. When I saw him in the movie, everything felt right.
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    • Jessica

      For the most part, mine remain faceless. I do change physical descriptions as I see fit.

      It’s funny how some actors just make a role. I’ve seen images of actors the author wanted to play a role, but in the end they didn’t get it, etc and the one that WAS that character in the film just owns it.

  2. Charlotte

    Hala! I always do this, Jess. Not necessarily for all the books that I have read but there are a lot of times that whenever I read a book, I always associate this character to this and that actor/actress. Take for example Artemis Fowl, I always think of him as Logan Lerman. And then there’s Jace of TMI, I always picture him as Alex Pettyfer.

    And Siriur Black of HP, he’d always be a young Tom Cruise to me. So when I saw the movie, I felt that Gary Oldman was meh.

    For me, it’s hard not to associate these fictional characters to real life actors and actresses because I can’t really get myself absorbed to their world and make a connection with them. 😀
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    • Jessica

      There are a few times I picture an actor or when I’m trying to explain why I love a book character. For example, in Chelsea Cain’s Archie/Gretchen series, Archie to me has always been a young Aidan Quinn, but in reality I don’t picture him when I read the books. I just finished reading a novella and pictured Charlie Hunnam only because for weeks leading up to the release the author kept posting pictures of Hunnam because he inspired her character. In a reread of a book where this character appears for the first time, I didn’t picture Hunnam. I find that a bit strange! LOL

  3. Jenna

    I don’t think I’m very visual. Not only do I not picture celebrities, I usually don’t even picture anyone. I gloss over physical descriptions of the characters, so most of the time I don’t even know what color their hair is supposed to be.

    When a book is turned into a movie, though, I will get annoyed if the actor isn’t right for (how I see) the character. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you who I would cast instead, but I still know if the person who was cast is wrong (in my opinion, of course).
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    • Jessica

      I don’t gloss over descriptions, but I do change their look. For some odd reason everyone is dark haired and very few times do I picture a blond as one.

  4. Asti (A Bookish Heart)

    Nope! I don’t imagine any celebrities while reading. I’m actually not a very visual reader, so usually my images of the stories are little flashes. Like I’ll see a hand grabbing something or a scene or a flash of a person, but that’s it. Like, I couldn’t draw a picture of any character I’ve read and say whether it’s accurate to how the author described it, just because my brain never visualizes it while reading and so it’s always just sort of fuzzy for me. I feel like I’m a bit of a weird reader because of that >< I wish I had more of a like film going in my head while reading!
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    • Jessica

      That’s very interesting! I wish I was more visual person but I think it would spoil things for me. That’s why for the most part, they remain faceless, but at the same time I know WHAT they look like (if that makes any sense).

  5. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I don’t really picture famous people when I read a book. There is only one exception to this – and that is that ever since True Blood started airing, Alexander Skarsgard became Eric in my head. And that was actually pretty neat 😀

    More often than not, I don’t like movie adaptations (or TV shows) based on books I’ve read and loved, because the characters look so different in my head. Not like anyone I know, but like they are described in the books.

    Great discussion post 🙂
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    • Jessica

      It’s funny how an actor playing a book character’s role in an adaptation changes how you imagine them. I read the first Sookie book after seeing the first season and Ann Paquin’s voice narrated it! I too don’t like adaptations since things change or the actors don’t come close.

      I just read a novella and the author leading up to the release kept posting images of Charlie Hunnam because that’s who inspired her character. As I read I pictured him, but when I read the book he appears in prior to this release a few days ago I didn’t picture him.

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