From Tracie: Create Your Own Stories

Monday, December 03, 2012

Create Your Own Stories

I read last week that NBC is remaking The Sound of Music.
Carrie Underwood will be playing Maria von Trapp.

Do I need to give you a moment to go throw up?
Don't worry. I'll wait.

About the casting choice, head of NBC entertainment Robert Greenblatt said, "[Maria von Trapp] was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist."

I suppose he felt this movie must be remade, because Maria von Trapp has never been portrayed on film by an icon before.

Or because no one wants to take the time to write their own movies.

I'm leaning toward the second answer.

It is the same answer I came up with when I wondered why Lifetime was remaking Steel Magnolias (and we all know how that turned out - not good).

I understand that people really want to be a part of classic stories. But some movies are such classics, so iconic, that any remake will fail to live up to the standard created by the original. It would be better to find your own special thing to be a part of, than to spend your time and energy trying to recreate someone else's classic moment.

The retelling of classic stories is even more upsetting in books.
A couple of months ago I was in the grocery store, and they had a big box full of books on sale. I couldn't pass it by without looking through it. This is how I discovered a new version of Little Women.

Little Vampire Women by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina. That is actually how the author credit on the front of the book is written. As if Louisa May Alcott okayed Messina's turning the story inspired by her real sisters into a vampire book.

I would not say this book was written by Alcott and Messina. It was written by Alcott, and largely plagarized by Messina with a vampire twist thrown in for fun.

Alcott isn't the only author whose works have been ripped off, you can also read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Emma and the Vampires, Jane Slayre, Android Karenina, and a host of others.

It seems particularly poor taste to do this to Little Women when you think about Professor Bhaer encouraging Jo to stop writing sensationalized magazine stories. I have to wonder what the professor would think about this retelling.

Retelling other people's stories is not how you create something special.

If NBC wants to make a movie about a singing nun, they should hire someone to write a new singing nun story. If they want to focus on Maria von Trapp, they could write a movie more factually based on her autobiography (that would actually be very interesting to watch).

If Messina wants to write a vampire story, she should do that - with characters and a story that aren't already owned by someone else.

If you want to make something special, create your own stories and write your own words. This is what makes you a real writer, a real artist, a real creator, and gives you the chance to be a part of something special.

What do you think of Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp?
Have you read any of these classic book remakes?


  1. Carrie who? Certainly no "iconic star-power draw" for me there. Stupid. Just stupid. People should be more creative.

    1. Right? I don't understand the entire thought process behind this.

  2. "Retelling other people's stories is not how you create something special."

    I agree 100%! Oh my gosh... I just can't believe NBC is doing remaking The Sound Of Music. Before I read this post I thought I was pretty liberal with movies/stories being remade/retold... but this hits home for me and I really believe it shouldn't be touched at all. I shall boycott it for sure. Carrie Underwood? UGH.


    1. There are some things you just don't mess around with - The Sound of Music is one of them!

  3. I agree totally. The Sound of Music gets worse because Underwood has acknowledged that she's never had acting lessons.

    The world needs new stories!


    1. Ugh. That is just depressing. Why oh why do people try to turn singers into actresses? Stop the madness.

  4. I really don't like The Sound of Music but I agree with you about the need to write new stories.

    I find it disappointing to see us retracing the same steps over and over again because the studios are less willing to try something new.

    1. It is disappointing. We need some brave creators to push new things forward.

  5. Omg, omg, omg. I am hyperventilating. My entire childhood is wrapped around that movie. No freaking way. Boycott!

    1. Boycott for sure! We should all pull out our own copies of the original and watch them the night the new one airs.

  6. There are way too many remakes. I agree - we need new stories and leave the classics as-is. :)

  7. OMG can't they leave the classics alone? They're CLASSICS.