You Oughta Be in Pictures

If you know me for more than, say, five minutes, you know that the only thing I like as much as reading is watching movies. So perhaps it’s no surprise that movies that feature books—specifically authors—hit the sweet spot in my entertainment Venn diagram.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of material.

I’ve waxed poetic (or perhaps prosaic?) about my love for Joan Wilder (yes, THE Joan Wilder) of Romancing the Stone. She both embodies and defies writerly tropes as she flirts with the dangers of missing deadlines, immerses herself in the fictional world of her characters and realizes that her potential for creativity isn’t limited to the page.

Then there are Stephen King’s writers, who get bonus points for occupying both page and screen. Jack Torrance of The Shining gives us a glimpse at the dark side of getting far faaaaaaaaaar away to finally finish that manuscript (insert joke about ghost writers and all-work-and-no-play here), while Misery’s Paul Sheldon illustrates the perils of messing with a beloved character’s trajectory. (Confession: part of me wishes for such a passionate #1 fan. Talk about commitment!)

I recently re-watched Stranger Than Fiction and flat-out adore Emma Thompson’s literary luminary, Karen Eiffel. Her chain-smoking moroseness and relentless writer’s block are things of beauty. Witness this quote:

Karen Eiffel: Excuse me, where are the dying people? Most of these people are sick or injured. Is there any way to see the people who aren’t going to get better? I’d like to see the dead-for-sure ones.

Head ER Nurse: I’m sorry, are you suffering from anything?

Karen Eiffel: Just writer’s block.

Karen, I get it. All in the name of research and advancing the plot, right?

Since I came of age in the 80s, I have a serious soft spot for Back to the Future’s George McFly who gives naysayers their comeuppance by not only getting the girl but also by authoring a novel. (Take THAT, Biff!) The scene where the family gathers around as he unboxes his books and talks about accomplishing anything you put your mind to? Chef’s kiss.

And who could forget Toby Flenderson from The Office? Not me. Okay, sure, it’s TV and not a movie, but I’m desperate to read his Chad Flenderman detective novels. In fact, I found a spiral notebook that sports a faux title from the series: A Murder for Framing. I’m seriously considering buying it.

Of course, this post would be woefully incomplete without a nod to Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote. Yes, yes, it’s TV again, but I mean, come ON. She’s the queen of cozy mystery authordom and simply had to make my list.

Are movie and TV depictions of authors’ lives realistic? Um, no. But that’s half the fun. Or maybe all of it. If someone memorialized the real me on celluloid (or whatever it is they use these days), it would likely involve lots of staring into space, using the delete key with too much force and foraging in my kitchen for snacks. I daresay a version featuring that other Kathleen (Turner, that is) would be a lot more interesting—with or without the crocodiles.

So how ‘bout you, friends? Do you have a favorite movie (or TV) author? If you were featured on-screen, who would you want to play you? Please share!

Photo by cottonbro on

33 thoughts on “You Oughta Be in Pictures

  1. Romancing the Stone is such a fun movie! While I love Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of the frustrated author in Sideways, my fave, Jake Sisko, is a little more obscure.

    Jake is the son of the lead character, Captain Benjamin Sisko, in Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Despite his father’s desire for Jake to follow in his footsteps and join Starfleet, Jake is unwavering in his desire to pursue a career as a writer. It makes for some great storytelling throughout the show.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Fantastic examples, JC! I’d forgotten about Giamatti’s character in Sideways. A fave! Love the Star Trek franchise, but have missed Deep Space Nine. (A sorrow for friends who are fans of the show.) Now I have more reasons to watch!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You’ve mentioned most of my favorites although they never seem to be doing much writing, do they? LOL

    Who would play me? Oh heavens. No idea. Whoever it is would look better that me, though. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Gonna give a shout-out to Jane Gloriana Villanueva in Jane the Virgin. Love the show (especially the fabulous narrator), and love Jane’s trajectory towards becoming a romance author.

    Great post, Kathy! And now I really have to go back and rewatch Romancing the Stone…

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Love it, Kathy! When I think of movie writers, I often think of the Nicholas Cage in Adaptation, which immediately gives me the creeps. Vote for most realistic: The 4 authors in the writers group in Authors Anonymous, who all become jealous when one of them gets published–and becomes famous. It got terrible reviews, but I was fascinated. I also loved the old TV show Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, but she was a newspaper columnist–and My World and Welcome to It, but he was a cartoonist (with a daughter my age named Lisa). It was the perceived lifestyle that drew me in, I guess. Who would play me? Oh, no doubt on that one. Drew Barrymore.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Drew Barrymore!! LOVE IT! She’s amazing and I could totally see that!

      I don’t know Adaptation but now am SUPER curious. Nic Cage can do creepy very well. I haven’t seen Please Don’t Eat the Daisies in aaaaaaages. Time to give it and My World another look-see. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen Authors Anonymous, either. My to-be-watched list is growing!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I really have to think about this because nothing comes to mind. But because we watch the ABC local news and for years, every time we turned on the TV a Castle rerun seemed to be on, my husband once said, “ABC stands for Always Broadcasting Castle!”

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Jessica Fletcher is the fantasy! She never seems to have writer’s block, just interruptions from her friends — wanting her to solve a murder! And she’s world-famous, but can ride her bike around Cabot Cove like an ordinary person!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. YES!!! Love movies about writers and writing and love this post!! ❤️

    My picks definitely overlap with yours (, which is not at all surprising because we are So Very HERE *gestures between foreheads.*

    I had totally forgotten about George McFly’s book moment…like when Sandy Frink arrives in a helicopter at Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion …not that he wrote a book but he still had That Moment.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Despite hating Woody Allen with every fiber of my being, I loved “Midnight in Paris” with Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, and the Fitzgeralds. I’m also a big fan of Stranger Than Fiction, Adaptation, and Castle.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Y’all have hit my favorites. Liz and Jennifer- you’re both nutz! You’re beautiful ladies, you don’t need to find an actor who looks better, you’re beauties! As for my actor playing me? Sandra Bullock, please. No, I don’t have a hot bod, but I do have a wicked sense of humor and need her playing me.

    Liked by 3 people

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