Endless Love Author vs. Endless Love Movie


Scott Spencer, the award-winning novelist behind 1979 best-seller “Endless Love”, tells The Hollywood Reporter that audiences might be better off picking up a copy of his book than shelling out the dough for a ticket to Hollywood’s latest film adaptation of it.

According to Spencer, who loathes the 1981 film of “Endless Love” just as much (blasphemer! it’s an atrociously-awful gem!), Universal’s “Endless Love” – which was released this week, in time for Valentine’s Day – shares nothing in common with the source material.

I presume you have had the experience of having something you said repeated to a third party, attributed to you but mangled beyond recognition. I think it’s a common phenomenon, especially when relationships are unraveling – and one ends up sounding a bit hysterical as one insists, “But that’s not what I said! I never said that! I would NEVER EVER say that!”

This is why it’s a comfort to write down what you want to last.

Endless Love was botched – misquoted, as it were – once in 1981, when Franco Zeffirelli tried to make a movie out of it, and it seems as if it has been even more egregiously and ridiculously misunderstood in the movie Universal Pictures is releasing. (I gave up control of the movie rights to my novel in 1980.) I had brief contact with the first filmmakers who tried to adapt my novel, and I had no contact whatsoever with the second wave. But now I don’t really need to raise my voice and say, “No No, that’s not what I said.” I can take my cue from James M. Cain who, when asked what he thought about what Hollywood had done to his novels, said something to the effect, “They didn’t do anything to them; my books are right there on the shelf.”

God, I hope I’m not misquoting Cain, garbling his meaning as I adapt his words to my essay. Luckily, somewhere or other what he actually said is printed and bound, somewhere there is a permanent record. Just as there is a permanent record of what I was thinking when I took four years out of my life to write hundreds of pages about the consequences of a relationship between a seventeen year old boy and a fifteen year old girl.  My intentions are discoverable, word for word, in paperback, in ebook, or in hardcover –though hardcover copies will have to be obtained from used book dealers, which doesn’t do the author much good, so, if I were you, I’d think twice about that. Stick with the paperback or the ebook,  and you can quote me on that.

While my opinion amounts to a speck of Sovereign Hill-dust, having not read the book, I will say I’m quite fond of the original film (oh, you caught that already?) – I believed the relationship at the heart of the movie, found the performances credible (Brooke Shields, absolutely adorable too), and despite it’s cheesiness, found the tale rather gripping, plus who can forget the song? But the remake? Looks like it’s extracted all the dark elements of the story, that I feel made it stand out as something a little more meatier than the typical teen-romance movie, into something that’s squeaky clean and archetypical of the genre.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to listen to a song and curl up into a ball..