Spoiler Warning: The following story contains spoilers for HBOs Lovecraft Land.
- The new series from HBO Lovecraft Land is based on the book of the same name by Matt Ruff, which was published in 2016.
- Showrunner Misha Green says Ruff’s book was “a wonderful starting point” for the series.
- Here are the biggest changes and points of comparison between HBOs Lovecraft Land and the novel by Matt Ruff.
At the author Matt Ruff’s pulpy, historical fiction / sci-fi / horror / fantasy genre bender of a novel Lovecraft Land was released in 201
And while the big names of Peele and Abrams were the headliners when the series was first announced, it’s Misha Green who is running the show. Green, a talented writer whose previous project was the underrated and critically acclaimed series Undergound, is Lovecraft LandShowrunner.
In a Q + A sent to the press by HBO, Green explained how she worked on it Underground when her agents suggested that she might want to adapt a book called Lovecraft Land. “I was blown away,” she said. “I thought, ‘I want to explore these characters and their journeys.’ I was also very interested in the idea of reclaiming genre space for those who were normally left out of it. I said, “I’m ready to turn this into an epic TV show.”
The idea of green running Lovecraft Land is an interesting one with a lot of potential. While Lovecraft Land The book was well received when it was published. It remains the story of a black family during the Jim Crow era, told by an author, Ruff, who is white. Green, a black woman, seems to find it better not only to inherit Ruff’s source material, but to adapt and expand it for the screen. Green added in HBO’s Q + A that she was essentially using Ruff’s book and characters as a “nice starting point” for the TV series.
“My strategy was to take all of your dope, cool stuff, and write new dope, cool stuff,” she said with a laugh. “There never was a feeling that we should plan that for later.” If you have 10 people in a room, you can always come up with new ideas. The goal was to deepen the characters and stories. “
On the whole, Lovecraft countryThe story remains the same, with the same overarching tentpole events (at least so far). But as with any customization, there are changes, some more significant than others – and almost always for the better, that benefit either the character or the story. Sometimes this comes from minor things like dialogue, character names and details, and sometimes from its main events, which can largely shift the plot in completely different directions.
We will keep updating this story after each new one Lovecraft Land Episode, but here are some notes and some of the biggest page-to-screen differences so far.
Perhaps small in the grand scheme of things, but it’s interesting to note how the characters adapted from the book to the HBO series have adapted their names. Atticus Turner in the book is now Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) on the series. Letitia Dandridge in the book is now Letitia Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) on the series.
A major change is to change the character from George Berry to George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance). In the book, George and Atticus’ father Montrose had different surnames and were therefore half-brothers. Everyone here has the same last name: Freeman.
Atticus Freeman and Letitia Lewis
Like the rest of the series, the series’ two main characters are perfectly cast. Majors plays Atticus as just the kind of nerd who’s been jacked up insanely and everyone can tell that this is the moment they come back from Florida, and his serious but not entirely shy persona is perfect for the character.
Additionally, Smollett is the perfect performer to play Letitita. Your sky-high self-confidence is expressed with every single line reading. There’s a touch of romance and flirtation between the two that never really comes through in the book, but the actors work well on it anyway.
Letitia’s sister is a professional singer and performer on the show, and the two of them sing on stage (and Atticus opens a fire hydrant) for a really fun moment at the beginning of the first episode. In the book, Ruby is more of an introvert and works from job to job every day. In one of the vignette-like chapters of the book, she works as a caterer and is ultimately unfairly dismissed from this job.
The book certainly contains monsters rooted in Atticus’ awareness of the shoggoths, a type of monster that stems from Lovecraft’s Cthulu myth, particularly his novella In the mountains of madness. Shoggoths were raised by an alien race called “Elder Things” and were originally intended to help them build a society, but eventually had an insurrection, and in the present the earth is ravaging chaos. They are typically depicted as amorphous blobs with particularly sharp teeth and tentacles. Atticus mentions Shoggoths in the first episode, after we previously saw him read a book by Lovecraft. The outsider and others in his uncle George’s office.
The first episode shows a kind of vampire hybrid monster that Atticus, Letitia and Gerorge encounter when they are harassed by the police. We don’t know if they’re specifically shoggoths or something else entirely, but they’re stupid / dog-like monsters covered with eyes and tentacles and big, sharp teeth. George’s favorite book is shown as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and they use this information to help them realize that the monsters they are dealing with have their own vampiric tendencies; A bitten sheriff turns himself into one of those vicious creatures and bites his colleague’s head off almost immediately.
Sheriff Eustace Hunt
The early parts of the book make it clear that there are two different types of villains and horror in this story: the human villains, racists like Sheriff Eustace Hunt (who has a slew of NAACP complaints against him) and the actual monsters. The show brings in the monsters much earlier, and the vampire hybrids save our heroes from their jam. In the book, Hunt is treated off-screen of anything that ends up in the forest, but here we see it with our own eyes: he is bitten by one of these creatures and eventually transforms into one before Letitita runs over him in the car.
As played by Emmy winner Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson)George is one of the most entertaining characters on the show, an expert on travel thanks to his work The Safe Negro travel guide. While he’s one of the best and warmest characters in the whole book, the show actually finds him with an elevated role (and if you have Courtney B. Vance to play him, why wouldn’t you?). He’s also a bit inept – we see him tending to his broken knees on the show, a trait Green added alongside the source material himself.
On the show, you can see that George (Vance) and Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) have a child, a daughter named Diana (often referred to as “D” on the show). Diana is a gender reassigned version of the character named Horace in the comic; Horace’s distinguishing feature is that he loves Comics and draws his own. We see Diana’s comics in the first episode.
Viewers only got a brief glimpse of Christina Braithwhite (Abbey Lee) in the first episode of Lovecraft Land (She is the mysterious woman who steps out of the silver limousine that Atticus sees on the street as she escapes the racist diner.) But her character is inherently different from its book counterpart, namely because the book’s character is instead called Caleb Braithwhite – a man. You will learn more about how this change is being handled in the coming weeks.
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