Page vs. Screen: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I have finally watched the movie adaptation of Gone Girl starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck and I’m utterly pleased with it, mostly because it followed the book rather closely. That’s not surprising at all since Gillian Flynn herself wrote the screenplay. But as you may very well know already, it’s still inevitable that some changes be made to fit the story in the alloted screentime of the film. So in this post, I have gone geek and listed eleven differences I have identified between the book and the film.

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS BOTH FROM THE BOOK AND THE FILM. Check out my spoiler-free book review of Gone Girl here.

  1. In the movie, Nick was talking to his twin sister Margo about how it’s their fifth year anniversary that day and how he will most probably be “forced marched as an oblivious and uncaring husband” AGAIN for not knowing the answers to the customary anniversary treasure hunt riddles/clues of Amy. Nick related last year’s riddle that said, “When your poor Amy has cold, this dessert must be sold.” Nick said that he never found out the answer to that riddle and Amy got pissed because of that.
    Sibling goals

    In the book, Nick was also talking to Margo abut how it’s their fifth anniversary and he has no plans laid out for the celebration yet. While Margo is suggesting a wager on how pissed Amy is going to be, Nick’s thoughts wander off to Amy’s first year anniversary treasure hunt riddles. Nick remembered only two out of the seven riddles Amy prepared and the riddle in the movie was not one of them.

    Although we all know by now that Amy’s diary in the book is unreliable, it’s interesting to note an entry about their first anniversary which related a riddle (maybe one of the seven Nick did not remember in the book?) that is closer to the one Nick mentioned in the movie:

    “Whenever my sweet husband gets a cold
    It is this dish that will soon be sold."
    Answer: tom yum soup from Thai Town on President Street

  2. I did not check the other riddles mentioned in the movie but I'm pretty sure the one that I identified was not the only one which was modified a little. So what I'm trying to say is, riddles in the book are slightly changed in the film.

  3. In the book, Carl Pelley, a retired drunk salesman who lives across the street was the person who called Nick at The Bar over the phone to inform him that the front door of his house was wide open. 
    Watchful Walt is watching you.

    In the movie, the neighbor accoss the street who called Nick was Watchful Walt. The change in name was maybe to emphasize that this person constantly reports things to Nick while he’s away at work. Also more catchy name than Carl Pelley.

  4. In the book, amateur cops Officers Velasquez and Riordan were the first to arrive on the scene after Nick reported his wife missing. The two officers then called in Detectives Boney and Gilpin when they saw that the scene of the crime was way above their rookie abilities.
    Detective Boney: Have you seen Amazing Amy?
    Cat: Meow.

    In the movie, these two amateur cops were understandably cut off from the story and Detectives Boney and Gilpin were the first to respond to Nick’s call.

  5. In the book, Nick was not present in Amazing Amy's book launch party. According to Amy’s diary, they met serendipitously again on a street in New York the day after the book launch when Amy was particularly feeling low from last night’s turn of events.

    In the movie, Nick was present in Amazing Amy’s book launch party. He was very supportive of Amy, protective of her when book bloggers/media people asked snarky questions and eventually proposed to her that night.

  6. In the book, both Amy’s parents were more friendly-looking, always seen comforting and cherishing each other. Both of them liked, supported and believed Nick at first although they withdrew their fancy of Nick during the latter part of the investigation.

    In the movie, Amy’s parents were not shown as hug-loving people as they were in the book. Amy’s mom in particular was made to be a stronger character than her book counterpart. She did not speak in the book in the press release of Amy’s missing case but she spoke in the movie. There was also this movie scene when he called out Nick’s demeanor as being too friendly and too fun-looking while his wife was still missing. She even called her a “godamn homecoming king”. I don’t remember any of this instance with Amy’s mom in the book. 

  7. In the book, Detective Gilpin accompanied Nick in the junior college he was teaching at to retrieve the second clue in Amy’s treasure hunt. Also, Detective Gilpin of the book was less judgmental of Nick.

    In the movie, Detective Boney accompanied Nick. I guess this is to make the underwear clue more awkward?

  8. In the book, Nick did not try to convince that annoying Shawna Kelley woman to delete their out-of-place photograph. Instead, he was just regretful that the photo was taken and was silently hating on her for "trying to get an ego stroke from the husband of a missing woman". After four days, they met again in the volunteer center with Shawna flirtatiously bringing him some frito pie which Nick dismissed and which offended Shawna.
    "Say chicken frito pie!"

    In the movie, Shawna Kelley was this touchy frito-pie offering woman who loves to take selfie with people and shares it to whomever she pleases. And then she got offended when Nick asked her to delete their photo. What I'm pointing out is that Nick's encounter with Shawna was cut-off from two to one. A very minimal change.

  9. In the book, the abandoned mall search party was conducted by Nick, Amy’s dad, Stucks Buckley (Nick’s old school pal) and the burly Hillsam brothers. They went there because they felt that the investigation by the police was insufficiently done. The police conducted their investigation during the day when they thought that the abandoned mall should be searched at night.

    In the movie, the search was conducted by Detectives Boney and Gilpin.

  10. In the movie, when Nick visited Desi Collings, he was outright antagonistic against Nick and he seemed to believe that Nick has something to do with Amy's disappearance.
    Not so legendary Desi with Avenging Amy

    In the book, when Nick went to Desi’s St. Louis mansion, he was weirdly nice because he thought that Nick was just trying to raise for a reward fund. Desi also asked Nick where Amy's dad was when the incident happened. It was later revealed that Amy lied to Desi that her father raped her and Desi was this guy who has a hero complex and has a deep need to rescue and protect Amy. Then Nick met Desi's mom whom he noticed as a woman with eerily the same features as Amy. Desi's mom seemed to be protective of her son and dismissed Nick saying that the next time Nick wants to talk to Desi, he should go through their lawyer. So Desi's outright hate towards Nick in the movie was maybe to compensate with the lack of Desi's mom's character in the film.

  11. In the movie, Nick’s high-powered lawyer,Tanner Bolt is portrayed by Tyler Perry. His gorgeous wife’s character was omitted in the film. 

    In the book, Tanner Bolt has a spray-tanned face so that means he was white in the book, right? His gorgeous six-foot tall black wife, former TV anchor turned lawyer, Betsy prepped Nick in his interview with prominent TV personality, Sharon Schieber. The gummy bear throwing of Tanner in the film was actually done by Betsy in the book so I guess in the film, they melded Tanner and Betsy’s character into one.

  12. In the movie, Nick’s drunken impromptu interview with writer and crime blogger, Rebecca was cut-off. The film focused only on mainstream media personalities such as Ellen Abbot and Sharon Schieber.

    In the book, when Nick has turned into a pariah because of all the piled-up evidence pointed at him as the suspect of Amy’s missing case plus the news of Amy’s pregnancy, this crime blogger, Rebecca recognized him at a bar and approached him and told him she’s on his side. Nick was hesitant at first but gave in when he realized that this was his chance to lure Amy back in and redeem his public image. Nick's interview turned viral, swayed the public opinion on his side and affected the hiding Amy when she saw it.

How about you, guys? Were you able to read the book and watch the film as well? Do you have anything to add in my differences between the book and the film list? Were you also pleased with the movie adaptation? What’s your favorite movie scene? Mine was when Amy was driving her getaway car on the day she went missing and throwing out all those fancy pen of hers through the window. It's like she is shedding snake skin there. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
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