Books & Review
Updated: Jul 06, 2012 05:20 PM EDT


 

Cast member Blake Lively arrives at the premiere of the film
Cast member Blake Lively arrives at the premiere of the film "Savages" in Los Angeles (Reuters)

 

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This weekend Oliver Stone's "Savages" hits theaters with rage as two drug dealers, played by Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson, try to get back their girlfriend whom they share, Blake Lively's "O (short for Ophelia)," from a kidnapping.

The movie also features John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, and Salma Hayek.

From the scenes of the movie, lookers might have not guessed that the highly violent film is based on acclaimed 2010 novel "Savages" written by Don Winslow.

CNN wrote, "The story follows two Laguna Beach-based best friends and entrepreneurial businessmen: Chon, a trained Navy SEAL and war vet, and Ben, an idealistic Berkeley grad with brilliance for botany. Winslow writes in his novel that the two developed a plant so dope it "could almost get up, walk around, find a lighter and fire itself up.'"

"When Ben and Chon's wealthy, slacker girlfriend O (short for Ophelia), is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel known for decapitating those who cross them, Ben's nonviolent stance is called into question."

In an interview with CNN, Winslow said that he wrote the book as if it was a screenplay already.

"I just wanted to write a book the way I heard it in my ears and saw it in my mind. If any given scene I saw it more as a film at that moment, I wrote it in screenplay form. If I heard it as poetry or saw it as a narrative, I wrote it that way."

While changes are always made when a book adapts to film, the author said that he wanted to make sure the characters stay the same.

"It was challenging, more kind of intellectually than any other way. ... One thing we all immediately agreed upon was we wanted to keep the characters consistent to the book. You knew a few of the story elements would have to change -- the core elements of the story are all there -- so I had to adjust a little bit."

Winslow also wrote "The Kings of Cool," the prequel novel to "Savages," which will tell the story of the same characters of "Savages" before they got into a drug war, according to KPCC's Madeleine Brand. It also talks about the development of the drug trade in Southern California.

"I wanted to tell an origins story. And I wanted to tell a story about families," Winslow told Brand. "When people are faced with a really hard choice between their biological families and their friends, sort of family that they've created on their own which is what happens in the "Kings of Cool", people have to choose. And that to me was a really attractive story."

"The Kings of Cool," a New York Times Bestseller, came out last month and will debut on the L.A. Times bestseller life this Sunday, according to L.A. Times.

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