It’s not too surprising really to learn that some movies were originally books that were far different than their cinematic counterparts. Hollywood seems to have a knack for taking stories and then giving them just enough credit to avoid being sued, or changing them just enough so that they don’t have to mention them at all. It’s not a severe criticism of Hollywood that I’m after but more like a caveat to all those that think that their stories, novels, screenplays, and the like could possibly be good enough to gain the attention of someone that operates in the right circles. If, fingers crossed, your story does manage to be picked out and turned into something that’s put on film, the chances are pretty good that there will be a host of differences in the film that were not present in the original story. Vision Quest is a good example among many others.
The story of Vision Quest is pretty simple. Lowden wants to drop two weight classes in wrestling to take on the toughest rival in a competing high school. The problem with this is that cutting weight can do a lot of damage to a person’s body and mental state. He continues to strive for his goals while also falling in love with an older woman that has been taken in as a boarder by his father. Eventually it’s realized by the woman that she is somehow standing in Lowden’s way and she decides to move on, but not until she watches him wrestle and pin his rival.
The book and the movie don’t agree on some points, but on others they tend to flow quite nicely. Here are a few things they happen to diverge on however:
After suffering through a hysterectomy Lowden’s mother eventually leaves her father for another man in the book. Lowden still talks to her and stays on good terms with her. In the movie however he is extremely bitter about the divorce and won’t speak to her.
Carla, the boarder, has a much more detailed back story in the book, as it’s described how she lost her baby before moving away from Chicago and was loaned money by Lowden’s dad for minor surgery. In the movie there is absolutely nothing about these events and Lowden and his dad are just meeting her at the start of the film.
In the book Carla is happy with Lowden and they have a very loving relationship. In the movie she has every intent to leave once she’s ready and Lowden tries to force himself on her once, earning a fist in the face for his efforts.
Lowden’s frequent nosebleeds in the book are said to be due to injuries, and he’s had blood vessels cauterized a few times. In the movie his nosebleeds are from the excessive efforts he’s taking to cut weight. One thing the book and the movie do agree upon however is that he grows weaker throughout his training as he tries so desperately to drop in weight class.
There were just enough similarities to make this film worth the effort, but the book but butchered quite a bit.