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308 - Tess Gerritsen on Rizzoli & Isles

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Rizzoli & Isles - The TV Series

Speaker: (Tess Gerritsen was talking to Mark Worden):
Tess Gerritsen is the author of the "Rizzoli & Isles" novels, which have provided the basis for a successful television series. We asked her about the experience:
Tess Gerritsen (Standard American accent):
When I first wrote the Rizzoli & Isles series I had no idea it would ever become a television show, and, when it was finally filmed, I still didn’t believe it was going to be a television show. I flew out to Los Angeles to watch the filming and had a wonderful time and was very, very impressed, though, by how much work goes into just one scene of… of… of the story. Now, what impressed me also was the cast. Jane Rizzoli in the books is described as being a very ordinary, almost a homely girl, and what they have done is they have cast beautiful Angie Harmon in the part, who is a former model. So now Jane has been transformed into a beautiful woman and Maura Isles, who is considered dark and a little bit mysterious in the books, is now Sasha Alexander, who’s a lovely blonde. So there’s been that transformation. I’ve had to get used to that, but I’ve also had to… I have to say that it’s been fun watching the direction that the writers have taken the show in. They’ve made the books far funnier, in TV, the women now have a very close friendship from the very beginning, which was not there in the books, to begin with, and the stories are… are very quick, they’re wrapped up in 40 minutes. I have to say that I don’t think I could write for television and I don’t think I have the sense of humor that these TV writers have. So I hope that people will enjoy the books, but will watch the television show and understand they are two different interpretations. The point is these girls are my girls, and I was the one who created them!
 
And she had more examples of changes that had been made:
 
Tess Gerritsen (Standard American accent):
The first episode, the pilot episode, was based on my novel The Apprentice, and that was a pretty good, faithful translation onto the screen, but what has been interesting and a little bit strange is to watch all these other shows that have been made, based on the characters, but with their own… their own stories. They’ve changed a lot of characters, not just Jane and Maura. Now that the… Detective Barry Frost, who is described as a blond and very pale man, has been cast… they’ve put an African American in the role. They have included some of the secondary cast members, or the characters, who are still there; Jane’s mother, Detective Korsak. So that has been really amusing, to watch these people come to life. The other thing that’s been surprising is how much fan fiction is being written about these characters. On the internet you’ll find short stories written by people who are so taken by the characters they want to create their own stories. And we also have a whole legion of fans who want Jane and Maura to be lovers. So we have Lesbian fans, we have people who like the television show, and then there are people who still like the original Jane and Maura as they found them in the books. They’re all variations on a theme and, again, they’re still my girls!