Tim Burton has changed a central character from ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’

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Many of you have already noticed this, but the official verdict is in, and Tim Burton is making quite a large change to Emma’s character in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. In the original novel by Ransom Riggs, Jacob meets a young girl named Emma who introduces us to the world of Miss Peregrine and the “peculiars” through a time loop, and we find out her special ability is that she can control fire. However, in the film version (in which she’s portrayed by Ella Purnell), Emma’s special ability is weightlessness – she floats, and has to wear heavy shoes to keep her secured to the ground. The fire-control ability has been moved over to Olive, who you can see below wearing gloves to protect others from her red-hot hands. In the original novel, she’s the one who can levitate.

It’s important to remember that books and movies are separate entities and will always have some differences, so this is certainly not a horrible thing. The book will always be here for us to enjoy, and the film will be Tim Burton’s interpretation of the universe Ransom Riggs created! I’m assuming that the reason for the switch is that levitation is a very visual and cinematic superpower to have. While fire-control is cinematic as well, I feel like we see fire on screen in films quite a lot, and the protagonist pulling his love interest along with a rope is not something you see in movies everyday.

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You can see the superpower in action in a striking image of Jacob on the beach dragging along Emma by a rope, who is clearly floating high in the sky. Tim Burton has also mentioned Emma’s flotation ability in his blurb about working on the project, saying:

“When I was first approached to direct Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children I was given a summary of the novel with all of the photos in the book. I was immediately intrigued by the haunting and mysterious pictures in Ransom Rigg’s novel and knew I wanted to tell the story of those kids. A girl, lighter than air, a boy with bees living in his stomach, a woman who turned into a bird—it was a world I wanted to explore. So I made a film about them.”

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Ella Purnell, who plays Emma, and the author, Ransom Riggs, responded to the change and Miss Peregrine’s Peculiars on Instagram shared their responses on their account. See what they had to say, below:


What do you think about this change?

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8 Comments

  1. I really do think that the director should just read the book rather than just getting summery and photos out of it, there is so much amazing things in the book that just won’t be the same. I know, of course not all things can remain the same I mean there is going to be differences between the movie and the book. But as a reader of the book hope that they kind of stick to the theme / major situations of the book.

    If anything I kinda actually look forward to seeing the differences, kinda like a what if situation to see how things would’ve changed if they swapped powers I suppose.

  2. I just noticed this change today when looking at “Entertainment Weekly”, in which they had an article on the movie. This is one of my all-time favorite books, so, of course, I flipped to the page and read. I had known that Ella Purnell was going to play Emma in the film, but the picture of Ella Purnell had her in the air on a rope. This really confused me, and I thought that it was maybe just another scene of the movie. But when I saw her in the picture with her, Millard, the Twins, and Olive, she had shoes that were made of metal (the ones that Olive wears to keep her secure to the ground), instead of Olive. I can understand that he wanted to do things differently because lots of protagonist love interests in fantasy movies have an elemental power. I think it was smart of him to change it that way, but I don’t know how other fans of the book would feel about this change (and lots of people know that the books and movies are very different). I can’t wait to see how the movie looks on the big screen and I have literally been counting down the days until its release in September.

  3. I don’t like the MAJOR change of characters. It really sucks for I am an avid fan of the book. This thing just really made me disappointed. I understand if the movie will not portray the book content a hundred percent but changing the way we understand it? Oh my!!

    • I guess the idea is simple. if the movie portrayed the book itself. it will also summarized the full detail of the book. it goes with researching to its just that of course when you pitched a book into a movie a director /producer they don’t have enough time to read the whole thing. so writers gives summaries instead. when the director was intrigued with the the idea /concept (what ever you call it) then that’s the time the writer gives and full detail. and by standard. would you believe that Tim Burton would just create it without actually reading everything? I guess not

      so in my opinion. he changed the characters to make NON BOOK READERS (just movie goers) to read the actual book. its a simple marketing idea.

      MOVIE GOERS:

      IT WAS A VERY NICE FILM I LIKE THE LOVE STORY BETWEEN EMMA THE LEVITATION GIRL

      BOOK READER:

      IN THE BOOK it is ACTUALLY OLIVE that is LEVITATING and EMMA WAS THE FIRE GIRL

      MOVIE GOER:

      WHAT?! LEND ME THE BOOK. OR ILL BUY ONE!

      in such sense TIM BURTON does not want to get all the credit in such one experience in watching the film. he also wanted to let others read the book. which is another experience.

      how did i came up with this? cause I’M ONE OF THE MOVIE GOERS. after reading it I wanted to grab the book and read it. so no offense but this is just an opinion

  4. I have a feeling this movie won’t live up to a sequel. Probably there are people worldwide who have read the book and be very disappointed to the change. The ending includes a threat from on Emma’s fire power so in the movie the ending will probably be very different from what we know in the book. If they do make a sequel, then most of “hollow city” won’t even be in it, because in that book, Jacob and Emma’s love story relies on it…

    It may be a good movie, but seeing it has changed a lot of things (for example olive is supposed to be one of the youngest) I probably won’t want to watch it…

  5. WHAT!!! I cant believe that they would change something as major as Emma’s ability. Not only did they change that but they are changing a ton of the characters ages and appearances.

  6. This was the first movie I have ever walked out of. I completely sympathise that the movie cannot be exactly the same a the book, but the changes that were made were major changes to the characters and the story (not to mention some questionable acting at times). Even my boyfriend who has not read the books was itching to leave.

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