Fancasting British Literature: Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train

Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train tells the story of Rachel Watson (Jodie Whittaker), a divorced alcoholic who spends her time taking the train into and out of London. And on each of these commutes, the train passes by her former house where her ex-husband Tom (Jamie Dornan) lives with his new wife Anna (Rosamund Pike) and their newborn child.
In an attempt to smother her pain, she starts watching a couple who live a few houses down from her old one. Here, lives Megan (Sophie Rundle) and Scott Hipwell (James Norton). In her mind, she constructs a make-believe life for them about how they’re the perfect family. The family she always wanted to have with Tom.
But one day, as the train goes by the house, she sees something shocking. And the following day, she wakes up from her sleep, hungover, with the feeling that she did something bad in a drunken state, but she can’t remember what.
The news reports arrive saying Megan Hipwell is missing. Rachel dives head first into the case and tries to find out what happened to Megan. Where is she? And what did Rachel do on that night? The night she can’t remember.

Yes, I bet you’re thinking: didn’t they just make that film last year? Yes, they did, in Hollywood. I enjoyed the movie a lot much to popular opinion.
That said, it wouldn’t have hurt them to set it in Britain. In addition, I think the film felt a little rushed. Why tell a story in two hours when you can pace yourself over six? I always found stories like The Girl on the Train work better as miniseries / limited series, more or less told in the same style as Happy Valley, The Fall or Broadchurch.
Furthermore, the direction could have been more in line with the source material. The film heavily focused on the point of view of Rachel (Emily Blunt). But there are three POV characters in this book, there’s Anna and Megan as well, played by Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett in the Hollywood adaptation.
A TV show would better spread their screen time and allow the story to feel less rushed than the movie format. It seems everything is a TV show these days, and that’s because there’s no hurry with TV. And I can’t really argue with that.

My Cast

Main Characters

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Creator: Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley)

Writers: Sally Wainwright & Chris Chibnall (Broadchurch)

Series Director: Sally Wainwright

Musical Score: Keefus Ciancia (The Fall)

Cinematographer: Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation)

No. Seasons: One

Supporting Characters

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 No. Episodes: Six

Distribution: BBC Two (UK) & HBO (US)

Production: BBC Wales

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Running Time: 60 mins

Certificate: 18

Additional Characters

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From The Night Manager toThe Fall, the BBC have shown they know how produce great crime thrillers, and excellent character studies at that, often better than America and their mega budgets