When adapting a written medium (such as a novel or comic book) to an audio-visual one, a common difficulty is presenting what the character is thinking on-screen, as most fiction is presented from the perspective of a character involved with the story. There are some obvious methods of translating this:
A character narrates the film to interject their thoughts. This is the most common model, and it has several sub-types depending on who is narrating:
- The point of view character has an inner monologue represented by the character talking in real-time over the film, generally with some reverberation to indicate this (Dexter, Peep Show, Scrubs)
- The narrator is a character and the film is about the story they are telling to the audience and/or other characters within the film (How I Met Your Mother, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Stranger than Fiction)
- A character who appears in the film and may interact with the other characters in a minor way, but primarily addresses the audience and has knowledge of events that their character may not know. This is also called a Greek Chorus and examples include Dilios in 300, The Stranger in The Big Lebowski and The Criminologist in The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
This is probably the most common. All inner thoughts are skipped, or left up to the actors to portray. For example: Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and presumably every comic book which had thought bubbles.
Talking to an inanimate object
The author knows it's weird for a character to soliloquise to themselves, so they have the character talk to an object instead (a Surrogate Soliloquy). This is less common because it could be interpreted as the character being insane, and in these cases, that's what it indicates: Cast Away, Deadwood, I Am Legend.
But are there any other methods of including the characters thoughts in audiovisual media?