12 "Based On True Stories" That Hollywood Totally Changed

The truth, the whole truth, and anything but the truth.

Sony PicturesSony PicturesIf there's one thing Hollywood execs like more than franchises, it's cocaine. And if there's one thing they like more than cocaine, it's amazing true life stories. The safer the bet these days in tinsel town, the better - with the economy in the toilet, the Pirate Bay still sailing and Netflix into their profit margins, producers are more likely to make films that are either sequels, remakes, or adaptations from existing properties (you're as likely to find an exec in a Young Adult section of a bookstore as the Olive Garden). Then there are the ripped-from-the-headlines biopics and "non-fiction" stories that audiences will see so they can go "Wow, that really happened?" afterward. Which is a total fallacy, because it's rare that what transpires in these films is what really happened. Even a documentary isn't going to tell the whole truth, since there's a degree of editorialising and the filmmaker's agenda creeping into what they chose to film and what they choose to show the audience. With the straight-up biopics and the like there's any number of reasons for things getting changed: to fit things into a more cohesive narrative structure (life doesn't tend to do the whole three acts, save the cat thing), to edit out some bad parts, or to put more white people in it. These are twelve examples of "true stories" that Hollywood totally changed.

12. 21 Hides All Of The Asians

Columbia PicturesColumbia PicturesBased very, very loosely off the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, this 2008 gambling drama saw Kevin Spacey lead a group of wunderkind MIT students to Las Vegas to use their mad maths skillz to count cards during games of blackjack and win a lorra lorra money. On the way our leading man Jim Sturgess makes out with Kate "Who?" Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne's casino security chief gets wise to the kids' tricks and makes sure they don't leave the city of sin with their ill-gotten chips intact. Not a cinematic classic, but a bit of fluffy fun, like Scorsese's Casino if you could watch it with your parents and not feel icky. What really happened: It's not so much the events of the film that are changed from the events of real life, but who was doing them. Bringing Down The House brought its own controversies upon publication with regards to historical accuracy, with the principal player's names and some of their actions being changed. Which you can really blame 21 for following, since they were working from the book; so anything in the film that isn't so accurate is more Mezrich's bad. What we can totally lay at the door of the producers, however, is that the real MIT Blackjack Team were almost exclusively Asian-American, in 21 only two members of the group are - played by Aaron Yoo and Liza Lapira - who are relegated to supporting players. Whitewashing! Woo!

Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/