The following is a list of upcoming movies based on books. Their productions are at various stages of completion. Some are already screening at Film Festivals. I hope that they will be released to a larger audience. Some titles have just been announced, or the director, screenwriter, and / or cast just been named. I’ve selected the ones I’m interested in and want to see.
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The fantasy/science fiction classic by Madeleine L’Engle is not for children only. This 1963 Newbery Medal-winning YA fiction is a wonderful concoction of space adventure toying with interesting concepts such as “tesseract”, a fifth dimension traveling log mixed well with faith and love. And the movie adaptation? Disney’s got the rights for some time now. Latest news is Selma director Ava du Vernay will direct. The screenplay will be written by Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee.
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
The 2005 memoir by Jeanette Walls, more than seven years on the NYT Bestsellers List (according to Barnes and Noble) has also been on the back (or front) of filmmakers’ mind, with Jennifer Lawrence linked to the possible production. But now, we have a fresher Oscar winner replacing J. Law to star in this extraordinary memoir: Brie Larson. The 2016 Oscar Best Actress of Room will do justice to J. Walls’ unique story of growing up a nomad in America. Larson will re-unite with her Short Term 12 director Destin Cretton. Woody Harrelson also stars, so he must be the dreamer Dad of Walls’. It has been a long decade since the book came out. Let’s hope this adaptation would become a reality.
Love and Friendship by Jane Austen
This is the first time Jane Austen’s epistolary novella Lady Susan is adapted to the big screen. Published posthumously, the work had long been thought as ‘unfinished’, maybe due to its hasty ending. Would that pose a challenge to director Whit Stillman? Apparently not. The film premiered at Sundance FF this January to high acclaims. Kate Beckinsale is young widow Lady Susan Vernon (later Martin). Austen’s Emma Woodhouse is nowhere near Lady Susan on the scale of being despicable, if you ask me. Her manipulation isn’t limited to others but for her own ends in securing a husband and one for her daughter, might as well. The film is described as ‘supremely elegant’ by Variety. Now that’s a definite appeal as we’re all suffering from Downton withdrawal.
Certain Women by Maile Meloy
Thanks to the film Certain Women, now I’m aware of the writer Maile Meloy. Ripples from a fine movie production often lead me to the source material. Based on the short stories of Meloy’s, the adaptation tells the story of three women and boasts a high calibre cast with Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, and Laura Dern. It is helmed by Kelly Reichardt who had directed Michelle Williams in Wendy and Lucy (2008) to critical acclaims. This leads me to a keen interest in exploring Meloy’s works, which had garnered multiple literary awards including the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, shortlisted for the Orange Prize and included in the New York Times Notable Books. The film adaptation drew my attention in that it’s not based on one book but multiple short stories. It premiered at Sundance this January to critical acclaims.
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The book is Dutch writer Herman Koch’s sixth novel. It has sold over a million copies and translated into twenty-one languages.The setting takes place in an upscale restaurant with the story just over the course of a fancy dinner. But what is revealed by the conversations between two brothers and their wives could send chills down one’s spine and we soon find the background story and hidden thoughts unappetizing. The veneer of social grace can only last through the appetizer as we are led to the raw revealing by the main course and lashing out by dessert. Koch’s novel had been adapted into films in the past few years, first a Dutch and later an Italian production screened at TIFF. I’m glad to see the cast for the English adaptation, recently announced, is quite an appetizing mix with Richard Gere, Rebecca Hall, Steve Coogan, and Laura Linney.
The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
Movie stars are crossing the once thought to be a great divide, from the big screen to TV. In recent years, the line has been porous. Many have moved into TV productions to even more success, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Kate Winslet, James Spader, Matthew McConaughey, Kirsten Dunst; now Scarlett Johansson is diving in. Edith Wharton’s classic The Custom of the Country had inspire Julian Fellowes to write his successful screenplays. It has been announced that Wharton’s 1913 novel is to be turned into an 8-episode TV mini series, with Johansson in the staring role as the spoiled, flirting and ruthless Undine Spragg. Looks like it’s going to be one compatible match.
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