Books to the Big Screen

Here are a few Book to Movie Adaptations that I look forward to. Some are already in theatres, others will come later this year, poised for the Awards Season. Still others have just been announced or in the early stage of development.



Already arrived in theatres, acclaimed Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicario, 2015) first sci-fi feature that’s gaining buzz as this year’s award hopeful. Seems like every year we have one of those, like Gravity (2013), Interstellar (2014), and The Martian (2015). Alien arrival to planet Earth isn’t a new topic, but communicating with aliens in a cerebral, linguistic framework, with a female leading role is a first. Amy Adams plays linguist Dr. Louise Banks, moved to translate. What interests me most though is that the movie is based on a short story, “Story of Your Life” by the award-winning sci-fi writer Ted Chiang. From short story to the big screen will be a future post on Ripples soon. I’ve been reading quite a few to catch up.


Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals.jpgAmy Adams is on a roll. She has been in recent years. With five Oscar noms and yet to win, will this coming Awards Season end the drought? A movie based on a novel of a novel. Right, and that real novel is Austin Wright’s Tony and Susan. Exactly, probably that’s why director Tom Ford changed it to this current title for his movie. Amy Adams plays an art gallery director troubled by her ex-husband’s novel, which she thinks is a revenge tale on her. Intriguing storyline. Jake Gyllenhaal plays her ex. Director Tom Ford won the Grand Jury Prize at Venice Film Festival this year. Not bad considering this is only his second feature in directing. His first? He led Colin Firth to the actor’s first Oscar nom in A Single Man (2009).



silenceI’ve just reread this novel by Japanese writer Shûsaku Endô (1923-1996). This time it’s even more disturbing. In 17th C. Japan, a sadistic governor was determined to eradicate Christianity by turning devout Jesuits missionaries into apostates. His methods were ruthless and unimaginable, making waterboarding look like squirting with a water gun. Endô, a Catholic, had written a thought-provoking masterpiece, bringing out the unanswerable Question: Why is God silent in the midst of insufferable torments of his own? And now, the film adaptation by none other than Martin Scorsese, also a Catholic. I’ve a feeling that I need to gird myself for some tormenting scenes. But I just can’t resist that cast: Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver. Also, screenplay adaptation by Jay Cocks, two times Oscar nominee for his writing, The Age of Innocence (1993) adapted from Edith Wharton’s novel, and original script Gangs of New York (2002).


And now, to some announcements of future adaptations. Looks like F. Scott Fitzgerald is on a roll too. The Great Gatsby (2013) isn’t too distant a memory and now two upcoming features with prominent actors:



Zelda.jpgFilm is inspired by Nancy Milford’s bio of Zelda Fitzgerald, a finalist for the Pulitzer and National Book Award when it first came out in 1970. Please note it’s not Z by Therese Anne Fowler as I first thought. So I read the wrong book and now I need to find Milford’s Zelda. I want to, for I trust an acclaimed biographer to tell me the ‘true’ story. Zelda and F. Scott’s situation is such an intriguing scenario: Can a couple with the same professional pursuit still be a loving pair and not rivals? Especially in the Jazz Age, where men dominated all scenes and women were but ornate “flappers” in parties, and yes, even as muses. Jennifer Lawrence is Zelda, Ron Howard directing. Sounds like a promising production.


The Beautiful and the Damned

The Beautiful and the Damned.jpg

That’s the name of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald whose married life with Zelda isn’t too far off from the characters in the book. Whether the film is an adaptation of the book, or just use the book title as the film title to tell the real story of Scott and Zelda is yet to be seen. Either way, it is one tumultuous marriage amidst the glamour of the Jazz Age. The movie is said to be in development, not much else is announced  except that Zelda is going to be another A-lister: Scarlett Johansson. For those interested in reading the book first, you have lots of time to catch up on the lives of Scott and Zelda, as well as this book.




The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar.jpg


For her directorial debut, Kirsten Dunst has picked Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. I’d say, a challenging book to be adapted into film, albeit dramatic. Dakota Fanning will play Esther Greenwood, the coming-of-age story that leads her all the way to the border of madness. A heavy and difficult novel to handle as a directorial debut. But I’m sure Kirsten Dunst has her reason for picking Sylvia Plath’s famous work. Could this be the ripple effects of her experience starring in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia ? Patricia Arquette (Boyhood, 2014) co-stars.



Related Posts on Ripple Effects:

Boyhood: The Moment Seizes Us 

The Great Gatsby 

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

20 thoughts on “Books to the Big Screen”

    1. Debbie,

      As we head towards the Awards Season, more quality films will be released, hopefully to the local screens. Thanks for stopping by the Pond and throwing in your two pebbles. 🙂


  1. Arti.
    Sitting in a Washington DC historic B and B named the Chester A Arthur (after several days of absorbing the museums and monuments in one of my favorite cities in the world, before the unsettling takeover) — I’m reading your blogpost of exciting “books to movies” news to relax, and the casting sounds awesome. You are on top of things as always and I appreciate you! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather,

      I’ve enjoyed writing these posts. Receiving comments like yours here doubles the fun. Sounds like you’re having a great time touring DC. Enjoy the rest of your trip! 🙂


  2. Like your first commenter, I can’t imagine an adaptation of The Bell Jar. On the other hand, it may be only that I don’t want to imagine such an adaptation. Recent events have left me somewhat loathe engage with a depressing film — but it sounds as though I have plenty of time to recover.

    Now, Zelda’s story is something else. I didn’t realize Mitford had written a biography. I need to find that, and give it a read before the film comes out.


    1. Linda,

      This is Nancy Milford, the American biographer, not the British novelist Nancy Mitford. Her bio of Zelda is to explore if the scenario of a married couple pursuing the same professional success is sustainable. A most intriguing topic to pursue in a bio I think.


      1. See there? I read that paragraph more than once, and still didn’t get it right. Interesting, how we see what we expect to see. Thanks for the correction — it will make it easier to find the book!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. JoAnn,

      Yes, I’m looking into where I can find that Milford bio of Z. The Fowler novel is interesting though, and definitely had presented FSF in a very different light, shattering my previous impression of him, and Hemingway too, although The Paris Wife had done that somewhat.


  3. I am looking forward to seeing Arrival. Nocturnal Animals sounds good. And the Fitzgeralds are still popular as ever it seems. Will be interesting to see how Bell Jar translates to the big screen.


    1. Stefanie,

      These are only some of the titles I’ve collected so far. If you’re interested in British novels, here’s the latest news just come out this morning: Zadie Smith’s Swing Time is an upcoming TV production.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am REALLY looking forward to the two Fitzgerald-related books. None of the current ones (Maybe the Tom Ford) are particularly calling me, though Amy Adams is always good. As for the Bell Jar, it goes against my watching depressing things. Maybe it’s just harder this week — too many dead people, not to mention the election and post-election. I wasn’t one of those who crashed the Canadian website on election night — but I’ve looked at it more than once…


    1. Jeanie,

      When our neighbour hurts, we hurt too. I share your sentiments. This phenom calls for a Wabi Sabi response: Beauty has to be created, even more now, in the midst of expanding ugliness. Beauty in the social sphere, in human interactions, in the arts, books, and films. 😉


  5. For me, the books that most interest me – ‘Zelda’, ‘The Beautiful and the Damned’ and ‘The Bell Jar’ – could make worthy movies, but big names plus worthy titles do not a success make. I’ll be watching these closely!


    1. aubrey,

      You’re right. Big names don’t necessarily make good movies, but they sure can sell even mediocre productions. Without a ‘sellable’ named actor on board, those films may not even be made at all. Unfortunate I know.


  6. I’ve been put off Nocturnal Animals by some here who have seen it, but maybe we should try to fit it in. You reckon it will be in the Oscar hunt?

    Of course I’m interested in the Fitzgeralds, and The bell jar. It’s a long time since I read that. I’m not sure why people here can’t imagine it being adapted. Too interior perhaps? Anyhow, I guess we’ll find out.


    1. WG,

      Have been eagerly waiting for some highly anticipated films to arrive Arti’s Cowtown (1 million pop. but never one of those ‘selective cities’ showing limited releases of festival films) Nocturnal Animals hasn’t arrived. Not sure if Amy Adams might get a nom because this year there are many competitions. I’ve also collected a few more exciting adaptation announcements, will post some day. Right now, I’m trying to gather my thoughts to write a very disturbing book review of Shusaku Endo’s Silence which Martin Scorsese has adapted into film, coming out during Christmas week here in N. Am Hope you’ll have a chance to see it too. Again, your comments are most invigorating, WG. Thank you! 🙂


      1. You are always too generous about my comments Arti – but it keeps me coming back!! Nocturnal animals is here now but we usually only see one movie a week and its a consensus decision between 4 so it partly depends on the luck of the draw!


        1. Looks like your city is a much more major one than mine. So, do watch for these highly acclaimed films: Certain Women (dir. by Kelly Reichardt), La La Land (musical with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling), and Manchester by the Sea.


          1. Well we are the capital of Australia, albeit with only 400,000 people so only the 8th largest city in Australia. I think La La Land is coming soon, but I haven’t heard yet about the others but will keep an eye out.


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