New Announcements of Books to Screen

Some exciting announcements of upcoming adaptations:

howards-end-by-e-m-forsterHowards End by E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster’s 1910 novel Howards End is to be adapted into a four-part TV miniseries produced by BBC and Starz, to be helmed by the Oscar nominated Manchester by the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan. Hayley Atwell plays Margaret Schlegel, Matthew Macfayden takes the role of Henry Wilcox, and Tracey Ullman is Aunt Juley Mund. I just can’t help but compare this new cast to that of the, shall I say, definitive 1992 Merchant Ivory production with Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anthony Hopkins and Vanessa Redgrave. Inimitable. Yet, I’m glad to hear of a rebirth of this brilliant E. M. Forster novel.


guernsey-literary-and-potato-peel-pie-societyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Anne Barrows and Maryanne Shaffer

At long last, the best-selling novel (2009) is finally adapted for the big screen, renamed Guernsey. Phew! While its popularity has subsided by now, I hope the movie will revive it, for it’s a delightful read and the characters are resilient residents on German occupied Guernsey Island during WWII. Written as a series of letters between a London writer Juliet Ashton and her friend and publisher Sydney Stark and later, with the charming Guernsey folks, the book exalts the power of reading, not potato peeling. How do you turn epistles into a movie? We’ll have to see. Downton Abbey‘s Lily James will play Juliet, after first Kate Winslet then Rosamund Pike dropped out. Hope this will go to completion. The director is Mike Newell, known for Great Expectations (2012), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), and perhaps the most memorable, Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).


the-child-in-timeThe Child in Time by Ian McEwan

At last something to look forward to after Downton. Ian McEwan’s Whitbread winning novel (1987) about the perpetual trauma of a lost child will be adapted into a 90 min. TV drama co-produced by BBC and Masterpiece. Benedict Cumberbatch to star. With the Sherlock series going down an erratic rather than rational path, I hope this one is a more grounded outlet for Benedict’s superb acting skills, like his Parade’s End (2013). This is his second time in a McEwan novel. Back in 2007, he played a supporting role in the Oscar nominated Atonement, relatively unknown, stressing on the ‘relatively’. And hats off to actors who can navigate freely between the big and small screen platforms.



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The Sea Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Glad to learn that Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long, The English Patient) is stepping out from her long acting career into the director’s chair, and acting too in this adaptation of English author Elizabeth Jane Howard’s novel. While I haven’t read any of Howard’s works, I’d seen the screenwriter Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s, and that’s her screenplay for the Oscar winning Polish film Ida (2013). I highly anticipate Lenkiewicz’s new work. Glad she’s collaborating with Scott Thomas in her directorial debut. Mark Strong is said to be in talks to join the project. Of course, my dream cast would be Colin Firth with Kristin Scott Thomas.




Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

According to director Jon Chu (Now You See Me 2), this will be “the first all-Asian cast feature from a Hollywood studio in a long, long time.” Umm… since Joy Luck Club (1993) that is. A risk or a good opportunity? Constance Wu (TV’s “Fresh Off the Boat”) is on board to play a major role. If you’ve not read the book, rest assure that with a title like this, it has got to be a satire, and not a get-rich-quick manual. Not that I’m crazy, nor rich, but reading Kwan’s imaginary yet true-to-life characters is an extravagantly wild ride. His astute and bold satire of modern day’s opulent Singaporean families (his own cultural background) is what Jane Austen would have loved to poke fun of if she found herself in a 21st century rich Asian home. But of course, just like the writing of our dear Jane of yesteryears, the heroine (Rachel in Kwan’s book) is your everyday middle class, highly educated yet modest gal growing up in (immigrant) America, finding (surprise!) that her boyfriend actually is Mr. Darcy incognito when she travels back with him to his family home in Singapore for the wedding of his best friend. I highly anticipate this one, but with great trepidations. They better make this work, or it could easily be a disaster of ethnic proportions.


Related Post on Ripple Effects:

Howard’s End by E. M. Forster
Ida’s Choice: Thoughts on Pawlikowski’s Ida
I’ve Loved You So Long movie review
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Book Review

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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.

22 thoughts on “New Announcements of Books to Screen”

  1. Well, all of these sound right up my alley. I’ve never read the Gurnsey book, believe it or not and I think I have to add it to the list. (For that matter, I haven’t read any of them and need to get on the stick). But all sound much more to my liking than a lot of the recent adaptations I can recall.

    Thanks for this list — it will be fun to watch as more details on casting become available.


    1. Jeanie,

      Before they come out, there’s plenty of time to read them all. I haven’t read The Child in Time and The Sea Change. The others are all good books. Sure hope the screenwriters will be inspired to do their job.


    1. Claire,

      It will be a challenge turning epistles into cinematic moments and then joining them all into congruent scenes. Let’s hope they’ll do a good job with it. Thanks for stopping by the Pond and throwing in your two pebbles. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was going to say no way for the Howard’s End adaptation but then I saw Hayley Atwell on the list and I do like her ever so much which means I will give it a chance though I don’t know how it could beat the Merchant Ivory version.


      1. I’m curious too! She’s currently in a crime/lawyer show called Conviction and her American accent cracks me up because it’s specific enough that I feel like I should be able to say New York or Midwest, but not specific enough so I can do that so it ends up sounding not quite right.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t imagine another cast doing justice to Howard’s End.
    Hadn’t heard of the Guernsey epistles, but it sounds terrific. You’ve got me rummaging through my library for the book…


  4. Lonergan doing Howard’s End – that will be a must after Manchester by the sea which was so nicely done. I did see the 1992 adaptation and remember enjoying it but that was a long time ago.

    I’ve read the first two books on your list. The Guernsey one was enjoyable I agree, and should make a good movie if handled well. I had no idea about the island’s war history.

    Someone was just asking me the other day whether I’ve read Elizabeth Jane Howard. I haven’t – and probably won’t in the near future – so, shock, horror, I may have to make do with a movie!


    1. Let’s hope Guernsey will go ahead. I like Lily James. Manchester is such a sad sad story. I hope Lonergan will keep EMF’s humour. Howards End the book actually is quite funny.


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