Book to Movie Adaptations 2020

A list of upcoming book to screen titles for the new year, eclectic choices for different tastes, varied classics and contemporary notables. Looks like classic literary works of all sorts are enjoying a comeback on the big and small screens.

Classic Suspense:

Classic Mystery.jpgDeath on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Kenneth Branagh returns after his first Hercule Poirot take in Murder on the Orient Express (2017) which he directs. Once again, the prolific screenwriter/adaptor Michael Green pitches in. Interesting cast with Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening.

RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Lily James is ubiquitous ever since she comes out of Downton as Lady Rose. Now she’s the young and naive Mrs. De Winter in a psychological warfare with her nemesis, housekeeper Mrs. Danver played by Kristen Scott Thomas. Can the master of Manderley save her? But of course, he must save himself first. That’s Armie Hammer, equally ubiquitous.

Classic Adventure:

The Call of the Wild.jpgThe Call of the Wild by Jack London

Harrison Ford heeds the call with action star Karen Gillan, Dan Stevens, and the Calgary-born, The Expanse star Cara Gee. Partially filmed in Yukon and some in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Never heard of the Yukon Territories? This should be a good intro. I’m all for old classics, be they books or actors.

DOCTOR D (1).jpegVoyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

Movie title Dolittle, an adventure spectacle with Robert Downey Jr. as the eponymous Doctor. See if you can identify the voices of these animals: Rami Malek, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Marion Cotillard, Octavia Spencer… just to name a few of the stars in this production. Coming out January 17.


Classic Sci-Fi’s:

The Invisible ManThe Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

Classic sci-fi gets a resurrected boost. Wells’ novella and cautionary tale was first published in 1897. Now 123 years later in the 21st century, it’s adapted into a movie for the big screen. The Handmaid’s Tale Elizabeth Moss stars.

Brave New WorldBrave New World by Aldous Huxley

Huxley’s dystopian, imagined future written in 1931 is adapted into a TV series almost 90 years later. Again, a mark of what makes a book a classic, especially a sci-fi work. Downton early-exit Lady Sybil Jessica Brown Findlay’s in.

DuneDune by Frank Herbert

Another sci-fi classic, but closer to our time. A project by the acclaimed French Canadian director Dennis Villeneuve who has done some remarkable works like the Oscar nominated Arrival (2016), Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and Sicario (2015). Adapted into screen by Oscar winning writer Eric Roth (Forest Gump, 1994; A Star is Born, 2018). Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, and Oscar Isaac star.

Classic YA’s: 

Artemis_Fowl_first_edition_coverArtemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

The first of Colfer’s popular series is a Disney production with Kenneth Branagh directing. A trending genre, the YA fantasy series has great potentials to be successful. A strong cast including Hong Chau, Judi Dench, Josh Gad.


The Secret Garden.jpgThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Like Little Women, this classic young reader novel has had several screen adaptations. I have no qualms about this; it only helps to spark renewed interest in the book. This new adaptation will have Colin Firth who was in the 1993 version to play Lord Archibald Craven and Julie Walters as Mrs. Medlock.

Contemporary Notables:

I Know this much is True.jpgI Know this much is True by Wally Lamb

Lamb’s novel about a twin brother’s advocacy and care for his paranoid schizophrenic sibling is adapted into a 6 episode TV miniseries. Mark Ruffalo will play both brothers, Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. Director Derek Cianfrance has a few fine works, the Cannes nominee Blue Valentine (2010), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), and The Light Between Oceans (2016).

Little Fires.jpgLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Goodreads Choice of the Year Best Fiction (2017) and Novel of the Year on other sites, Chinese American writer Celeste Ng’s novel on class/race differences and aspirational conflicts in the idyllic community of Shaker Heights, Ohio, is adapted into a TV miniseries. Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington star.

Nine Perfect StrangersNine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Moriarty’s website states her books had sold over 14 million copies worldwide. On the heels of her successful Big Little Lies turned into the small screen, Nine Perfect Strangers has already secured Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy on board for the miniseries on Hulu. Her other books will follow.

the woman in the window.jpgThe Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

A shaky narrator seeing a crime happening or being caught in one, Gone Girl was the first to kick off the trend. The Woman in the Window alludes to the Hitchcock classic Rear Window. Directed by Joe Wright (Darkest Hour, 2017; Anna Karenina, 2012), screenplay by Pulitzer winner Tracy Letts (August: Osage County, 2013), and an A-list cast with Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Julianne Moore.





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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.

23 thoughts on “Book to Movie Adaptations 2020”

    1. Stefanie,

      Yes, I think Branagh is quite convincing as Poirot; I too look forward to Death on the Nile, and Rebecca. Also, thought you might be interested in the sci-fi classics too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Silvia,

      Thanks for linking my post to your blog. These are only a few, I’ll post some more in the future. Yes, books are ready sources for filmmaking. Interesting to know your view on Little Fires, I quite like it. Just FYI, here’s my review of it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Several of these look interesting to me, who rarely watches movies even at home, much less in theaters ! but it was your blog that got me to the theater alone for my first time ever, with your review of “Roma.” And here you are again, giving me good reason to repeat that satisfying experience.

    I’ve never seen one film of “The Secret Garden,” but the book I have read and listened to several times now. I can see how a film might be an improvement on the book, which I love, all but one chapter. Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t mind seeing however many of the film versions there are, just to explore this question!

    Was there ever a film of Call of the Wild before? This one I’d love to see, mostly out of nostalgia for my youth when I read a few of Jack London’s books. The adaptations of Wells and Huxley also are appealing…

    Will 2020 be the year that I become the Moviegoer? Ha! I’ll have you to thank if that happens, Arti!


    1. Gretchen,

      Some of these are adapted as TV miniseries. If you’re subscribed to the streaming services, you can watch them at home. However, I’m so glad that you’ve ventured out to the theatres to watch movies. I believe the film medium is best viewed in the cinema, on the big screen. And if you do go out to the theatres now in the midst of the Awards Season (The Oscars will be held Feb. 9), you must see these two films which I’d given 4 Ripples, my Top Ripples for 2019 and for the past decade: Little Women and A Hidden Life. I think you’ll like them. Click on the titles to my reviews. And do come back to let me know what you think after. 🙂


    2. As for The Call of the Wild, there was a couple of TV movies years back. For the big screen, there’s one back in 1972 with Charlton Heston as John Thornton. That should be an interesting one. Now almost 48 years later we have Harrison Ford playing the role.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Arti,

    Thanks for the heads up, lots to look forward to, especially the TV miniseries Little Fires Everywhere, as the story takes place in my neck of the woods.



    1. Yinling,

      Surely the book is very specific on the setting, cause that’s Ng’s home while she was growing up as a teenager, as I understand. However, you’d wish the production would actually be right there in Shakers Heights, OH, right? I’m not sure if they’re actually shooting right there though. I don’t have that info, but sure interested to find out.


  3. I’d completely forgotten Gone Girl, but I enjoyed it, so The Woman in the Window goes on my list. I never would have thought of Jack London on the big screen (or even the little screen, for that matter) so that appeals, too. This is a great list all the way through, actually.


    1. You should be glad that the two films you mention will be on the big screen. I mean, watching The Call of the Wild on your iPad just doesn’t sound right. Both trailers are out now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am looking forward to the adaptation of Brave New World, and slightly sceptical of the remake of Rebecca (probably because I love the Olivier version!) – although Scott Thomas is a juicy proposition as Mrs Danvers.


  5. I was most interested in Rebecca and recognized one of the two “ubiquitous” actors you mentioned (had to look up A.Hammer). And I keep hearing good things about Little Women. Might make it before it leaves local theatres.


  6. I read this post with trepidation because so many films which have originated with books disappoint me. I think the only one which never has is Chocolat, which was a far better film than novel. My son dearly loved The Secret Garden, so maybe the new one holds promise. It, I can’t imagine Rebecca carrying the same weight as the book. It is good you are the film aficionado, not me. xo


    1. Bellezza,

      Books and movies are two different art forms and need to be appreciated likewise, one literary, the other visual/audio. Absolute faithfulness to the literary source should not be the measure of a good adaptation, rather, I feel, it’s the spirit, not the letter that’s more crucial, and how the filmmaker tells the story with the cinematic medium. As you know, I appreciate both art forms. Surely, there are misses, but there are also those that are worthy of their source materials. In another post I’ve made a list of them, dating back to 1946 with David Lean’s Great Expectations. And the most recent, in 2019, and nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture (Oscar Awards Feb. 9), is Little Women, an adaptation that you must see. My review here. 🙂


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