Mudbound: From Book to Screen

The Book

Mudbound is Hillary Jordan’s debut novel, published in 2008. It won the Bellwether Prize for fiction, an award founded by author Barbara Kingsolver to promote literature of social justice and responsibility.

Mudbound Book Cover

The setting is WWII and its ending, as two American soldiers return from Europe to their families in Mississippi. One of them is Jamie, white, a flying ace whose co-pilot was shot dead right beside him in a fierce dogfight. The other, Ronsel, black, a decorated war hero who had fought in the tank battalion under General Patton. Both had experienced the war, seen the atrocity, now back home having to deal with the demons of the aftermath: for Jamie, traumatic shocks and survivor’s guilt; for Ronsel, another barbaric battlefront, racism in the Deep South.

Jamie comes back to a cotton farm owned by his older brother Henry McAllan and stays in the lean-to adjacent to the main house, itself but a shack with no running water or electricity. “Mudbound” is the proper name for it. When the rain pours and the wind blows, the mud drowns and pulls everything down, dirtying all from head to toe. A gloomy place to start anew as a farmer.

They weren’t all like that to start with. Henry has an engineering degree. Laura, Henry’s wife from Memphis, is also college educated. She learns of Henry’s intention to move to rural Mississippi and be a cotton farmer only weeks after her marriage. What’s worse, Henry’s obnoxious father, Pappy, will be coming to live with them.

Ronsel’s father Hap Jackson is the sharecropper working in the cotton fields owned by Henry. Fate brought the two families together. Hap and his wife Florence and all his children have been praying for Ronsel’s safe return from the war. Now their prayers are answered, but only pit Ronsel into another battlefront when he meets Jamie and the two strike up friendship, a despicable taboo.

Written in chapters that reveal the point of view of the various characters, the book is a sort of a literary ‘Rashomon’, how different people see the same event in their own light, or the lack of it. Such a writing structure evokes empathy as Jordan leads the reader to delve into the mind of the characters. And as the final climatic chapters come, we as readers get to know a crucial fact, an essential plot point we are privy to but which even other characters are not aware. We have Jordan to thank for such an insightful way to present the omniscient viewpoint in her storytelling.

The trajectory of the friendship between Jamie and Ronsel is tragically predictable. But what’s not predictable is Jordan’s incisive writing. Sometimes adding a short little phrase at the end of a sentence could make it speak much more. It’s writing like this that makes the book enjoyable despite its subject matter. Take this as an example, simple and subtle, but revealing effectively Laura’s inner turmoil after a tumultuous night:

“… I got up and checked on the children. They were sleeping, with an untroubled abandon I envied.”

Or this line to wrap up a climactic chapter. Such descriptions are perfect cues for nuanced  performance on screen:

“What we can’t speak, we say in silence.”

No spoiler here. But this is the kind of writing that conveys powerfully the emotions and events that sweep the reader up while allowing space to mull things over.


The Movie

The cinematography (Rachel Morrison) is the most distinguished feature from the beginning. As the title suggests, the colour palette is a spectrum of browns, reminiscence of the paintings of Jean Francois Millet’s farmers toiling in the fields, or this Van Gogh’s Potatoes Farmers:

VVG Farmers-Planting-Potatoes

But before the mud swallows up life, there is the colourful, urbane, Memphis party scene, or the courtship under golden leaves. The contrast is heartbreaking. Laura (Carey Mulligan), who seems to have no say about her life and fate, has to follow her husband Henry McAllan (Jason Clarke) from the city to move to a shack with no running water or electricity on a cotton field in rural Mississippi. Being a landowner is the sole ambition for him.

But of course, not just Laura, but everyone is drawn into the muddy swamp. Hap Jackson (Rob Morgan) is the sharecropper on the McAllan fields. His wife Florence–absorbing performance from “the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” Mary J. Blige–is soon asked to help Laura with caring for her two girls and household chores. The return of their son Ronsel (Jason Mitchell) and Henry’s younger brother Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) from Europe after the war will eventually link the two families down an inescapable path.

Turning the chapters of internal worlds into visuals on screen is a tall order. Director Dee Rees, who co-wrote the screenplay with Virgil Williams, had done an effective job by voiceovers, which is sometimes frowned upon as they could mean an easy-way out. But here, the voiceovers are intimate and personal. The few simple lines in the voice of the characters draw the viewers closer in. With Carey Mulligan, I admit I’m totally partial. Her alto voice is moving and poignant.

mudbound-movie-stills-4 (3)

Picking the right events from the book is crucial. Director Rees has followed closely to the plot lines using many of Jordan’s words, but also taken the liberty to switch around and combine them in the movie adaptation. Juxtaposing Ronsel and Jamie’s traumatic battle scenes with accidents and illness at home are effective and emotionally engaging; all have to fight their battles, big and small, at home or the frontline.

The most moving juxtaposition comes at the intense, climactic scene where the singing of a hymn replaces dialogues. It’s a juxtaposition of the visual with sound and silence. Jordan’s impressive line from the book is aptly adapted onto screen:

“What we can’t speak, we say in silence.”  Or here, in song.

The ending of the movie is altered, and I’m glad, for they who have suffered so much, so long, deserve a cathartic ending. This is a good example of a fine adaptation. It’s not a page by page transposition from book to screen, ‘faithful’ to the dot. But Rees has taken the liberty to unleash the dramatic, or maybe, melodramatic. It’s always cathartic to see love triumph after all. Mary J. Blige’s “Mighty River” is an appropriate wrap as the end credits roll.


~ ~ ~ ~ Ripples
Book and Movie

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 

Upcoming Books into Movies 2016 and Beyond

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.



Related Posts on Ripple Effects

The Glass Castle Book Review

The Dinner by Herman Koch: A Timely Read for Lent?

A Visit to The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Summer Home

Suite Française Movie Adaptation

The film is the long anticipated adaptation of Irène Némirovsky’s final work in progress before her death in 1942. Born in Ukraine, Némirovsky had moved to live in France since 1919. Before the Nazi occupation, she was a prominent literary figure in her adopted country, having published nine novels and a biography of Chekhov. The Nazi takeover sent her fleeing Paris. She was writing Suite Française in the village of Issy-l’Evêque where she was living with her husband and two young daughters when the French police arrested her for her Jewish descent and sent her to her demise in Auschwitz.

Suite Française was intended to be a literary composition in musical terms. Like a musical suite, the author had planned to write five pieces, but had only finished the first draft of two upon her death. The whole set when completed could have been an impressive eyewitness paralleled fiction, a historic testament reflecting the larger picture from the microlevel, a family, or, a woman and a man from different sides of the war falling in love.


Such is the story of “Dolce”, the second novella in her Suite on which the movie is based. Lucile Angellia (Michelle Williams) falls in love with a German officer staying in her house where she lives with her widowed mother-in-law (Kristin Scott Thomas), the most elegant estate in the village. Lucile’s own husband has been missing in war and now a likely prisoner. That makes falling in love with the enemy right in your own home even more conflicting. However, Williams fails to bring out such internal battles or even ambivalence; Schoenaerts fares better in expressing the conflicts.

The opening of the film captures vividly what Némirovsky described as the ‘German artillery thunders… its wailings fill the sky’. As viewers we see people carrying suitcases and personal belongings scurry or simply dive for cover and we hear the sudden, roaring thunders of bomb blasting the country road on which refugees from Paris flee like rats – and as the camera zooms away – insects. It’s this kind of cinematic moments that make films powerful. We read about the air raids in the book, we see and hear the actual effects in the theatre. With that regard, the voiceover narrative by Michelle Williams is redundant. Or, maybe it’s just a lazy way of storytelling.

With that dynamic start, the film falters in not sustaining such power, albeit it still has many beautiful shots; romance in its period setting, the movie is visually appealing. But the attractions between Lucile and the handsome German official, Lieutenant Bruno von Falk, played by the ubiquitous Matthias Schoenaerts, soon becomes the centrepiece.

Like his role as Gabriel Oak in Far From the Madding Crowd, here Schoenaerts portrays another man of few words. Compare the two roles, he is more convincing here with his German officer look, and yes, sitting at the piano, mesmerizing Lucile with his soft touch. No words needed when music lures.

If not interrupted by her feisty mother-in-law, Lucile would have dived into the pool of passion immediately. Thanks to Kristin Scott Thomas, who adds some realistic sparks into the dreamy world of wartime romance with the ‘wrong man’. Such episodes could make interesting exploration, but the film is overwhelmingly mellowdramatic and seems not intended to be deep or psychological.

When a farmer, Benoit Labarie (Sam Reily), kills a German officer, the plot thickens. And as a viewer, I’m thankful for that turn in the otherwise relatively uneventful story. Benoit’s wife Madeleine (Ruth Wilson) urged Lucile to help him out. And that she did, risking everyone in her household and ultimately leading to the moral dilemma of both herself and her enemy lover.

The prolific film composer Alexandre Desplat (The King’s Speech, 2010, among many other works) wrote the signature piece “Bruno’s Theme”. While romantic in its overall styling, it is punctuated with discords, could well be a reflection of Bruno’s inner state. The ending of the film shows us his resolve. When love and duty is in conflict, there can’t be any favourable resolve. But then again, the film does not go further into that.

Kristin Scott Thomas plays a pivotal role in balancing sense and passion in her household, and bringing out some worthwhile and lively performance for the production. My major objection regarding this talented veteran of cinema and the stage is that nearly all her movie roles in recent years present her in character twenty years older than she really is. Here, the first shot we see Madam Angellier is her white painted, over-made-up face as an old widow. That is one reason why her other work in 2014 My Old Lady is so refreshing, for we get to see her in a suitable age where she can still find love.

Regarding WWII Holocaust movies, it is unfortunate that films of this genre in recent years based on popular fiction or chronicling significant historical events are mere passable works, like The Monuments Men, or The Book Thief, Sarah’s Keyor the related film Woman in Gold. Seems like the epic war movie genre with its affective power to move has not re-emerged in the past decade, iconic films such as Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993), Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful (1997), and Polanski’s The Pianist (2002) have all but remain distant memories.

As for Suite Française the movie, it should not be seen as the adaptation of Némirovsky’s book called Suite Française, however unfinished. The movie is best taken as a rendition of a storyline in one of its pieces, and true to the title ‘Dolce’, sweetly laced with soft touches. Overall, despite its flaws, it is still a watchable film.

~ ~ 1/2 Ripples

This is my second entry to the Paris In July blogging event hosted by Tamara of Thyme for Tea.

Paris in July 2015 Icon


Other Related Reviews on Ripple Effects:

Sarah’s Key (2010): From Book into Movie

The Book Thief (2013): From Book to Film

Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

My Old Lady (2014)

Woman In Gold: Then and Now (2015)

The King’s Speech (2010)


Summer Reading for Future Viewing

NOTE: Just added Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Some updates on books into films or TV adaptations. Some I’ve read, some TBR.

Under The Dome copyUnder The Dome by Stephen King — Now a new TV series (CBS) produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, joining the trend of bypassing the big screen to opt for TV production. The future is now as the series has already started airing. First episode with 13.5 million viewers. Could this be a foretaste of the ‘implosion’ phenom Spielberg predicted, TV screen replacing the big screen?


outlanderOutlander by Diana Gabaldon — This wildly popular, NYT bestselling cross-genre series of novels (Sci-Fi/Romance/Historical/Adventure) will be adapted into a TV series. Again, TV is the emerging medium for literary adaptations. Versatile Gabaldon has multiple degrees in science and was a university professor before creating the Outlander book series. She’s also a comic script writer. Here’s her bio.


Winters-Tale-CoverWinter’s Tale by Mark Helprin — Sci-Fi is trending. This one will be on the big screen with some big names such as Will Smith, Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell. But if you are a fan of Downton Abbey, you’d be interested to know this is one of the reasons Lady Sybil met her tragic end. No hard feeling. I wish Jessica Brown Findlay all the best in her pursuit of big screen presence. Take a look at these photos.


The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman — Book published June 18, 2013, film rights of Gaiman’s new novel (this one for adults) about childhood memories had already been snatched up by Tom Hanks’ production company Playtone and director found. That’s Joe Wright who brought us the screen adaptation of Ian McEwan’s Atonement (2007) and the most recent version of Anna Karenina (2012). Have put a hold on the audiobook from the library.


In The Garden of BeastsIn the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson — Again, Tom Hanks had picked up the film rights and he will star in it. Before you say ‘Ha! Self-gratification’, I’d say he’s an apt choice to play William E. Dodd, America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Natalie Portman is on board as Dodd’s flirtatious zealous daughter Martha. Michel Hazanavicius, the Oscar-winning director of The Artist (2011), will helm. The book focuses on dry facts and livens up with Martha’s escapades. I can expect how the movie would use them as leverage. But I certainly hope not.


The Monuments MenThe Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel — A different perspective into Nazi atrocities. This time the victims are the art works in Europe. A special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture under Hitler’s order and for his private gains. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett star. Downton fans, Hugh Bonneville is also in. I’ve seen a doc based on Edsel’s other book The Rape of Europa, which is excellent. I eagerly await The Monuments Men.

Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James — BBC will produce this Austen’s Pride and Prejudice spin-off. Will it shift our devotion for Darcy from Colin Firth to Matthew Rhys? Not a chance. So why do it, especially when the book is overwhelmingly lackluster (there’s a new oxymoron for you). Lots of alterations will be needed for it to be put on screen. Here’s my take on the book.


AustenlandAustenland by Shannon Hale — Jane Austen spinoffs have to work extra hard to capture a wider audience, considering there are multitudes in the male population who avoid reading even the brilliant, original author Jane herself. Further, these imaginary sequels to P & P even have to woo female Austen purists. Kerri Russell stars, Stephenie Meyer produces. Maybe Meyer is ok with just reaching her own fans. If you’re not an Austen purist, here’s a beach read for you.


RebeccaRebecca by Daphne Du Maurier — Currently in development by Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks. Do you think the 1940 Hitchcock film needs a makeover? Who should replace Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine? A new adaptation means drawing attention once again to Du Maurier’s novel, attracting first time readers. Good choice for book group, especially when you can read, discuss and watch movie together after.


Far from the Madding CrowdFar From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy — Carey Mulligan’s next literary adaptation after The Great Gatsby. I’m glad she’s got this role, but, can she beat Julie Christie’s 1967 rendition of Bathsheba? The new version will be helmed by rising star director Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt). Belgium actor Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone) and Juno Temple (in talks) also on board. I can see that all these remakes of classic films of literary adaptations are geared at a new generation of viewers. And I say, it’s alright. Another movie version just may draw more attention to reading literature.

the-grapes-of-wrathThe Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck — Just as we speak, Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks is in talks with John Steinbeck’s estate to acquire the film rights, again, to remake another 1940 classic, this one with John Ford directing Henry Fonda. If the talk is successful, which I don’t doubt, who do you think should be in this new version? The book is on my TBR list with East of Eden, which also had plan for a new adaptation a few years back but since no more news had come out.



Upcoming Book to Movie Adaptations

Summer Viewing List

Can a movie adaptation ever be as good as the book?

My Review of:

The Artist

Atonement: Book Into Film

Anna Karenina: Book

Anna Karenina: Movie

Death Comes to Pemberley


Upcoming Books Into Films

Looking for book suggestions for yourself or your book group in the coming year? The following is a list of books being planned for a movie adaptation. Books turning into movies always generate a lot of debates and discussions.  Better still, read the book then watch the movie together… I’m sure more debates will ensue.

Hope the following list can furnish you or your group with some ideas. Do note that these titles are in various stages of development, meaning some may come out in the next year or two, some may take longer if they get started at all.  Click on titles (links) for more details.


1984 by George Orwell

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Adjustment Team (short story) by Philip K. Dick (Film: The Adjustment Bureau)

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn by Hergé

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (Daniel Radcliffe)

American Pastoral by Philip Roth

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Keira Knightly)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant (short story)

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio)

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Ivan the Fool by Leo Tolstoy

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

Middlemarch by George Eliot

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

One Day by David Nicholls

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Paradise Lost by John Milton

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (A new take: Jane Austen Handheld)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw (My Fair Lady, Carey Mulligan, Emma Thompson script)

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (A Latina spin: From Prada to Nada)

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Matt Damon, Keira Knightly)

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Tiger by John Vaillant

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré (Colin Firth)

Water for Elephant by Sara Gruen

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë


For a more updated list, click here to “More Upcoming Books Into Movies”.

If you know of any other titles, you are welcome to add to this list by leaving the info in the comment section.

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