2014 Book to Movie Adaptations

I’m sure without any more suggestions, you have plenty to read already. But just in case you’re one of those who likes to read the book before watching its movie adaptation, here’s a list to add to your 2014 reading:

A Most Wated ManA Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

The most recent John Le Carré novel to be adapted into a movie. He has eight so far. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdam, Robin Wright, Daniel Brühl star. Directed by Anton Corbijn whose last film was the thoughtful The American (2010), a film adaptation I found to be much better than the book. A Most Wanted Man is to be premiered at Sundance Film Festival, Jan. 16-26, 2014, in Park City, Utah.

The DoubleThe Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

A government clerk after seeing his own double–but a completely opposite personality from his introverted and unsure self–ultimately goes down a path of madness. Should be one captivating psychological thriller, but interestingly according to IMDb, it’s a comedy. Jesse Eisenberg stars (I can see the casting is spot on). At TIFF last year. To be screened at Sundance this January.

EVERY-SECRET-THING-199x300Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman

Acclaimed psychological thriller about missing children and their abductors now turned into suspense drama by director Amy Berg, known for her riveting documentary West of Memphis (2012) about the ‘West Memphis Three’. Adapted screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, who wrote and directed the recent, award winning indie film Enough Said (2013). Dakota Fanning, Diane Lane.


Far from the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene, screenplay adaptation by David Nicholls, who has written other classics adaptations such as Great Expectations (2012), Tess of the D’Urberville (2008). But my personal favourite of his works is the gem When Did You Last See Your Father? (2007) And if you’ve seen the intense Danish film The Hunt (just nom for an Oscar), you’d be curious to see its director Thomas Vinterberg at the helm of this latest Hardy adaptation.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A woman mysteriously disappears on the day of her wedding anniversary. A NYT bestseller, the thriller will be directed by David Fincher, two-time Oscar nominee for The Social Network (2010) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Ben Affleck, Roasmund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris star.


Hector and teh Search for HappinessHector and the Search For Happiness by François Lelord

Psychiatrist turned writer Lelord’s internationally popular book about a psychiatrist’s globe-trotting search for happiness. Sounds like a delightful read and an original movie idea. Intriguing cast includes Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Simon Pegg, Stellan Skarsgård. If I’m attracted by the cover to read the book, it will be this one.

Labor-DayLabour Day by Joyce Maynard

From the POV of a 13 year-old boy, how his labour day weekend changes his life as an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) asks him and his mother (Kate Winslet) for a temporarily shelter. Mother and son soon find that he could well be the husband and father they respectively need. But of course, there are twists and turns. Jason Reitman (Up In The Air, 2009) writes the screenplay and directs. Winslet got a Golden Globe nom for Best Actress for her role.

Life Itself A Memoir Book CoverLife Itself by Roger Ebert

Ebert’s memoir is adapted into a documentary by Steve James, whose film ‘Hoop Dreams’ was greatly supported by Ebert twenty years ago. Life Itself the book is an eyewitness history of film criticism in America, on top of a moving personal memoir. The doc will premiere in Sundance beginning today Jan. 16 – 26. Click here to read my personal encounter with the legend.

Madame BovaryMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

A quick jump for Mia Wasikowska from Jane Eyre to Emma Bovary. Of course, she’s also Alice in Wonderland, and a sequel of that will be coming out in 2016. Paul Giamatti co-stars. I’m delighted to see all these classics being adapted into modern movies, raising awareness for a new generation of readers. Let’s just hope the film does justice to the literary source.


The Monuments MenThe Monuments Men by Robert Edsel

I’ve mentioned this before. The true but untold story of how a group of rescuers called ‘The Monuments Men’ in war-torn Europe saved art and artifacts from the Nazi’s. In the introduction of the book, the author writes: “Hitler and the Nazis pulled off the ‘greatest theft in history’, seizing and transporting more than five million cultural objects to the Third Reich.” Star George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Hugh Bonneville (so Lord Grantham finally gets the chance to go into the battlefield).

The BibleNoah

Read the Bible. This epic adaptation is based on the Biblical account of Noah and the Great Flood. Helmed by Darren Aronofsky, Oscar nominee for Best Director for Black Swan (2010). Russell Crowe is Noah, and Anthony Hopkins is … uh… Methuselah. Others include Emma Watson, Logan Lerman (as Ham), Douglas Booth (Shem), Nick Nolte (?) Interesting postmodern interpretation I suspect.

Winter's TaleWinter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

All ye Downton Abbey and Lady Sybil fans, this is the first movie Jessica Brown Findlay made after Downton, with co-stars Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smth. Directed by Akiva Goldsman, Oscar winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for A Beautiful Mind (2001). The setting is interesting as it depicts the story from both the beginning and the end of the 20th C. Another time warp fantasy. Click here to the book’s webpage.


More titles mentioned by commenters (A sequel list will come at a later date):

Serena by Ron Rash (Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper)

Suite Français by Irène Némirovsky (Michelle Williams, Kristin Scott Thomas)

Son of God based on The Bible


The Book Thief (2013): From Book to Film

It’s been a week since I watched The Book Thief, but the face of Geoffrey Rush still creeps into my mind every now and then. We were talking about famous faces on a previous post. A good actor draws you right into his character without distractions from his previous roles, and here’s a good example. Regardless of Rush’s successful roles in the past, here in The Book Thief, I only see Hans, the nondescript yet loving step-father to Liesel.

The Book Thief

The movie is an adaptation of the popular 2005 YA novel of the same name by Markus Zusak. The book had appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list for 375 weeks. It had since been translated into more than forty languages. Congruent with the age target of the book, this is an appropriate adaptation. It is a PG movie, so we won’t see the violence and horror as intense and explicit as in Schindler’s List.

Before anyone jumps to shoot it down as a ‘sanitized’ version of the Holocaust, let me just say it pertains to the spirit of the novel in quietly depicting life in a small German town under the pressure of Nazi warmongering. It shows a side of the usual WWII movies we seldom see, the ordinary German folks. Zooming in on a street in a small town, it shows the effects of a fierce political regime have on its grass-root citizens: husbands and wives, children, friends, neighbors and acquaintances like the neighborhood tailor or accountant, some of whom suddenly taken away and labelled as the Enemy: Jews.

The focus of the story is on the humanity. No doubt, the majority of the town folks are swayed by and immersed in Nazi ideology, yet there are still a few who stand silently against the ferocious regime, but can do nothing. Even a feeble voice of dissent will send them to conscription regardless of age. That’s what happens to Hans.

As in the book, we have Death as the voice-over narrator, quietly looming over the fictional town Molching, busy at work. Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) arriving at her new home to her adopted parents on Heaven Street. Yes, ironic, since her little brother has died during the trip. The girl soon finds her new home a comfort, and makes a new friend with Rudy (Nico Liersch) next door. Her step-mother is Rosa, played by Emily Watson who reprises her role as in The War Horse as the seemingly tough and bossy wife and overseer of the home. Her husband is Hans, played by Geoffrey Rush with affective charisma, who shows himself from the beginning that he is the emotion powerhouse, the engine that runs the movie.

Directed by Brian Percival (who helms episodes of Downton Abbey), the movie is unabashedly explicit in its emotional channeling. By that, I don’t mean it’s overtly sentimental and melodramatic. The fine line that separates the two may be the word ‘restraint’. Rush and Watson have depicted this quality memorably. He may look oblivious in appearance, but is ever wise and compassionate in spirit; she conversely holds a feisty facade only to hide a tender and caring heart. It is a delight watching them relate to each other.

Liesel and Rudy 1

For a YA novel turned into film, the spotlight has to be on the young protagonist Liesel. Sophie Nélisse is a precocious rising star who has won a Genie in the acclaimed French Canadian film Monsieur Lazhar (2011). She has already won a Spotlight Award at the Hollywood Film Festival for The Book Thief. Nico Liersch playing Rudy looks to be a few years too young, but being a good actor, the two loyal friends ultimately shine through as the movie picks up its momentum.

The plot line of hiding the Jewish young man Max, son of Han’s wartime comrade to whom he owes his life, adds texture to the story. Max inspires Liesel to love words even more, igniting that spark in her later to write down her story. To Max, the hiding place is more than a shelter from the storm. It is his connection to the decency and dignity of being human. The snowball fight in his hideout in the basement is one of my favorite scenes.

As for books, reading, and words, looks like they just work as a cover, in both the book and the movie. That Liesel comes as an illiterate ten year-old in Germany may not be quite plausible. The few episodes where she steals a book are incidental, lacking potent effects. The movie nevertheless is persuasive in its subtle way by turning mere book characters into flesh and blood human beings. The Book Thief is about humans. It shows their ugly face that haunts even Death, and their triumphant side that makes Death envious, the power to love, to hope, and to live despite tragedy and loss.

This is not a great film, but one that quietly touches, and subversively moves one to tears. It will not make any major award list, and would likely be dismissed by some critics. But this is the kind of films that, years later, one would discover serendipitously and exclaim, “Why have I missed this little gem?”

~ ~ ~ Ripples

Read Some Possible Oscar Contenders

Emphasis on the ‘possible’. At this point of the race, some films have not been released other than screened in Film Festivals. The frontrunner so far is 12 Years A Slave. And then there are the rest, some long shots, some longer. But I’d like to include them on this list because I want to draw your attention to the books which inspire these film adaptations.

How come Gravity isn’t here? You ask. It’s a frontrunner too. Yes. But, ah… find me the book first. No book? Maybe because it’s much easier to pass you the 3D glasses.

Here’s a list of fall/winter reading to gear up for the upcoming Awards Season.

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

12 Years a Slave copyThe movie adaptation directed by Steve McQueen is TIFF13 People’s Choice Award winner. From past years, this accolade is a good predictor of Oscar wins. Based on the real life story of Solomon Northup, a free black man in Upstate New York who was kidnapped into slavery in Louisiana. For twelve years he suffered in the hands of several masters. First published in 1853, the book is Northup’s first-person accounts of slavery in 19th C. America, noteworthy for its historical value and poignancy. The actor Chiwetel Ejiofor a likely Oscar Best Actor nom for his role as Solomon Northup. You can download the whole book in its original form here.

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts

August Osage CountyThe play won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Members of a dysfunctional family inevitably come together after tragedy strikes. The stage production was described by the NYT as ‘a fraught, densely plotted saga of an Oklahoma clan in a state of near-apocalyptic meltdown’. Before you see how the A-list cast interpret their roles on screen, maybe reading the play is rewarding since you get to experience the story first hand before being influenced by Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor…

The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel

The Monuments MenI’ve mentioned this title in a previous post. Now I’ve got the book in my hands. The true but untold story of how a group of rescuers called the Monuments Men in war-torn Europe saved  art and artifacts from the Nazi’s. In the introduction of the book, the author writes: “Hitler and the Nazis pulled off the ‘greatest theft in history’, seizing and transporting more than five million cultural objects to the Third Reich.” George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Hugh Bonneville (so Lord Grantham finally gets the chance to go into the battlefield).

A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Philips

A Captain's Duty..Another likely contender that has been getting a lot of buzz is this thriller starring Tom Hanks, based on Captain Richard Phillips’ real life ordeal in the hands of Somali pirates. A lawsuit will begin in a few weeks filed by the crew of the ship Maersk Alabama against the shipping company for sending them to pirate-infested waters unprepared. They also claim the Captain was at fault in the case. Their attorneys had set up a Webpage to clarify the truths from the fiction. A turbulent epilogue to the real life adventure on high seas.

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith

The Lost Child of Philomena Lee copyJudi Dench could get a possible Best Actress Oscar nomination with her role as Philomena Lee. In her youth as an unwed mother, Philomena was sent to the convent of Roscrea, Limerick, her baby taken away and ‘sold’ to America for adoption. As she became an adult, Philomena was determined to search for her lost child. I missed this at TIFF13. Maybe an Oscar nomination for Dench could raise the prospect of it being screened in our theatres.


‘Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage’ by Alice Munro

Hateship-Friendship-Courtship-Loveship-Marriage-book-cover copyWith Alice Munro garnering the newest top honor as Nobel Laureate, hopefully the film adaption of this short story with a shorter title Hateship, Loveship will receive a wider release. It has been a long while since Away From Her (2006). The film receives positive feedbacks at TIFF13. A good cast with Kristen Wiig (Best Actress and Best Original Screenwriting Oscar noms for Bridesmaids), Guy Pearce (The King’s Speech), Hailee Seinfeld (True Grit), Nick Nolte (too many to name).

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber (Click on link to read the story online.)

The Secret Life of Walter MittyInteresting to see another film adaptation of a short story. This one I have a feeling that it’s very loosely based on Thurber’s character Walter Mitty, considering it’s a Ben Stiller movie. I’m sure many have read this story in school, time to reread just to get the Walter Mitty psyche, then go and check out the Ben Stiller ride. Other than Stiller, there are Kristen Wiig (again, in two short story film adaptations the same year), Sean Penn (can you imagine?), Shirley MacLaine.

The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

The Wolf of Wall Street copyCoincidence that Leonardo DiCaprio jumps from being Jay Gatsby to Jordan Belfort, the real life fraud on Wall Street, notorious for his highflying lifestyle and his operating a boiler room brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont. A multimillionaire at 26, he was later indicted in 1998 for securities fraud and money laundering but only served 22 months in federal prison. The Wolf of Wall Street is his unabashedly candid memoir. Martin Scorsese directs with DiCaprio touted as a likely contender in the Best Actor Oscar category.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief copyNo Oscar buzz around this one, but a look at the movie trailer, I know I want to see it. Yes, mainly because of Geoffrey Rush I admit. And also, Brian Percival… ring a bell? Director of Downton Abbey. The film will be released in November, a time slot where contenders are placed. So, you can say it’s a long, long shot for, who knows, maybe Geoffrey Rush, or Emily Watson? I admit I still haven’t read this very popular YA title. I’d like to do that before watching the film. Is this one on your movie viewing radar?


TIFF 2013: Books into Films

Have been in Toronto all week for the Toronto International Film Festival. Taken a lot of photos but these few I’m going to share with you first for Saturday Snapshot Sept. 14, for they are what Ripple Effects is all about: Books and Films.

Saw this sign in a major bookstore beside a TIFF screening venue:

Hey Hollywood

The movie is in the book.

Indeed, many of this year’s TIFF selections are based on literary sources.

Film Adaptations at TIFF 2013

Books to filmsFrom biographies to biopics:

Biographies into BiopicsIf you or your book group are starting a new season of reading, you may find some interesting titles in the following list of films screened at TIFF this year (click on link to the film adaptation):

12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Pulitzer Prize-winning play)

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

The Dinner by Herman Koch

The Double by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Double by Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago (Film: Enemy)

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro (Film: Hateship, Friendship)

Horns by Joe Hill

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin

Known and Unknown by Donald Rumsfeld (Film: The Unknown Known)

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Mary Queen of Scotland by Stefan Zweig (Film: Mary Queen of Scots)

The Railway Man by Eric Lomax

Salinger by David Shields and Shane Salemo

The Sea by John Banville

The Switch by Elmore Leonard (Film: Life of Crime)

Under the Skin by Michel Faber


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. Click here to see what others have posted.


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 Book to Movie Adaptations

2012 has been a great year for movie adaptations based on or loosely tied to books. Argo, Beast of the Southern Wild, Les Misérables, Anna Karenina, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook are all from adapted screenplays.

Now that the Award Season is behind us, time to move forward to see what some of the upcoming movie adaptations are in the works. The following is a list of films in various stages of development, with some scheduled to be released in 2013. Time to read or reread the books before your see the movies.


A Most Wanted Man 

A Most Wated Man

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in John le Carré’s thriller (2008) with a contemporary theme of international war on terror. Hopefully it will reprise the depth of the star-studded Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Robert Wright, Rachel McAdams, and Willem Dafoe are in.

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle in Time

After the success of LOTRNarnia, The Hobbit, some think it’s time to remake Madeleine L’Engle’s YA Sci-Fi classic A Wrinkle In Time. Disney it is, together with Bedrock with Jeff Stockwell (A Bridge to Terabithia, 2007) writing the script. Let’s hope it’s a production worthy of its literary source.

Before I Go To Sleep 

Before I Go to Sleep

Adapted from S. J. Watson’s popular and intriguing novel about a woman having bouts of amnesia every morning she wakes up. If your memory or enthusiasm needs a little prodding, here’s this cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong. Nobody can forget Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (TV 1995), but do you remember Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley in Emma (TV 1996)? Both were in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) and Mark Strong in the recent Zero Dark Thirty (2012). I can’t wait for this one. Will have to read the book first.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief

The popular and acclaimed YA book by Markus Zusak with setting in WWII Nazi Germany. YA or not, it’s been on the NYT Bestseller List for over 4 years. Interesting fact is, Downton Abbey director Brian Percival will helm the production, which will star Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech, 2010) and Emily Watson (Anna Karenina, 2012). The young Canadian actress Sophie Nélisse who’s brilliant in the Oscar nominated Monsieur Lazhar (Canadian entry for Best Foreign Language Film, 2011) will play young Liesel.

Devil’s Knot

Devil's Knot

Based on Mara Leveritt’s book Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Threethe true case of the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of three teenaged boys for eighteen years for the murder of three children in West Memphis, Arkansas. Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon star. Acclaimed Canadian director Atom Egoyan helms, with music score by the recent Oscar winning Canadian composer for Life of Pi Mychael Danna. Yes, sounds like an international joint effort. The film has a 2013 release date in the U.S.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Completed in 2012, but delayed its release until May 2013. Just as well, considering all the mighty rivals of last year’s movies. The trailer looks unsettling, and in 3D, I’m afraid the Baz Luhrmann version may focus on the loud and glitzy but ignore the true colours of Jay Gatsby. Of course, innocent until proven guilty. My eyes are peeled. Leo DiCaprio is Jay, Carey Mulligan Daisy, Isla Fisher Myrtle, Tobey Maguire Nick. Quite a cast.

The Invisible Woman

The Invisible Woman

Claire Tomalin’s account of Charles Dickens’ affair with the young writer Nelly Ternan will be brought to screen with script from Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) to be directed by Ralph Fiennes, who will play Dickens himself. To add to the rave, Kristin Scott Thomas is also on board. Felicity Jones will be playing Nelly Ternan. Fiennes never ceases to amaze us with his versatility, after directing Shakespeare’s Coriolanus in postmodern style, now comes Dickens.

The Piano Tuner

The Piano Tuner

It has been reported that the iconic German director Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 2010) is directing the movie adaptation of this 2002 book by Daniel Mason. Set in 1890’s Burma where the British Empire was having its glorious era, the chords of harmony and dissonance ring. Not a lot of info on it, but as I read a few book reviews, which are all careful not to reveal any spoilers, I can see this can be a colourful and thought-provoking cinematic offering in the hands of an auteur whose career has spanned half a century.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Don’t rant about Jane Austen’s novels being turned into just too many movies. Shakespeare probably holds the record. This time, a 21st C. version of Romeo and Juliet will be written by none other than Julian Fellowes, who has brought us the wildly and globally popular Downton Abbey, something Shakespeare just might approve. The new pair of star-crossed lovers? Douglas Booth (Great Expectations, TV 2011) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, 2010), with a cast of prominent US and British actors.

The Sea

The Sea

Irish writer John Banville adapts his own Booker-winning novel (2005) of the same title. Ciaran Hind (Persuasion, 1995) stars. Banville has also written the screenplay of the Oscar nominated movie Albert Kobbs with Glenn Close. I was planning to read The Sea last year for the Ireland Reading Challenge but later made another choice. Now knowing there will be a movie, I should get back to it.

Suite Française

Suite Française

The heart-wrenching novel by Irène Némirovsky with setting in German occupied WWII Paris. Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long, 2008) and Michelle Williams star with Rust and Bone actor Matthias Schoenaerts. Glad to know screen adaptation is written by the Oscar winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood, who has given us such memorable films like The Browning Version (1994), The Pianist (Oscar win 2002), Being Julia (2004), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Oscar nom, 2007), and the recent Dustin Hoffman directorial debut Quartet (2012). I’m reading this book together with the Bonhoeffer bio. Can’t wait to see the film.

The Taming of the Shrew

Taming of the Shrew

Yes, another Shakespeare’s play in the works. This one will be adapted by the screenwriter who has brought us The Iron Lady (2011), the movie Meryle Streep won an Oscar for playing Magaret Thatcher. Coincident? This time, the iron lady is Katharina, and she’ll be played by recent Oscar winner Anne Hathaway. From Fantine to the Shrew? She’ll need a lot of method acting and we’ll need a lot of forgetting to see her in that new role. As for Petruchio? Let me know who you think should be the one. No, I’m not the casting director, but I’ll put in a good word for you.


Do you know of any other literary titles to be adapted into films in the coming year? Let me know in a comment.

Thanks for your input, here are the titles some of you have added to my list:



Mr. Morgan’s Last Love

August: Osage County

Much Ado About Nothing


Great Film Expectations

For an updated list of 2012 premieres of film adaptations, CLICK HERE.

With written works from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games to Shakespeare’s Coriolanus materialized on the big screen, what else can we anticipate in this year and next?

Here’s an update of some upcoming film adaptations from literary works. Great choices for book groups too.

A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

On the heels of the acclaimed “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, this time, Philip Seymour Hoffman is the man. Directed by Anton Corbijn whose last film was the deep and thoughtful “The American, a film I found to be much better than the book.


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Finally, dates are set for the premiere: Sept. 7 in the UK, Nov. 9 in the US. I look forward to this one: Tom Stoppard screenplay, Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice) directs, Keira Knightly as Anna, Matthew MacFadyen Oblonzky, Jude Law Alexai, Aaron Johnson Count Vronsky, and Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) as Princess Myagkaya, plus many other British stars.


Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell 

Winner of multiple awards and shortlisted for a Booker in 2004, the apocalyptic novel is adapted by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and The Wachowski’s (Matrix’s). Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw (Bright Star), Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent. Here’s Susan Sarandon’s take on the production.


The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud 

Some big names affiliated with this project are Richard Gere, Eric Bana, Keira Knightly, Emma Thompson, Rachel McAdams. Director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) on board. But I can find no more news after this announcement, which is fine, gives me more time to get to the book first. It’s been on my TBR list for a few years now.


Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

To coincide with the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens and the Olympics in London, Mike Newell (Enchanted April, Four Weddings and a Funeral) directs, screenplay by David Nicholl (One Day, Tess of d’Urbervilles, When Did You Last See Your Father) who may be also writing the third Bridget Jones movie. Ralph Fiennes is Magwitch, Helena Bonham Carter Miss Havisham, Jeremy Irvine, Pip.


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

What will F. Scott think when he sees his masterpiece produced in 3D in the 21st Century? Woody: do give us a sequel to “Midnight In Paris” with your brilliant imagination. Australian director Bez Luhrmann is poised to bring us this new version of Gatsby in 3D, which I’m sure will stir up lots of discussions. It has already. But no matter how I dislike 3D (except Hugo), I want to see Leo DiCaprio play Jay G., Carey Mulligan, Daisy B., and Tobey Maguire, Nick C. Do Click Here to read a Guardian preview close to 3D.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Kenneth Branagh will direct Kate Winslet in this popular novel about the power of literature in desperate wartime. This is a reprise of their cooperation from 1996, when Branagh, as Hamlet, also directed Winslet as Ophelia. No dates have been set for its production or release, but something to keep in mind.


The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Coming out in three parts. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 2012, and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of  Smaug’ in Dec. 2013, and ‘The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ in July, 2014. Peter Jackson attempts to reprise his Rings Trilogy magic. Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom… the whole gang. Again, we’ll get to see beautiful New Zealand as setting.


The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin

Claire Tomalin’s account of Charles Dickens’ affair with the young writer Nelly Ternan will be brought to screen with script from Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) to be directed by Ralph Fiennes, who will play Dickens himself. To add to the rave, Kristin Scott Thomas is also on board. Felicity Jones will be playing Nelly Ternan. Fiennes never ceases to amaze us with his versatility, after directing Shakespeare’s Coriolanus in postmodern style.


Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Tom Hooper of “The King’s Speech” directs an all star cast in this musical offering. Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert (is he going to sing too?), Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway join in the chorus. Just too bad Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth are missing here. Release date for North America is Dec. 2012, which means it can be a contender in next Awards Season.


Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Director Ang Lee picked 17 year-old Suraj Sharma of Delhi, India, from 3,000 teenagers to play Pi Patel. Interesting that Tobey MacGuire will play Yann Martel, the author of the book which won the 2002 Man Booker Prize. The film to be shot in 3D has a December 2012 release date. Again, films opening in December usually have eye on the next Awards Season. Will keep our eyes peeled.


Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

The Booker of Bookers winning work will see its author Salman Rushdie team up with acclaimed Canadian director Deepa Mehta in the film adaptation. Mehta in a recent interview hinted it will debut either at the Venice or the Toronto Film Festival this fall. You can still join us for a slow Read-Along of Midnight’s Children before the film comes out.


Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier 

On the drawing board of Dreamwork and Working Title. Who can take the helm to reprise an adaptation made famous by Alfred Hitchcock, and actors to replace Sir Laurence Olivier as Mr. de Winter and Joan Fontaine as the new Mrs? Now, why does Carey Mulligan emerges in my mind… and Michael Fassbender


What Maisie Knew by Henry James

Looks like a good classic to read before seeing the movie. Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgård lead the cast. I’ve enjoyed previous Henry James adaptations of The Wings of the Dove, The Golden Bowl, and The Portrait of a Lady. Look forward to this one.


Books to be turned into TV series:

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

To be adapted into an HBO TV series with an all-star cast under the helm of Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale). Stars include Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans, Dianne Wiest, Chris Cooper and Greta Gerwig. But, will the author be involved in any of the writing?


A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Again, HBO has bought the rights to this one. The 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner is to be adapted into a half-hour TV series.



The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Yet again, it’s HBO that will be developing the novel into a TV drama series, another project by the “uber producer” Scott Rudin, who also oversees “The Corrections.”



What are some of  your most anticipated films or books in the coming year(s)?