Books into Movies: 2019 and Beyond

Feeling the post-Oscar blues? How about turning to books, before they in turn are morphed into a movie? The following are some upcoming books being adapted into movies in various stages of development. Some are coming out soon, some just announced.

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

The movie adaptation starring Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgärd and Jason Clarke is coming out March 19, directed by Testament of Youth (2014) helmer James Kent. In recent years, WWII historical fiction has enjoyed a sensational growth in popularity, The Aftermath is another one of this highly sought after genre. The transfer to movies, while not always as effective, lacks no enthused followers. The Aftermath is set in 1946 Hamburg, a British family and a German widower and his daughter had to live under the same roof during a de-Nazification operation.

Cats: The Musical 

Based on T. S. Eliot’s collection of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats is hailed as one of the biggest hits in theatrical history on their website. Director Tom Hooper has another musical-turned-movie under his belt: Les Misérables (2012) which won 3 Oscars. Attractive cast in Cats the movie: Rebel Wilson, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, James Corden, Taylor Swift.

Death on the Nile & Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie

Kenneth Branagh will direct Wonder Woman Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer in Death on the Nile. Branagh will reprise his role of Hercule Poirot, after starring in and directing Murder on the Orient Express in 2017. Now over forty years after her death, Christie’s influence has not waned. A movie adaptation of Witness for the Prosecution has also been announced with Ben Affleck directing.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

John Crowley is no stranger to literary adaptations; his previous feature, Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn, was nominated for 3 Oscars. This time, Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winning The Goldfinch reads like it’s written readily for the camera, considering the eclectic characters and the explosive storylines. Sarah Paulson and Nicole Kidman star. Screenplay adapted by Peter Straughan, who was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for co-writing the 2012 script for John Le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2012).

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Larson’s 2011 non-fiction is a captivating look into the power and social structure of Berlin during the emergent years of Hitler’s rule. Focus is on the the true story of William Dodd, a mild-mannered Chicago professor who becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany. And this is relatively hot-off-the-press: English film director Joe Wright will helm the production (See also the last entry of this post). Tom Hanks was originally linked with the role of Dodd (and a good choice I think); whether he will carry it through or just remain as producer is to be seen. This is one movie I’ll definitely watch out for. Before then, the book is a great read to prep for it.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Geared for a Christmas release, this new version of Alcott’s classic is written and directed by Greta Gerwig. Gerwig is acclaimed for her take on the contemporary young woman, her psyche and struggles in films like Frances Ha (2012) and Lady Bird (2017). How will she approach Alcott’s novel of a bygone era? And if you still have Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Kursten Dunst and Christian Bale from the 1994 cast stamped in your mind, now try to imagine Florence Pugh, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Emma Watson, Meryl Streep and Laura Dern taking their places. Actually, not a bad replacement.

The Personal History of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

First off, I must say this is one of my all time favourite novels, but I’m no purist. While I welcome new representations and interpretation, I still hope the upcoming movie will be Dickens-approved. A most interesting (postmodern) cast: we have Dev Patel as Davie, Tilda Swinton as Betsey Trotwood, Hugh Laurie as Mr. Dick, Ben Whishaw as the ultimate villain Uriah Heep, Benedict Wong as Mr. Wickfield. Directed by Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin, 2017).

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 

In this remake of Rebecca, Armie Hammer will play Maxim de Winter. And who will be Mrs.? None other than Lily James, ubiquitous after Downton Abbey (Lady Rose). Do you think she will make one successful Mrs. de Winter? What I’m most interested in, however, is the production design, headed by 6-time Oscar nominee Sarah Greenwood, whose filmography includes Darkest Hour (2017), Anna Karenina (2012), and Atonement (2007) among many other titles. I think Manderley is in good hands. But will the whole production beat the classic Alfred Hitchcock noir with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine? And who can be more chilling than Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers?

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Another wildly popular genre in recent years along the line of Gone Girl and Woman on the Train etc. is the modern day thriller-cum-unreliable-narrator (and alas, they’re mostly women!) mystery novels. Finn’s (Now what’s with the writer whose real name is Daniel Mallory using a pseudonym close to Flynn, the Gone Girl author?) NYT bestseller is turned into a movie with a top-notch cast. (Aside: do writers nowadays write in preparation for a movie?) Directed by the much sought-after Joe Wright, who’d helmed Darkest Hour (2017), Anna Karenina (2012), Atonement (2007), and Pride and Prejudice (2005). Wright has a dream cast in his hands: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Juliane Moore. The movie adaptation is written by Pulitzer winner, playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts, who gave us August: Osage County.


Which one(s) of the above do you anticipate most? Others not on this list?



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 

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


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