Book Adaptations To Look For In 2012 And Beyond Part 3

So, this is part three of our books to movies feature, which profiles upcoming film adaptations of novels. This entry mostly covers adaptations on the 2013/2014 horizon, but we do peg a few 2012 releases for those wondering what’s just around the corner.

The Graveyard Book (2014) – By far my favorite of Neil Gaiman’s works, The Graveyard Book, a mild homage to The Jungle Book, is the story of Nobody Owens, a boy who is raised in a graveyard by ghosts after his parents are killed. The film adaptation received some forward momentum this week when director Henry Selick signed on to helm the project. Selick, a stop-motion specialist who has worked with Gaiman before when he directed Coraline, seems like a perfect fit for this material with Coraline and A Nightmare Before Christmas under his belt. Reporting site io9 seems to think this adaptation will be an animated film, which makes sense with Selick’s background, but for some reason I always pictured this as a live-action movie. Looking forward to either take on the production.

The Giver (2014) – Actor Jeff Bridges is taking the proactive approach to nabbing a highly sought after role as he has optioned the rights to Lois Lowry’s Newberry Medal winning novel and is set to star as the elderly Giver. The story follows the character of Jonas, a young boy who lives in an apparent utopia until he begins to learn the dark lengths his society goes to maintain their “perfect” ways. This book has always stuck with me after reading it as a child, so it will be interesting to finally see this one come to life on the big screen.

The Jungle Book (2014) – Speaking of The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling’s classic will be seeing a live-action adaptation coming in the near future with Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves set to write and direct. While this won’t be the first-live action version of the Jungle Book, we certainly hope it improves upon the so-so 90s version and captures some of the feel good nature of the 60s Disney version. I predict its success will hinge on having a healthy ratio of swinging with monkeys to duets with bear scenes.

Catching Fire (November 22, 2013) – The second movie of the Hunger Games series recently lost its original helmer (Seabiscuit director Gary Ross), but quickly gained a replacement when Constantine director Francis Lawrence stepped in to fill his shoes. Lawrence may not have been at the top of everyone’s list (Alfonso Cuarón anyone?), but I’m certainly all for giving him a shot. Although I’m not a huge fan of the look of his I Am Legend adaptation, Constantine did have a pretty unique art style to it and he did cast Peter Stormare as the devil, so points for that.

The Book Thief (2014) – Marcus Zusak’s YA adult novel has found a director in Downton Abbey alum Brian Percival. Even though Downton Abbey is a show about stuffy rich people and their help and The Book Thief is a holocaust tale narrated by death, I’m sure Percival has the dramatic chops to make this work. The Book Thief, while heavy in subject matter, is probably one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. I have no idea if it will translate well on the big screen, but if it even flirts with being half as good as the novel, then it will truly be something to behold.

Divergent (2015) – Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA book, which was released during the influx of YA dystopian sci-fi that seemed to pop up after the success of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, follows the story of the young protagonist Beatrice Prior. The synopsis is as follows, “In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.”

Legend (2014) – Marie Lu’s dystopian novel Legend follows the story of June and Day, two kids born on opposing sides of a conflict. June, a prodigy being groomed for the Republic’s highest military positions and Day, the country’s most wanted criminal, must come together to discover the dark secrets their governments keep and why they seek to pit the two against each other.

Earthseed (2014) – Originally written in the 80s, Earthseed joins the glut of YA books being optioned as it was snapped up by Paramount Pictures and slated for a 2014 release. The story is about a group of children on a ship who must survive a series of tests to ensure the survival of the human race.

Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – Joss Whedon’s modern adaptation of the classic Shakespeare tale stars Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg and Amy Acker. Although there is no set release date, this still should hit theaters sometime this year. I guess Whedon decided against releasing it in the early half of 2012 as it would compete against his other two heavy hitters Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers. Footage and pictures from the film are finally emerging though.

50 Shades of Grey (2014) – 50 Shades of Grey is one of the hottest properties on the market right now as Universal Pictures has purchased the rights for a sum rumored to be somewhere around the $3 or $4 million range. The book, a steamy romance novel about people doing steamy romance novel things, has been selling like hot cakes since it came out, mostly bolstered by a word of mouth campaign from fans. It even has its own table at Barnes & Noble, so you know it’s big time (or was written by an overzealous B & N employee). I guess we’ll see if that same fan support can turn it into a box office success.

Alex Cross (October 26, 2012) – Based on James Patterson’s best selling Alex Cross mystery/thriller series, Tyler Perry will take over the role once occupied by Morgan Freeman and play the title character in the movie, which is based on the I, Alex Cross entry into the series. Although a release date has been set, let’s hope that the legal troubles that mired this production late last year have cleared.

Cloud Atlas (October 2012) – The Wachowski brothers and Tow Tykwer are teaming up for this film based on author David Mitchell’s book. The film will follow, “an epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution.” So, yeah… I don’t really know what that means, but when you put the Matrix directors together with the Run Lola Run director, you should at the very least come out with a visually stunning product.


Make sure to check out part 1 and 2 of this feature.

Book Adaptations To Look For In 2012 And Beyond Part 2

There are a number of upcoming book adaptations that didn’t get covered in the first part of the feature I did last week, so I thought I would try to highlight some that slipped through the cracks. A few of these are high profile books that have remained in development limbo for whatever reason, but we’ll include them in case they gain some steam and suddenly find themselves back in good standing with the studio/network that snapped them up.

The Gunslinger aka The Dark Tower Series (2013) – With Universal passing on the Ron Howard/Javier Bardem pitch for Stephen King’s fantasy epic, this one might be in development limbo for some time. Because truthfully, if you pass on something with Javier Bardem as the proposed star, this doesn’t bode well for the overall health of the project. I don’t really know how the pitch is going to get much better than having Javier Bardem play Roland. However, the good news is that HBO is slated to produce a Dark Tower mini-series that was originally intended to fill in the gaps between the movies/books. Hopefully some small screen attention will get its big screen counterpart back in the good graces of Universal and on its way back into production.

Ender’s Game (2013) – Despite author Orson Scott Card receiving heaps of negative attention regarding some of his personal views, this sci-fi classic remains a hot property. ‘Hugo’ star Asa Buttefield is set to star as Ender while Ben Kinsley has just recently joined the cast in an unknown role (possibly someone intense, angry or fatherly). Harrison Ford’s name is also floating around the casting rumor mill, but no official word if Han Solo will take to space one last time.

The Sparrow (2013) – This is still listed as a 2013 release, but the truth is that this production will probably never see the light of day. I know Brad Pitt has made it a labor of love to get this book on the big screen, but never in science fiction history have I encountered a story that has such an excruciating gut punch of an ending. It’s beautifully written, but I don’t know how people would react to seeing this story unfold on the big screen. Absolutely brutal.

Y The Last Man (2013) – With the small screen success of similarly paced graphic novel ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Y The Last Man’ may finally get that final push it needs to get made. This fan favorite has been stuck in limbo since director DJ Caruso waffled on officially getting production underway. His version was also rumored to star Shia LaBeouf as Y, which may explain its quick descent into limbo status. Hopefully this one will find its feet and its Y, since, you know, he is the last man alive.

The Snowman (2013) –  Martin Scorsese is in talks to direct the seventh book in Jo Nesbo‘s series about detective Harry Hole. This Scandinavian serial killer thriller is being hyped as the unofficial successor to Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ throne. ‘The Snowman’ is the story of, “A child who wakes up to find his mother has disappeared during the night. Outside, a snowman has appeared out of nowhere, the calling card of one of the most terrifying serial killers in recent fiction. A letter from the perpetrator draws Detective Hole further and further into the case, and together with his new partner, Katrine Bratt, he hunts the Snowman through twists and turns that become increasingly personal and may drive Hole to the brink of insanity.” Only time will tell what kind of splash this overseas bestseller will make when it reaches U.S. theaters.

Silence (2013) – Scorsese will take on Shusaku Endo’s novel before he tackles Nesbo’s ‘The Snowman’. ‘Silence’ follows the tale of two Jesuit priests that face persecution when they travel to Japan to spread Christianity. With Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro already onboard, this film does not sound like light popcorn fare.

The Bourne Legacy (August 3, 2012) – The fourth Bourne movie is supposedly a go next summer with Jeremy Renner taking over for Bourne staple Matt Damon. Author Eric Van Lusterbader penned this book after he inherited the series from Robert Ludlum when Ludlum passed away in 2001. No reports on what sort of household object/periodical Bourne may use to kill corrupt operatives with in this movie.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Killer (June 22, 2012) – The first of author Seth Grahame-Smith’s books set to be adapted by Hollywood, this satirical farce sheds light on President Lincoln’s fictional days as a vampire slayer and persecutor of their slave-owning helpers.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2013) – The second of Grahame-Smith’s adaptations is his re-imagining of Jane Austen’s classic, with added zombies. The production recently hemorrhaged writer/director Mike White, but still has Natalie Portman attached to it, which, as we know, has the power to get anything onto the big screen.

The Great Gatsby (December 25, 2012) – Baz Lurhman and Leonardo DiCapri reteam to take on this F. Scott Fitzgerald classic. Lurhman is expected to bring his bright and theatrical style, while DiCaprio will play the role of Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire will take on the role of Nick Carraway.

Life of Pi (December 21, 2012) – Tobey Maguire will also appear in the big screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. ‘Life of Pi’ is the story of Pi Patel, the son of a zookeeper, who finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Although it has been a few years since I read it and the synopsis sounds like a game of Jumanji that got out of hand, I remember it as a well written, spiritually charged story. Should be interesting to see if it works as a film narrative.

On The Road (2012) – This adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s thinly fictionalized autobiography of the same name will cover a work that is often credited with being the soul of the Beat movement. Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi and Terrence Howard will all star in this 2012 release.

One Shot (February 3, 2013) – Based off a book in Lee Child’s crime series, this story follows a homicide investigator who probes a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. What is most notable about this adaptation? German director Werner Herzog will star as one of the villains. Sold.

Robopocalypse (July 3, 2013) – Daniel H. Wilson’s Asimov inspired tale is set for theaters in Summer 2013 with Steven Spielberg committed to directing. The story follows bands of survivors as they try to survive the robot apocalypse after a sentient artificial intelligence system is unleashed on the world.

Now Wait For Last Year (2014) – Another of Philip K. Dick’s stories is finding its way into theaters with ‘Lord of the Rings’ producer Barrie M. Osborne signing on to produce this adapation of Dick’s 1966 book. ‘Now Wait For Last Year’ is about an alien species that teams up with humans in the future to combat an invading species that wishes to eradicate them both.

The Host (March 29, 2013) – Stepheine Meyer tests her post ‘Twilight’ legs when her alien invasion book ‘The Host’ comes to theaters in Spring 2013. ‘The Host’ is about an alien species called Souls, who invade and inhabit humans. I smell a really weird love triangle somewhere in this story.

Book Adaptations To Look For In 2012 And Beyond

This being the first year in quite some time that there is no Harry Potter installment (although I think there is an entry from the sparkling vampire franchise), it’s a free-for-all for new and exciting novels to throw their hat into the ring of being the next big thing on the silver screen. Whether it be for TV or packed cineplexes, fiction is being bought up at a fire sale rate and each one of them hopes to capture a new audience for their story. Although not all them will be ‘Harry Potters’, ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’, it will be exciting to see some new works of fiction come to life. These are just a few of the many adaptations headed to theaters/tv in the next year or so.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (December 21, 2011) – This technically falls under the late 2011 banner , but we’ll include it since it’s one of the heavy hitters. Director David Fincher (‘Fight Club’, ‘Zodiac’, ‘The Social Network’) will bring Stieg Larsson’s bestseller to theaters just in time for the Christmas season, making it probably the worst Christmas movie ever. Fincher’s adaptation will technically classify as a remake since the triology has already been covered by Swedish director Niels Arden Oplev and star Noomi Rapace, but Fincher’s take on the material looks like it will be worth checking out. Noomi Rapace was pretty amazing in the original, so it will be interesting to see how relative newcomer Rooney Mara matches up.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14, 2012) – Peter Jackson, who is responsible for at least 85% of New Zealand’s tourism and prosthetic Hobbit feet exports, hops back in the director chair to bring Tolkien’s classic to the big screen in two parts. Part 1, which will arrive Christmas 2012 in 3D, will operate as a slightly more appropriate Christmas movie than ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.’ At least ‘The Hobbit’ has some singing in it and doesn’t feature any scenes of forced branding.

The Hunger Games (March 23, 2012) – Arguably 2012’s most anticipated adaptation, the ‘Hunger Games’ will bring the first part of Suzanne Collins’ ‘Battle Royale’/’Lord of the Flies’ inspired YA trilogy to audiences on the big screen. ‘Seabiscuit’ director Gary Ross spurs his equestrian roots to try his hand in the saturated YA movie market. Expectations are high, but for every ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’, there have been ten ‘Percy Jacksons’ or ‘The Dark Is Risings.’ Much of this series success will hinge on its young cast members, but so far, first impressions look pretty good.

John Carter of Mars (March 9, 2012) – Disney is bringing Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ‘John Carter of Mars’ books to life, with ‘Friday Night Lights’ alum Taylor Kitsch playing the lead role. Burroughs is more famous for creating Tarzan, but Disney hopes to mine that same adventurous vein and cash in with box office success and the beginnings of a new franchise. Hard to tell from the trailer if this will be a worthwhile cinematic experience or not. Being a fan of Taylor Kitsch, I’ll probably give it a shot.

The Magicians (Fall 2012) – Lev Grossman’s fantasy series jumps to TV with high expectations. Some are already calling this the next possible ‘Game of Thrones.’ While it will be quite a challenge to live up to GOT’s billing, the real challenge will be trying to get the viewing public to watch a show about magicians. This is a magic trick even David Blaine couldn’t pull off.

World War Z (December 21, 2012) – Brad Pitt will star in the adaptation of Max Brook’s (Mel Brook’s son) zombie epic. While there has certainly been a glut of zombie fiction/movies lately, ‘World War Z’ still remains a fan favorite that people should be willing to make the trip out to theaters to watch.

The Corrections (Fall 2012) – HBO recently snapped up Jonathan Frazen’s bestseller to bolster their 2012 lineup. The word on the street is that Ewan McGregor might be added to the cast with other possibles Anthony Hopkins and Chris Cooper coming up in conversation too. I don’t know if this is the dysfunctional family to replace ‘The Sopranos’ for HBO, but it should add a solid new drama to their network.

Satori (2013) – Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to a planned series of films based on the Don Winslow’s ‘Satori,’ about a martial-arts-trained assassin. Not much is known other than that. If DiCaprio bails, this one most likely will not see the light of day.

The Devil In The White City  (2013) – DiCaprio again headlines another adaptation, this time its Erik Larson’s popular nonfiction tale about a serial killer at the 1893 World’s Fair. The rumor is that DiCaprio will play the serial killer, which will be a notable change of pace for him (other than ‘Shutter Island’).

Concrete Island (2013) – ‘The Machinist’ duo Christian Bale and director Brad Anderson reteam to bring J.G. Ballad’s book about a man who drives his sports car off the highway and is trapped on a concrete island below to theaters. The book is often called an urban version of Robinson Crusoe. Needless to say, a descent into madness is expected for the protagonist and Christian Bale is just the man to do it. This should be an interesting one to watch.

Be sure to check out part 2 of this feature.