What does this portend for the next big dystopian adaptation, The Maze Runner, based on the the book by James Dashner? Variety is already predicting that it will be a hit when it opens on Sept. 19. The book is currently #4 on USA Today‘s list, also its highest spot to date.
Meanwhile, one of the much-touted “grounded” Y.A. movies (translation: no expensive special effects required), If I Stay, had a solid beginning at the box office last weekend. It is also brought a major boost to book sales. It is #1 on the USA Today list, followed close behind by the sequel, Where She Went, at #6.
Amidst all this discussion of what works in adaptations and what doesn’t, the second trailer for another long-delayed YA adaptation, starring Bridges was just released. Seventh Son, opening in February, is based on The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, 2005). Set in the 1700′s, it co-stars Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin, “the most evil witch in the world” with Bridges as the mentor to a young apprentice played by Ben Barnes.
One of many editions of the classic, this one with an intro. by Neil Gaiman (RH Young Readers)
There’s been a few film adaptations of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 collection of stories, The Jungle Book over the years. Two new ones are in the works and are set to arrive in theaters within a year of each other.
The Disney version, scheduled for release Oct 15 next year, has most of the cast in place and is ready to begin production.
There’s been little news about the Warner Bros. version, titled Jungle Book: Origins, to be released on Oct 12, 2016, until now. The Hollywood Reporter announces the first cast member, Benedict Cumberbatch is in place, indicating that it is moving forward as well.
Cumberbatch will be the voice of the villain Shere Khan, a man-eating tiger. In the Disney version, directed by Jon Favreau, he is set to be voiced by Idris Elba. Entertainment Tonight has fun doing a face-off between the two, but you could go even further. How about a face-off with the gravelly malevolent voice of George Sanders (who was Shere Khan In Disney’s 1967 version) or with Bombay, the actual Bengal tiger in Disney’s 1994 live-action version?
UPDATE: A few hours after we finished this story, more cast members were announced for the Warner Bros. version, so now you can enjoy and even larger face-off.
About a 13-year boy, Conor, who is dealing with his mother’s death, bullying at school, and then a monster in his back yard, Ness wrote it based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who died before she could complete the project (read Ness’s tribute to her in a sample from OverDrive).
Ness, who wrote the screenplay, and illustrator Jim Kay went on to win Britain’s Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for the book.
Weaver will play the boy’s grandmother, Felicity Jones his mother and Liam Neeson, the monster. The crucial role of Conor has not been cast yet.
Gone Girl, which arrives in theaters on Oct 3, is the focus of Entertainment Weekly‘s Fall Movie Preview (full story only available by subscription).
But the other adaptation, Dark Places, with an A-list cast headed by Charlize Theron, is nowhere to be found in the issue.
Originally scheduled for Sept. 1, that date has since disappeared from IMDb (if you’re headed to Norway in November, however, you can catch it there). The release of the movie tie-in has also been postponed, so we have to assume the movie is being held as well.
Gone Girl director David Fincher upset fans earlier this year when he seemed to imply to Entertainment Weekly that the movie’s final act will different from the book’s. In the new issue, he claims the quote was taken out of context. When asked to clarify if anything has been changed, he says, “Everything and nothing … But at its core, it’s exactly what I think Gillian always intended” (see if you can make sense of the full quote here).
Jeff Bridges’s long road to his dream of adapting Lois Lowry’s seminal YA dystopian novel, The Giver (HMH, 1993; winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal) has finally become reality. The movie premiered this week, amid a massive amount of publicity, and opens in theaters tomorrow.
EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek, got to see an early screening and calls the movie “spectacular.” Joining her for the screening was Kate DiCamillo (two time Newbery winner and National Ambassador for Children’s Literature), who said,
“The Giver is a triumph for book-lovers and movie-goers. It is a movie that reminds us of the power of memory and books and stories and love. It shows us the privilege and the pain and joy of being alive, fully human.”
5th Wave – Maika Monroe to play Ringer — Based on Ricy Yancey’s The 5Th Wave, (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile, 2013), directed by J Blakeson, it stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Maika Monroe with Liev Schreiber in negotiations to play the villain. Scheduled for release 1/29/16
Mordecai — Trailer released – Based on Kyril Bonfiglioli’s darkly comic detective books, the Charlie Mortdecai series, (published in the U.S. as The Mortdecai Trilogy, Overlook, 1991), directed by David Koepp, it stars Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow, Olivia Munn and Paul Bettany. Film to be released, 2/6/2015
The Sound and the Fury – To debut at the Venice film festival next month, based on the 1929 classic by William Faulkner, it is directed by James Franco, and stars Franco, Seth Rogen, and Danny McBride (no, they’re not playing it as a comedy)
Both actress/producers seem to have developed a taste for domestic thrillers. Kidman stars in Before I Go to Sleep, opening Sept. 12, based on the novel by S.J. Watson (Harper, 2011). She’s also bought the rights to The Silent Wife, by A. S. A. Harrison (Penguin original trade pbk, 2013). Witherspoon is a producer for Gone Girl, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn (RH/Crown, 2012), which releases on Oct. 2
After several years in development, with multiple actresses announced for the lead (Natalie Portman — who is still attached as a producer — Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Mia Wasikowska and Rooney Mara), the adaptation of the godmother of the mashup genre, Pride Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (Quirk Books, 2009) is set to begin filming in September, with Lily James as Elizabeth Bennett, Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy and Bella Heathcote as Elizabeth’s sister. The box office disaster of that other mashup adaptation, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, put the studios off for a while, but now it seems that the success of various zombie vehicles have made them forget all that.
Below are some other book-to-movie projects that are getting new life:
Joe Hill, Horns, (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2010) — U.S. release date of 10/31/2014 finally announced (it hit theaters in the U.K. last year), sending the book up Amazon’s sales ranking.
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, (1871) — titled Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, the sequel to the 2010 live-action Alice in Wonderland, is currently filming and scheduled for release on 5/27/2016, with returning cast, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh, as well as new actors, Sacha Baron Cohen as Time, Rhys Ifans as the Mad Hatter’s father and Ed Speelers as James Harcourt.
For more on upcoming adaptations, check our spreadsheet, EarlyWord, Books to Movies (download and sort by date for the latest stories).
The 1963 Newbery Award winner, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle (Macmillan/FSG BYR) is set for a new adaptation. Disney just announced that Jennifer Lee who wrote and co-directed the animated mega-hit, Frozen, will write the adaptation.
She replied, “Yes, I expected it to be bad, and it is.”
The interview was conducted when L’Engle was 85, and therefore felt she could “say what I want” and she did, letting loose on fundamentalists and saying of the Harry Potter series, “I read one of them. It’s a nice story but there’s nothing underneath it.”
Alicia Vikander stars as Brittain in the film which is scheduled to open in January in the U.K. (the U.S. date has not yet been set).
Book-to-movie fans will be seeing a lot of Vikander, a Swedish actress, in the future. She has a supporting role in the upcoming Seventh Son (opening Feb. 6, based on Joseph, Delaney’s Revenge of the Witch), stars in Tulip Fever (based on the book by Deborah Moggach, currently filming), and has signed to star in The Light Between Oceans (based on the 2012 best seller by M.L. Stedman), as well as The Danish Girl, (based on the 2002 book by David Ebershoff),
Co-starring is Kit Harington (the heart-throb from Game of Thrones, he will also appear with Vikander in Seventh Son) as Brittain’s fiancé, who dies in the war).
The unexpected success of the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars (unexpected by Hollywood, that is. Librarians saw it coming) has turned producers’ heads to “grounded teen movies,” or “stories that resemble the modern young adult experience.” The real attraction, however, is probably economic, since these films don’t require expensive special effects.
Nevertheless, dystopia will continue to reign in theaters and not just via the sequels to already established hits, The Hunger Games and Divergent. Coming August 15 is the long-awaited adaptation of the godmother of the genre, The Giver, Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal-winning novel (Lowry talks about how Y.A. literature has changed since she first published the book in today’s NYT Magazine). Twenty years after her book was first published, Lowry had the fun of appearing on a Comic-Con panel with Jeff Bridges last week (click through to see how happy she looks as Bridges gives her a squeeze).
Close on its heels, The Maze Runner based on the book by James Dasher, (RH/Delacorte, 2009), will arrive on Sept. 19. A new trailer was released on Tuesday (official Web site — TheMazeRunnerMovie.com)
Following in February, Bridges again stars in a Y.A. film, this time a fantasy, The Seventh Son, based on The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, 2005). Originally scheduled for release in February, 2013, it has been postponed so often that many began to wonder if it was ever going to arrive, but it now appears that the date is firm. If successful, it could be the beginning of a new franchise. The producers have a plenty of material to draw on, the 13th and final volume in the series is coming in April, 2015.
Looking further ahead, another potential franchise is in the works, with the adaptation of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave is in the midst of casting. Chloe Grace Moretz is set to star as Cassie Sullivan, a 16-year-old trying to save her brother after a series of alien invasions. Production is scheduled to begin in September.
Moretz has already completed work on the more “grounded” Y.A. movie, If I Stay, based on the novel by Gayle Forman. Like fellow YA movie star Shailene Woodley, who plays the lead in both the “grounded” The Fault in Our Stars and the dystopian franchise, Divergent, this places Moretz’s feet in both camps. A new trailer was released last week, which amps up the romance over the first one:
The trailer brought new attention to the book’s sequel, Where She Went, (Penguin/Dutton, 2011), which spiked on Amazon’s sales rankings after it was released.
As far as other “grounded” YA titles on the horizon, if one John Green adaptation is a hit, how about another? His 2008 novel, Paper Towns, is in preproduction with TFIOS actor Nat Wolff signed to star. A release date of 7/31/15 has just been set.
Lionsgate is “close to hiring a director” for an adaptation of Wonder, by R.J. Palacio (RH/Knopf Young Readers). Describing his hopes for it in Hollywood speak, co-president of the company, Erik Feig said, “If Fault is the Love Story of now, Wonder is the Mask of now.”
Two other Y.A. adaptations in the works are less classifiable. Director Edgar Wright has been hired to adapt Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle (Panguin/Dutton, Feb. 2014), which will require some interesting special effects to portray those six-foot tall copulating praying mantises.
After several teasers, Lionsgate debuted the first full trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 this weekend at Comic-Con. It was released it online early yesterday and currently has 6 million views.
The movie opens on Nov. 21, followed by Part 2, the final movie in the series, on Nov. 20, 2015.
A tie-in edition will be published at the end of September:
The trailer for the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey was set to debut on the Today Show this morning, but the network has decided to air just a portion of it, saying that the full trailer is not appropriate for morning television (somewhere, the movie’s marketing firm is smiling).
The full trailer, however, will be available on NBC.com following this morning’s broadcast, which will include an interview with the stars, Jamie Dornan, (Christian Grey) and Dakota Johnson’s (Anastasia Steele). Tomorrow morning, the show will feature a behind-the-scenes tour if the film set.
The movie is still seven months away, scheduled to debut in theaters on February 13, 2015.
In April, it was announced that Thea Sharrock, who directed the BBC’s series, Call the Midwife, as well as several Broadway plays, would take it on as her first time directing a film. Moyes wrote the script. No stars have been announced.
British author Moyes broke on to U.S. best seller lists with this, her ninth title, a novel about the relationship between a quadriplegic and his caregiver that also looks at the issue of assisted suicide. It was such a departure for the author, known for more traditional romances, that she worried it would be a tough sell. Instead, it brought her a wider readership.
The author’s most recent book, One Plus One, (Viking/Pamela Dorman), a contemporary, romance, was published in May.