The enormous success of the movie based on Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl leaves fans wondering what has happened to the adaptation of another Flynn novel, Dark Placeswith an A-list cast headed by Charlize Theron.
In talks to join the cast is Twilight‘s Kristin Stewart, most recently seen in a supporting role in Still Alice starring Julianne Moore and based on the book by Lisa Genova.
The Billy Lynn cast includes newcomer Joe Alwyn in the starring role, along with Garrett Hedlund and Steve Martin.
Considered a modern-day Catch 22, Ben Fountain’s novel is not a traditional war story, but the press release that announced the film project promises that the director, know for his ground-breaking special effects, as in the 3-D Life of Pi, “… envisions creating a new way for audiences to experience drama, including the heightened sensation that soldiers really feel on the battlefield and on the home front.”
Hollywood is now mad for military movies based on books, cued by the success of American Sniper. Several nonfiction titles are currently set for adaptation.
Gearing up is a film based on13 Hours: The Inside Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff (Hachette/Twelve, 9/9/14). Directed by Michael Bay it will star John Krasinski, James Badge Dale, Max Martini, Pablo Schreiber and Freddie Stroma (Pitch Perfect). Filming is about to begin on a set that is currently being built in Malta.
Recently, a heated auction for war photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War (Penguin Press, 2/5/15) ended with Steven Spielberg set to direct and Jennifer Lawrence in the lead. The rights to another women-in war book, Ashley’s War, The Untold Story Of A Team of Women Soldiers On The Special Ops Battlefield by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (Harper, 4/21/15), were recently won at auction by Reese Witherspoon.
Television is also in on the act. NBC recently picked up the Weinstein Co.’s 6 hour series based on The Reaperby Nicholas Irving with Gary Brozek, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s).
Directed by Burr Steers (Charlie St. Cloud), PP&Z stars the currently hot actress Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey) as Elizabeth Bennett, with Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy. David Russell, celebrated as the director of American Hustle (2013) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012), co-wrote the script with Steers.
Based on Adam Rex’s chapter book, The True Meaning of Smekday, (Disney/Hyperion; Listening Library), the animated Dreamworks movie Home, opened this weekend and outperformed expectations. Variety speculates, “Jeffrey Katzenberg must be breathing a huge sigh of relief after the embattled DreamWorks Animation chief scored a much needed box office win with the release of Home.”
Critics are also fans. TheNew York Times calls it “a charming concoction with positive messages for younger children about conquering fears, understanding outsiders and knowing yourself.”
Unfortunately, the film reviews don’t mention the original book, which enjoyed a rapturous reception in The New York Times Book Review when it was published in 2007; “a story so original, so absorbing and so laugh-out-loud funny that the minute I read the last page, I want to start at the beginning again … [it] will captivate fans of the wordplay and characters in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and of the outrageously entertaining satire of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
It happens that rave review is by EarlyWord Kids Correspondent Lisa Von Drasek, who went to see the movie on opening day to see how the book translated to the screen. She reports, “I laughed aloud and enjoyed the reactions from the kids in the audience. One of my favorite book talk moments, in the MoPo (7eleven/WaWa), it is beautifully portrayed. The plot is very different from the book, but it’s a great opportunity to bring an even great audience to the original.” Further, Lisa, an avowed dog person says, “Tip’s cat Pig is one of the best animated characters, ever!”
Written in the form of a time capsule essay by an 11-year-old girl nicknamed Tip (her real name is Gratuity), it begins after aliens called the Boov, have invaded the earth and changed the name Christmas to Smekday (to honor one of the Boov leaders). It was illustrator Adam Rex’s first novel (the sequel, Smek For President, came out in February).
The main character, Tip, is voiced by singer Rihanna and the Boov alien, named Oh, by Jim Parsons (star of The Big Bang Theory). Fans of the book will remember that character was originally named J.Lo In a twist worthy of the wordplay of the book, the real J.Lo, Jennifer Lopez, voices a different character in the movie.
Tip’s Tips on Friendship
S&S/Simon Spotlight: February 10, 2015
Trade Paperback: $3.99 USD, $4.99 CAD
Ages 5 to 7, Grades K to 2
Home : The Chapter Book
S&S/Simon Spotlight: February 10, 2015
Trade Paperback: $5.99 USD, $6.99 CAD
Ages 7 to 10, Grades 2 to 5
The Story of One Super Boov
Ellie O’Ryan, Pierre Collet-Derby
S&S/Simon Spotlight: February 10, 2015
Trade Paperback; $3.99 USD, $4.99 CAD
Ages 3 to 7, Grades P to 2 NOTE: This is a 24-page 8 by 8, but it’s sticker-free
Mark your calendars: the next Star Wars film, Episode VII The Force Awakens, premiers on December 18, 2015. It picks up after the events of Return of the Jedi and is co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams (his qualifications include directing the TV series Lost andtwo films in the Star Trek franchise).
A teaser trailer was released in November (the full trailer is rumored to be coming in May):
Star Wars: Aftermath (Del Rey/Lucas Books; 978-0345511621; Sept. 4), by Chuck Wendig is the first novel in an expected trilogy. According toUSA Today, it “bridges the approximately 30-year gap between [Return of the] Jedi and The Force Awakens. With the Emperor and Darth Vader both assumed dead, a new government arises to replace the fallen Empire in the novel.”
Also forthcoming is another of the popular DK visual guides, Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know (Penguin/DK; 978-0241183700; Sept. 4, 2015) and several comics from Marvel, including Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens (Marvel Comics; 978-0785197812; Nov. 17).
A full listing of related titles has not been released but Entertainment Weekly offers a rundown of projects in the works as well as the backstory on how the massive, and secret, publishing program was organized.
Given the size of the fan base and their devotion, expect requests far in advance of the Sept. pub. dates.
Oscars 2015 are so yesterday. Hollywood is already beginning to predict 2016’s nominees:
IndieWire, “For Your Consideration: Yep, It’s The 2016 Oscar Predictions,” 2/27/15
Hollywood Reporter, “Oscars 2016: It’s Never Too Early for the Next Best Picture Predictions,” 2/23/15
Esquire, “14 Extremely Premature Predictions About the 2016 Oscars,” 3/9/15
Huffington Post – “Absurdly Early And Unnecessary Oscar Predictions For 2016,” – 2/23/15
These are indeed “premature.” Most of the movies won’t appear in theaters until this fall (it seems Academy members have poor memories, so producers hold off the release of films they consider Oscar bait until later in the year) and none of them have trailers yet, but the picks are useful as an index of which movies are heavily anticipated, by the Hollywood crowd, if not by book lovers.
Fourteen of the films are based on books, one on a Shakespeare play and another on a short story. The number of predictions, with the exception of Steve Jobs, are roughly in reverse proportion to the popularity of the books they’re based on. The longest-running best seller of the group, The Light Between Oceans, gets just a single nod, for Best Actor, Michael Fassbender (he gets another Best Actor prediction for his lead role in Steve Jobs).
Below are the adaptations, in order by the most significant picks (for a full list of forthcoming movies, check our list of Upcoming Movies Based on Books).
Based on — Patricia Highsmith, The Price Of Salt, 1952 (available in trade paperback from Norton, 2004)
“The Weinsteins known how to mount an Oscar campaign, and this return to feature filmmaking by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) will surely capture its fair share of headlines, both for its illustrious cast and crew, and because it’s the story of a 1950s housewife (Cate Blanchett) who strikes up a clandestine lesbian affair with a young store clerk (Rooney Mara).” – Esquire
Best Picture — IndieWire, Huffington Post
Best Director, Todd Haynes — IndieWire, Huffington Post
Best Actress, Cate Blanchett — IndieWire, Huffington Post
Best Supporting Actress, Rooney Mara — IndieWire, Huffington Post
After the jump; fourteen more highly-anticipated adaptations.
Calling it “ecstatically reviewed,” Deadline reports that film rights to Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant (RH/Knopf; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) have been acquired by Scott Rudin, who has been called “The Godfather of the Literary Adaptation” (Captain Philips, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, Angela’s Ashes and the upcoming Jobs, among many others).
Take the comment about the novel being “ecstatically reviewed” with a grain of salt. The daily NYT critic Michiko Kakutani dismissed it as an “eccentric, ham-handed fairy tale.” Neil Gaiman had trouble nailing it down in the NYT Book Review, even after several readings and regretted his “inability to fall in love with it, much as I wanted to.” On NPR, Meg Wolitzer said she anticipated the book for months but was ultimately disappointed. The headline for her review on All Things Considered this week expresses her feeling succinctly, “Ishiguro’s Buried Giant Gets Lost In Its Own Fog.”
On the more ecstatic side is former Washington Post Book World editor, Marie Arana who calls it, “a spectacular, rousing departure from anything Ishiguro has ever written, and yet a classic Ishiguro story.”
Check your holds. Some libraries have reordered to meet demand, while others are doing well with relatively modest initial orders. Based on its rise on Amazon’s sales rankings (currently at #15, the third adult fiction title on the list), we can expect to see it in the top five on the NYT Best Sellers list next week.
Several of Ishiguro’s previous novels have been adapted as films, including The Remains Of The Day (1993) starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, and Never Let Me Go (2010), Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield.
Eddie Redmayne already has one Oscar for his startling physical transformation as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Another may be in the works.
In the upcoming film adaptation of David Ebershoff’s first novel, The Danish Girl, (Penguin/Viking, 2000; NYT review), he will play a man who in the 1930’s had one of the earliest transgender surgeries.
The release date has just been announced for Thanksgiving weekend, making it Oscar bait.
A first look at Eddie Redmayne in the role was released on Twitter last week:
One of the moment’s hottest directors Richard Linklater (Boyhood) may direct the film adaptation of one of the surprise hits of 2012, Maria Semple’s debut novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Thorndike).
UPDATE: Thanks to Misha for correcting us in the comments. Bernadette was actually Marie Semple’s second novel, a fact she wryly notes in her book trailer, which follows her as she searches for a way to pitch the book (with a few famous friends):
Warner Bros. won what Deadline characterizes as a “whirlwind auction” for the film rights, adding”The memoir has been the hot title since it was excerpted by The New York Times Magazine, and there were no shortage of bidders for the life of a woman who goes into the most dangerous places in the world in search of truth.”
Following the success of Fifty Shades of Grey at the box office, The Hollywood Reporter looks at four other erotic novels that are making their way to screens. All of them are still in the development phase, with no directors or actors attached, so they could use pitches. Below are our suggestions:
Crossfire series, Sylvia Day (Penguin Berkley; first in the series, Bared to You, above left, with cover riffing on the iconic Fifty Shades tie) — Set in an ad agency, rights were acquired two years ago by Lionsgate for a TV series, so, of course, it’s “Fifty Shades meets Mad Men.”
Beautiful Bastard, Christina Lauren (S&S/Gallery) — About a hardworking, ambitious assistant and her difficult boss, it’s “Fifty Shades meets Working Girl.” (note the book cover makes reference to BOTH a tie and cuff links).
After, Anna Todd (S&S/Gallery) — This boy-band fan fiction was signed for a film adaptation by Paramount Pictures last fall. It will inevitably be pitched as “Fifty Shades meets One Direction” but a warning, when this “watt-pad sensation” was published in book form, it did not have the success of Shades of Grey, so it may turn out to be “Fifty Shades meets John Carter.”
On the Island, Tracey Garvis Graves, (Penguin Plume) — A romance about a woman who is shipwrecked with the teen age boy she has been tutoring. It is “Fifty Shades meets Cast Away.”
It would seem last night’s big Oscar winner, Birdman, a movie with an original script, would have little effect on books, but since its October release, it has caused Raymond Carver’s short story collection, What We Talk About When Talk About Love, (RH/Vintage) to increase in sales by 121%, reports Publishers Weekly. The movie, about an actor trying to score a creative comeback through a Broadway adaptation of the title story, includes several quotes from Carver, references to the title, as well as enactments of scenes from the story.
As a result, publisher RH/Vintage is releasing it as an ebook for the first time (there is a version currently available to libraries, but in Mandarin).
An original, unedited manuscript of the story, called Beginners, is also available in Raymond Carver: Collected Stories, (Penguin/Library of America). RH/Vintage will also release it as a standalone ebook in September.
Library holds are light so far. The movie has just been released on demand, so interest may grow.
TV and movie rights to librarian and bookseller favorite, Station Elevenby Emily St. John Mandel, (RH/Knopf, Sept., 2014; RH Audio; Thorndike) have been acquired by ScottSteindorff (producer of Jon Favreau’s Chef).