Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category

In the Works: Two New Ian McEwan Adaptations

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

9780307386175A moody still from the upcoming film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach (PRH/Anchor; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) features star Satires Ronan, called ” a turquoise vision” by Entertainment Weekly.

The two-time Oscar nominated actress stars with newcomer Billy Howle. McEwan wrote the screenplay and Dominic Cooke (The Hollow Crown) directs, his first time doing a feature film. The cinematographer is Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave, Queen of Katwe, and Wonderland.)

The film does not yet have a release date and no tie-in has been announced.

It follows a long line of adaptations of McEwan’s work. He has already had eight of his novels or short stories turned into films and more are on the way.

9780385497527Announced earlier this month, Benedict Cumberbatch will work with BBC One and PBS Masterpiece to adapt the award-winning 1987 novel The Child In Time (PRH/Anchor; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample). Cumberbatch is set to star and executive produce.

9780385721790The most famous and successful McEwan adaptation was 2007’s Atonementstarring James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Romola Garai, Vanessa Redgrave, and Saoirse Ronan. It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, Drama and Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress. 

Ewan says, in the 2011 video below, that he has found the adaptation of his books into films generally a good experience (note: at the time of the video, a different director and actress were set to do On Chesil Beach). 

Oscar Bump

Monday, February 20th, 2017

lion  hidden-figures

Expected to be the most politically charged event in its history, the Academy Awards will be broadcast on Sunday. Two of the nominees are getting attention for being timely and the books they are based on have become best sellers.

Keying in to current events to promote their film Lion, the Weinstein Company placed an ad in Thursday’s L.A. Times, featuring one of the young stars and the words, “It took an extraordinary effort to get 8-year-old actor Sunny Pawar a visa so that he could come to America for the very first time, Next year, that might not be an option” and the exhortation to “Remember where you came from.”

The basis for that movie, A Long Way Home: A Memoir by Saroo Brierley (PRH/Berkley), retitled Lion for the tie-in, showed a sudden rise on Amazon’s sales rankings after the the ad’s appearance.

Considered a precursor to Sunday’s event, political commentary also ran through last month’s Screen Actors Guild awards ceremony. Taraji P. Henson, the star of the surprise best film winner, Hidden Figures, said in her acceptance speech, “There’s a reason why it was made now and not three years ago, not five years ago, not 10 years ago. The universe needed it now.”

The basis for that movie, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly  (HarperCollins/Morrow), has been in the top five on USA Today‘s bestseller list since the beginning of the year.

See our full list of tie-ins to the nominees here.


Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

9780143108429_de82bNicole Kidman has optioned Janice Y.K Lee’s sophomore novel, The Expatriates (PRH/Penguin, 2016; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), for a planned TV series, reports Deadline Hollywood.

Lee’s debut, The Piano Teacher (PRH/Penguin, 2009), was a hit, selling well and landing on the NYT bestseller lists in both hardback and paperback. In paperback it spent 18 weeks on the list in total, 7 weeks in the top 10, and rose as high as #2.

The Expatriates did not do as well, spending only one week on the NYT hardcover list before falling off. It did get some notable attention. USA Today wrote, “Raise a glass: The first great book-club novel of 2016 has arrived” and the NYT wrote Lee is “A female, funny Henry James in Asia … vividly good on the subject of Americans abroad.” The LA Times highlights her novel’s strong sense of place.

The novel is about three women, all members of the Western expat community, who connect and circle around each other as their relationships deepen.  Alice Bell (Suburban Mayhem) will write the adaptation and Kidman is considering a lead role.

Kidman, and her Blossom Films partner, Per Saari, will executive produce and Deadline says “The project will be shopped to premium networks and streaming-services.”

Like her frequent collaborator Reese Witherspoon, Kidman has become a powerhouse in literary adaptations. Blossom Films created the big screen adaptation of Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang and are behind the HBO series Big Little Lies, based on Liane Moriarty’s bestseller. The company is also working on a big screen adaptation of another of Moriarty’s hits, Truly Madly Guilty, as well as the upcoming adaptations of A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife and Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia.

Ursula K. Le Guin
Heads To The Movies

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

planetofexileThe topics Ursula K. LeGuin explores in her novels should make her books attractive to today’s movie and TV producers, but none have made it to the screen since the 2004 mini-series based on Earthsea, most likely because LeGuin was not a fan of the outcome, writing “How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books.”

Last year, she told the site Den of Geek!, “I’ve got very hard-nosed about this. I don’t need the money so I can just say ‘no, you can’t have my book, if you’re going to chop it up and use its name and make it into something or other of yours that has nothing to do with what I wrote’. Enough of that.”

Thus, it’s big news that several well-credentialed producers, have acquired the rights to one of her early works, the 1966 SF novella Planet Of Exile, re-published in the collection Worlds of Exile and Illusion (Macmillan/Orb, 1996; OverDrive Sample). 

It is part of the Hainish universe of titles, which includes two of Le Guin’s most famous novels, The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. As the site Signature characterizes Planet Of Exile, it “explore themes of power, justice, freedom, and personal responsibility towards society at large. Told from the distant future on an imaginary planet, [it] concern[s] matters of love and survival as familiar to readers today as they were when [it was] first published in the 1960s.”

In a retrospective review, writes that it is possible to see Planet Of Exile as one of LeGuin’s “dry runs for The Left Hand of Darkness.” Perhaps this forthcoming adaptation will also be a dry run for more to come.


Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

9780553496642_e29a7The film adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s debut just got a trailer, sending the paperback soaring on Amazon, jumping from #2,242 to #13.

Everything, Everything (PRH/Delacorte; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample) is about a teen girl who is allergic to the world and must stay inside at all times. Then a guy moves in next door and complicates her life.

The book debuted at No. 1 on the NYT  YA best-seller list in 2015 and earned a glowing NYT review (“gorgeous and lyrical”) and an A- review from Entertainment Weekly (a “complex,” “fresh, moving debut”).

The film stars Amandla Stenberg (who played Rue in The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson (Zach in Jurassic World). Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) directs.

Both actors have roles in other YA adaptations. Stenberg in Alexandra Bracken’s forthcoming The Darkest Minds and Robinson in Rick Yancey’s already released The 5th Wave.

Film rights to the author’s second book, The Sun Is Also a Star (PRH/Delacorte Press; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample), a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award, were aacquired last fall.

Everything, Everything opens in theaters on May 19. Two tie-in editions are forthcoming, cover art not yet finalized:

Hardcover: Everything, Everything Movie Tie-in Edition, Nicola Yoon (PRH/Delacorte Press; April 18, 2017; ISBN 9781524769802; 18.99).

Paperback: Everything, Everything Movie Tie-in Edition, Nicola Yoon (PRH/Ember; April 4, 2017; ISBN 9781524769604; $10.99).

Hitting Screens, Week of Feb. 13, 2017

Monday, February 13th, 2017

As expected, Fifty Shades Darker was a strong box office draw over the weekend, but it was shut out at #1 by the Lego Batman movie.

The movie has propelled the book back up best seller lists. It is currently #18 on the USA Today list, but is beat out the by Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron at #3  Hidden Figures at #4 and the Swedish import, A Man Called Ove,at #5. The Swedish-language adaptation was recently released on demand and DVD,  Readers are anticipating upcoming adaptations, as well, sending The Shack back up USA Today’s list where it is currently at #8.

9780399587191_29e1eAlso rising in anticipation of HBO’s adaptation is Liane Moriarty’s 2014 best seller, Big Little Lies, Starring  Starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley, the series begins airing on February 19th. 

Dubbed the “Murderous Moms of Monterey,” by Deadline Hollywood, it is getting mixed reviews. Variety calls it “a bonfire of the vanities for this faux-progressive, self-satisfied set” and writes it “unfolds its mystery like a delicate flower, with teased hints that are sometimes flashbacks, sometimes flash-forwards, and sometimes glimpses of imagined fantasy.”

IndieWire says “Not since True Detective (Season 1) has an HBO limited series built a mystery this compelling.”

However, The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “soapy melodrama … more annoying than entertaining.”

9780143039631_ac32fIn Dubious Battle, the adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel, opens in limited release and on VOD on Feb. 17, starring James Franco, who also directs, and Selena Gomez.

The direct to VOD release indicates the studio does not have high hopes for it, although the theatrical release gives it the opportunity to qualify for the Oscars.

Reviews so far largely confirm the studio’s take. The Guardian says, “This admirably-intentioned adaptation of the 1936 industrial strife novel suffers from a tin ear, flat feet and overweening vanity.”

The Hollywood Reporter writes it is “a shame that Franco’s dreams and ideas for this film weren’t as big as those of his protagonists.”

However, Variety is on board, if damning with faint praise, writing it is “Franco’s first watchable dramatic feature.”

The film, about the formation of the labor movement in 1930s California, has a notable ensemble cast, including Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston, Ed Harris, Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Sam Shepard.

The Penguin classics edition has a sticker announcing it is now a “Major Motion Picture.”

Hitting Screens, Week of Feb. 6, 2017

Monday, February 6th, 2017

mv5bmja3njc1odg2mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmzyymji5mdi-_v1_sy1000_sx666_al_This week, Dan Stevens returns to TV in Legion, a show set in a world very different from Downton Abbey.

He stars in the next iteration of Marvel’s X-men and plays, reports the NYT, “the son of Professor X and a powerful mutant with a multiple-personality disorder.”

Noah Hawley, creator of the TV series Fargo and author of the best seller Before the Fall, (Hachette/Grand Central; OverDrive Sample)directs the FX series which he says tells “a more existential story — what is it really like to have these abilities?” Producer Lauren Shuler Donner says she wanted this version of X-men to “be very, very different … There’s no way that anybody would watch Legion and go, ‘Ugh, I saw that already.’”

The NYT says fans of the superhero movies should instead expect something more like Twin Peaks or Hannibal, with “a heightened, dreamlike aesthetic … [and] a more abstract, elusive approach to storytelling … [the series is] about memory, identity and perception.”

It is getting solid reviews. Variety writes it “is not timid. It offers a jittery take on many of the genre’s familiar themes, and it hurls them together with such boldness that the entire concoction ends up carrying quite a kick … it won’t be for everyone, but those who are pulled into the surreal, jagged orbit of this distinctive drama are likely to stay there for the full eight-episode run. It is, literally and figuratively, a trip — and it’s often an exhilarating one.”

Collider says it is “A Stunning, Challenging, Fantastically Human Journey” and ComicBookMovie writes “FX May Have A Massive Hit On Its Hands.”

This is only the start of X-Men on TV. The NYT‘s says “The Fox network has already ordered its own series pilot set in the world of X-Men’s mutants (written by Matt Nix, the creator of Burn Notice, and directed by Bryan Singer), and Marvel hopes to create more shows for FX.”

The premiere episode debuts Feb. 8. There is no tie-in.

9780525431886_2b7baThe second film in the expected trilogy adapting E.L. James’s novels arrives, like the first in the series, close to Valantine’s Day, Feb. 10.

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan reprise their roles as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Kim Basinger and Bella Heathcote join the cast as Grey’s ex-lovers.

There is a tie-in: Fifty Shades Darker (Movie Tie-in Edition): Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, EL James (PRH/Vintage; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) also in Spanish Cincuenta sombras más oscuras (Movie Tie-In): Fifty Shades Darker MTI – Spanish-language edition, E L James (PRH/Vintage Espanol).

James has also promised a re-telling of Fifty Shades Darker from Christian’s perspective, following her re-vamp of Fifty Shades of Grey with the same twist. No date yet for its release.

MORTAL ENGINES: Closer To Screen

Monday, February 6th, 2017

9780545222112Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has announced the first cast members for his next adaptation, based on Philip Reeve’s dystopian book series that begins with Mortal Engines (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample). Robert Sheehan (Fortitude) is set to star writes Variety  with Ronan Raftery (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Terror) in a supporting role. It is scheduled to open on Dec. 14, 2018.

Mortal Engines was published in 2003 and became an ALA Notable Children’s Book, an SLJ‘s best book as well as a YALSA Best Book for Young Adults.

The series features cities on caterpillar tracks that move about in search of other cities to attack in a quest for a dwindling amount of resources caused by a devastating global war. Two orphans finds themselves lost in this wasteland and are hunted by a cyborg.

In their starred review, PW wrote “Like the moving cities it depicts, Reeve’s debut novel is a staggering feat of engineering, a brilliant construction that offers new wonders at every turn.”

Award Winning Kids Books Get Adaptation Deals

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

9780316380836_af055 9780763671648_787f9

Book enthusiast Reese Witherspoon, behind several successful adult book adaptations, including Gone Girl, Wild, and the upcoming HBO series Big Little Lies, has turned her sights to a middle-grade novel. Her production team has acquired the rights to the National Book Award finalist The Thing About Jellyfish, (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

Another actress/producer Gina Rodriguez is developing the Pura Belpré Award winner, Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass  by Meg Medina, (Candlewick, 2016) as a TV series. Deadline reports that the project has just been acquired by the streaming service Hulu.


Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

9780689206511A new hybrid live-action/animated film based on the Newbery Medal-winning Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien, illustrated by Zena Bernstein (S&S/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1971) is in development by MGM.

Variety reports it will be titled The Rats Of Nimh, led by first time director James Madigan who has won Emmys for special effects and worked on such films as Iron Man 2 and The Da Vinci Code.

The “hope is to create a franchise” using O’Brien’s two sequels, O’Brien wrote two sequels. reports Deadline.

MGM produced a previous adaptation, the 1982 animated film The Secret of NIMHCinemaBlend says this new project is part of MGM’s “recent business strategy of rebooting their most classic franchises.” 

No word yet on stars or a premiere date.


Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

9780345544957_b58a3Jodi Picoult’s most recent novel, Small Great Things (PRH/Ballantine; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), is movie-bound with an attention-getting all-star cast.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Viola Davis and Julia Roberts will star and that a producer for La La Land will help shepherd the project.

As we noted at the time it hit shelves, the LibraryReads selection generated media attention.  It debuted on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list at #1 and is currently at #8 after 14 weeks.

NPR Weekend Edition Saturday featured the author, opening with a gripping summary:

“Ruth Jefferson, a labor and delivery nurse at a hospital in Connecticut … is barred from tending to a newborn baby by the baby’s parents. Ruth Jefferson is African-American. Brittany and Turk Bauer are white supremacists. But Davis, their baby, goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is on duty, briefly alone in the nursery. Should she disobey the order she’s been given by the hospital or touch the baby to try to save him? And does her slight hesitation doom the newborn boy?”

Picot also appeared on CBS This Morning. Host Gayle King noting that the book is “thought-provoking … interesting … and so timely,”asked Picoult how a “white woman of privilege” writes a book confronting racism.

It is early days yet so there is no word on when filming will begin. The paperback edition comes out in June from PRH/Ballantine.

Hitting Screens, Week of January 30, 2017

Monday, January 30th, 2017

y648Getting rave reviews, a TV movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s short story and play, The Witness for the Prosecution, comes to the small screen January 30th when Acorn TV begins streaming the BBC movie. The Wall Street Journal says it has “character … depth and startling bitterness … [the] times are vividly evoked in this splendidly written work whose surprise ending is the kind worth waiting for.”

The Guardian reviewer calls it “Perfectly crafted, expertly cast and beautifully scripted … I doubt there has ever been more brought by a cast, crew and writer to Agatha Christie. It is the most gorgeous gift to the viewer.”

The two-episode series stars Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall along with Toby Jones and Andrea Riseborough.

We may see yet another version. Ben Affleck is planning his own adaptation according to Variety, and “will produce with Matt Damon, Jennifer Todd and the Agatha Christie estate.” Of course, he may bow to fan press to do the next Batman movie first.

It was famously adapted into the 1957 film directed by Billy Wilder, starring Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich. That production eared six Oscar nominations.

There is no tie-in, but the book is still in print, published by HarperCollins (HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

9780525434696_1f767I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House, which reflects on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Samuel L. Jackson narrates.

The film is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary category and opens on Feb. 3.

Entertainment Weekly gave it an A-, writing “it’s impossible not to think: The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s enough to make you weep.” The New Yorker says it is “incisive” and Variety calls it “transcendent.”

There is a companion book: I Am Not Your Negro: A Companion Edition to the Documentary Film Directed by Raoul Peck, James Baldwin, Raoul Peck (PRH/Vintage; OverDrive Sample).

9781945054242_6c92eThe fourth in the Ring horror franchise, Rings, premieres on Feb. 3.

The first US version of the story, about a cursed videotape, debuted in 2002. The series is based on the Japanese horror novel Ring by Koji Suzuki, originally published in 1991.

This new version stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Laura Wiggins, and Aimee Teegarden.

There is a tie-in edition: RINGS, Koji Suzuki (PRH/Vertical).

9780385302326It had seemed that Outlander season 3 would air in February but that now looks unlikely and a premiere date has yet to be announced.

The show just won four People’s Choice Awards, for Favorite TV Show, Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series, and Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor and Actress.

We do know season three will be based on Voyager (PRH/Delacorte; OverDrive Sample), the third book in Diana Gabaldon’s long-running series. TV Guide has an article on what to expect and Movie Pilot offers a catch-up. Entertainment Weekly offers a first look, with Brianna as a baby.

First Trailer: My Cousin Rachel

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

9781402217098Daphne du Maurier’s moody Gothic romances have been adapted by many directors. Alfred Hicthock was a particular fan, basing two of his movies on her novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn and a third, The Birds on one of her short stories.

One that escaped him was 1951’s My Cousin Rachel (republished in 2009 by Sourcebooks Landmark; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample). Adapted as a film in 1954, it starred Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton, winning him a Golden Globe award as “Most Promising Newcomer, Male.” 

The international trailer for a new adaptation, set to debut on July 14, has just been released.

Director Robert Michell (Notting Hill) tells The Telegraph that his version, starring Rachel Weisz (The Mummy) and Sam Claflin (Hunger Games), will be “detailed, dark, sexy, cinematic and full of surprises.” 

Variety summarizes the Cornwall-set story as that “of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.” As Slate notes, the sex between cousins angle was toned down for 1950’s sensibilities. It seems that will not be an issue this time around.

13 REASONS WHY Gets Air Date and First Look

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why will premiere on March 31. Singer/actress Selena Gomez, an executive producer for the show, posted a clip on Instagram Thursday, which quickly took off. It is now the #1 trending video on YouTube:

Paste says the clip “gives off Gone Girl vibes.”

The series is based on Jay Asher’s 2007 YA novel TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY, (Penguin/RazorBill; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample), about a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind several tapes, telling classmates how each contributed to her decision. The novel is a YALSA Best Books of 2008, and was a NYT best seller in hardcover for over two years.

It stars a relatively unknown cast, including Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro. and Michael Sadler. Oscar Winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) directs. Tony and Pulitzer Prize Winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal) wrote the script.

A tie-in comes out in March:

9780451478290_16e4613 Reasons Why, Jay Asher
Razorbill (Penguin Publishing Group)
On Sale Date: March 7, 2017
ISBN 9780451478290, 0451478290
Trade Paperback | 336 pages 
$10.99 USD, $14.99 CAD

Sundance Premieres Al Gore’s Second Warning

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

9781635651089_1ec7a An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the follow-up to Al Gore’s Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth, got a standing ovation at Sundance when it opened the festival last week.

Variety says the film depicts the “dire consequences of a warming earth — from flooding in Miami and the Philippines, to the worst drought on record in Syria, bringing human suffering there that predated the ongoing civil war, to air pollution so bad in some parts of China that life expectancy has declined by six years.”

Critical reaction to the screening is mostly positive. Slashfilm says “If An Inconvenient Truth was an eye-opening disaster movie, then An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power is the heartbreaking post-apocalyptic follow-up … You can sense Al Gore’s frustration, and he is certainly angrier this time around, but still as passionate as he ever has been.” The Hollywood Reporter adds “this fine film is a match for the first.

Several critics found it tedious, however. The Guardian writes it is “desultory and surprisingly vainglorious.”

A companion book will be published in May, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore (Macmillan/Rodale Books).

The documentary will open in theaters on July 28, 2017.