Sometimes the connections are surprising, like when Josephine Tey’s 1951 mystery, The Daughter of Timeexperienced a sudden sales spike, on the news of the discovery of Richard III’s bones (in the novel, Tey’s detective looks in to why Richard was regarded as an evil hunchback, even though a contemporary portrait shows him quite differently).
The summer is off to a dismal start for Hollywood. The movie trades are characterizing the holiday weekend box office as “lackluster,” with X-Men: Apocalypse coming in below expectations and Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass considered a flat-out “bomb.” Among the bright spots for adaptations, the much smaller release, Whit Stillman’s Jane Austen-inspired Love & Friendship is continuing to do well after opening earlier this month and is considered an “arthouse crossover” success.
Beginning tonight, May 30 Roots airs on the History Chanel, simulcast on A&E and Lifetime, over four consecutive nights.
The 70’s version was a sensation, opening the eyes of many white Americans to the horrors of slavery and encouraging African Americans to research their family histories, but executive producer Mark Wolper, the son of the original’s EP David L Wolper, told Deadline he realized he had to re-imagine his father’s efforts when his own son refused to watch the 1977 series, saying, “like your music, it doesn’t speak to me.”
The series remake stars Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
A tie-in edition come out on May 3: Roots[miniseries tie-in]: The Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley, (Perseus/Da Capo Press).
Me Before You opens on June 3. The anticipation is so fevered, as we noted, that just the two trailer releases caused bumps in sales for the book it is based on. The novel’s author, JoJo Moyes, wrote the screenplay and the movie stars Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games) transitioning from worlds of dragons and death matches to life-affirming contemporary romance.
A movie-tie in edition came out on April 26:Me Before You: A Novel (Movie Tie-In) by Jojo Moyes (PRH/Penguin Books).
Outcast premieres on Cinemax in a 10 episode run starting June 3. It is based the comic Robert Kirkman writes and Paul Azaceta illustrates and stars Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl) and Philip Glenister (Life on Mars) as two characters caught in a web of demonic possession. Wired calls it “a bloody, brutal ride” and reports it has already been renewed for a second season.
Two collected editions of the comic are currently in print with a third to follow on June 15.
Jurors for the Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped on Sunday, tend to subscribe to the “auteur” theory of film making, so adaptations don’t often make the cut. But this year, a few snuck in, beginning with the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG by Roald Dahl It won a standing ovation.
In competition was Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta, based on three of the short stories in Alice Munro’s collection Runaway (PRH/Knopf), about a Vancouver woman named Juliet Henderson. Almodovar switches the setting to Madrid and the character’s name to Julieta Diaz. The industry site The Wrapcalls the result “downright decorous” for the often over-the-top director, but adds, “That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and a subdued Almodovar is still a far sight weirder and more intriguing than most directors.” Reviews from Cannes were mixed and it did not win any awards.
The real business of Cannes is not the red carpet or the premieres, but the deals being made outside the screening rooms. Making headlines, the film adaptation of Herman Koch’s book The Dinner was acquired for distribution, with plans to release it this fall. Directed by Oren Overman it stars Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney, Rebecca Hall, and Chloë Sevigny. A hit in Europe, the novel arrived in the U.S. in 2013 to predictions that it would be the next Gone Girl. Although it didn’t achieve that level of popularity, it sold well and was on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list for seven weeks, reaching a high of #7.
Bidding was fierce for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, set to star Robert DeNiro. STX entertainment emerged the winner, for a mere $50 million. Based on the book I Heard You Paint Housesby Charles Brand (Steerforth, 2005), it’s about famed hit man Frank Sheeran (DeNiro), The title comes from the first words union leader Jimmy Hoffa spoke to Sheeran. He wasn’t being ironic. “Paint houses” is code for killing people, resulting in blood stains on the walls. The movie has not yet begun production. Scorsese already has several irons in the fire, including his long-gestating adaptation of Eric Larson’s The Devil in the White City(RH/Crown, 2003) starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Further afield, the L.A. Times reports that even French economic theorist Thomas Piketty, author of the unexpected best seller, Capital in the 21st Century, was enthusiastically pitching the book’s potential as movie at the show.
Familiar faces from the earlier Alice film return, including Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Tim Burton produces the film but does not direct this time, leaving that to James Bobin, known for his work on the recent Muppets movies. The film opens May 27.
Tie-ins came out in April: a novelization of the film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Kari Sutherland (Hachette/Disney Press); a “choose-your-own-path” story, Alice Through the Looking Glass: A Matter of Time, Carla Jablonski with illustrations by Olga Mosqueda, Vivien Wu, Richard Tuzon, and Jeff Thomas (Hachette/Disney Press); and the re-issue of the novelization of the earlier film, Alice in Wonderland (Based on the motion picture directed by Tim Burton) (Hachette/Disney Press).
AMC hopes to continue the success they had with Robert Kirkman’sThe Walking Dead comic book series with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s adaptation of Garth Ennis’s Preacher(DC Comics, Vertigo) The 10-episode series, begins this Sunday. No tie-in has been announced.
Season 2 of Fox’s Wayward Pines begins on May 25. Produced by M. Night Shyamalan, the mystery/science fiction series is based on the Blake Crouch novels (Pines, Wayward, and The Last Town).
Matt Dillon stars as Ethan Burke, a U.S. Secret Service agent trapped in a small town while also searching for two fellow agents who have disappeared in the same area.
Previously released tie-ins of the first and last book in the series are available: Pines, Blake Crouch (Thomas & Mercer; May 5, 2015) and The Last Town, Blake Crouch (Brilliance/Thomas & Mercer; July 15, 2014).
The film adaptation of Philip Roth’s 2008 novel, Indignation, (Houghton Mifflin) received high praise when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
The recently released trailer begins with a scene that The HollyWood Reporterdescribes as “Played as a thrilling match of equals between Logan Lerman in a breakout performance and playwright-actor Tracy Letts in a turn that will push his estimable reputation to greater heights, this daringly extended exchange is a dialectic pitting a secular Jewish college student, resistant to suffocating authority, against a needling faculty Dean, impressed by the young man’s presentation while deploring his content. It’s characteristic of a film that is simultaneously erudite and emotional, literary and alive, that so much talk could be so enthralling.”
The movie opens on July 29th. No tie-ins have been announced. It was published in trade paperback by PRH/Vintage in 2009 and is part of the collection Philip Roth: Nemeses: Everyman / Indignation / The Humbling / Nemesis (Library of America #237).
Starring Lupita Wyong’o, who won an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, it is directed by Mira Nair and is based on the book by former senior editor for Sports Illustrated, Tim Crothers, The Queen Of Katwe: A Story Of Life, Chess, And One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream Of Becoming A Grandmaster, (S&S/Scribner, 2012).
The first trailer was released last week.
The Queen of Katwe: One Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion, Tim Crothers. 9/9/16 Trade pbk, (S&S/Scribner) Mass Market, (S&S/Pocket Books)
Audio CD, (S&S Audio)
It is adapted from the 2012 debut novel by Ben Fountain, winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the National Book Awards. TheWashington Post called the book “a masterful gut-punch of a debut novel … a razor-sharp, darkly comic novel — a worthy neighbor to Catch-22on the bookshelf of war fiction.”
When the movie was announced the press release promised that Lee, known for using 3D to great effect in The Life of Pi, would “explore new methods, both technological and artistic … 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.”
That technology, called by Sony “Immersive Digital.” Time says that, in layperson’s terms, it is “a stunningly crisp visual experience unprecedented in feature films,” achieved by shooting in “3D, at 4K resolution and 120 frames per second for each eye.”
Slate cautions that the trailer seems to miss the angst and dark humor of the book, while acknowledging it’s just a trailer, and perhaps “the film itself will be as wild, lacerating, and true as the book.”
The movie debuts in prime Oscar-bait season, November 11.
In related news, Entertainment Weekly reports that Puffin is publishing fresh hardcover editions of some of Dahl’s books to celebrate his 100th birthday, complete with new jacket art, expected for release on Sept. 6.
One of Dahl’s most beloved illustrators, Quentin Blake, will create the new covers for Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, James and the Giant Peach, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
As expected, Captain America: Civil War opened big last week, earning more than $200 million in domestic receipts alone in its first week. Forbes reports it is the 5th fastest movie to ever do so. In the process it knocked The Jungle Book off its top perch.
One film with book connections (a flock of tie-ins) opens Friday, May 20.
Angry Birds is a 3D animated comedy based on the popular video game of the same name. It explores why the birds in that game are so angry and features an all-star cast, including Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader and Peter Dinklage.
Early reviews range from mixed to lackluster. The Guardian gave it 3 out of 5 stars, saying: “This movie is driven by a naked commercial imperative … Yet there is a kind of pleasure and fascination, mixed with exasperation, in seeing how the game has been mangled and bent into the shape of the conventional animation narrative.”
Calling it “a fast, fizzy and frenetically entertaining” film, Variety largely agrees, continuing: “While not quite as inspired or subversive as The Lego Movie, it’s a comparably cheering standout in the generally cynical gallery of product-inspired product.”
Tom Hanks returns as symbolist Robert Langdon in the film based on the Dan Brown novel, Inferno, arriving in theaters on Oct. 28th.
Below is the first trailer, released yesterday.
Like the previous two in the series, the new film stars Hanks and is directed by Ron Howard. Several years ago, Howard announced that he had reached his limit on directing Langdon movies, but clearly something drew him back in (Deadline objected at the time Howard made that statement, that the director “could use a surefire hit”).
The movies do not follow the sequence of the books:
Angels & Demons first book (2000); second movie
The Da Vinci Code, second book (2003); first movie
The Lost Symbol, third book (2009); movie in limbo
Captain America: Civil Wardominated global box office sales in advance of its opening in the U.S. this weekend, with The Wrap offering a list of why critics love it so. Meanwhile The Jungle Book continues to reign over all comers stateside. We’ll soon know if the superhero squad is a match for team Mowgli, but either way, Disney (which has a hand in both films) is set for a very good year.
It is an adaptation of an unfinished Jane Austen novella, Lady Susan, an early effort by Austen published posthumously. Writer/director Whit Stillman finished the story to his own design and adapted it very freely. Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry star.
Variety calls it “a supremely elegant and delicately filigreed adaptation” and says Stillman “knows just how to give [Austen’s] pointed social satire an extra stab of wink-wink postmodern drollery without breaking the spell.”
Critic David Edelstein, writing in New York magazine, says it is “a treat” and that “heretical as it sounds, Stillman has improved on his source.”
A tie-in came out last week, Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, Whit Stillman (Hachette/Little, Brown; OverDrive Sample). It is a mix of mash-up, send-up, and spoof, using Austen’s text as well as Stillman’s additions.
The film will debut in theaters on May 13 before streaming on Amazon Prime the following month.
In December, Hallmark premiered Part One of their adaptation of The Bridge by the “Queen of Christian Fiction.” The second part was set for release this coming December, but fans objected so strongly to the year-long wait that Hallmark moved the release date upto March.
Hallmark won’t have the same problem with A Time to Dance, which is told in a single movie.
There is no tie-in, but the book is available in both paperback and digital formats (Thomas Nelson) as well as audio (Recorded Books) and large type (Thorndike).
An animated movie based on the iconic title, created in direct response to a petition from fans, is set to premiere at San Diego Comic-Con in July with a planned release on digital HD on July 23 and Blu-ray and DVD on August 2.
If you’ve been rooting for the film adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir The Glass Castle, (S&S/Scribner, 2005), you’ll cheer at the news that the main cast in nearly in place, signaling that the film may finally move forward after having been originally signed four years ago.
Actress Sarah Snook, reports Deadline, is in negotiations to play the sister of Brie Larson who stars as Walls, a role originally assigned to Jennifer Lawrence. Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson will play their parents.
In The Glass Castle Walls writes the harrowing story of her childhood, growing up with dysfunctional, sometimes homeless parents, to eventually become a well-respected journalist. A best seller in hardcover, it had its biggest success in trade paperback, and was in the top ten on that NYT list for over two years straight, returning many times since, including a run last summer.
Get ready for another Goosebumps movie. The Hollywood Reporter writes that Sony is closing deals with the director and writer of the first Goosebumps movie with hopes that Jack Black will return to star.
Based on the bestselling book series by R.L. Stine, the first film was not a “massive hit” says the site, but “was a solid performer for the studio.” That seems to be enough to keep going with a long hoped-for franchise, so long hoped-for that even before the first film hit theaters in October 2015, sites such as Screen Rant were reporting on the sequel.
The Hollywood Reporter says the series took 18 years to adapt to film, making the sequel blindingly quick. The books were adapted for TV in the mid to late 90s and occasionally still run on streaming services.
We posted twostories on the possible bump for the books, pointing out tie-in editions and the reissue of Classic Goosebumps (with the line “Now a Major Motion Picture” on the covers). Expect the same attention once this second film gets further along.
Also look out for Goosebumps: Most Wanted, another series reissuing the most “notorious, creepiest, ghouliest Goosebumps characters.” The most recent is Here Comes the Shaggedy(Goosebumps: Most Wanted #9), R.L. Stine (Scholastic, Feb. 2016).
HBO’s adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks just gained some serious star power. It was just announced that Oprah Winfrey, who first signed the book in 2010, will also star in the film.
The book tells the sad but fascinating story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman from Baltimore who died in 1951. However, cancer cells removed from her body without her knowledge continue to be used in medical research. The book has been a fixture on best seller lists, spending a year on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list and another 2 years on the Paperback Nonfiction list, where it reappears regularly (most recently at #15 on the May 1, 2016 extended list).
People reports that Oprah will play Deborah Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter and the character through whom the story is told in the book. According to Variety, “with Winfrey attached to star [the project] has been put on the fast-track with filming beginning this summer.”
Skloot will serve as a co-executive producer and Henrietta Lacks’ sons, Zakariyya Rahman and David Lacks, Jr. and granddaughter Jeri Lacksare, will serve as consultants.