The setting is changed from the book’s London location to New York (thus, no images of gin and tonics in a can. In fact, the main character Rachel’s heavy drinking is only hinted at), but Emily Blunt keeps her British accent.
It may be hard to imagine, but three short stories by a Nobel-winning Canadian writers known for her modesty and the realism and psychological insight of her writing, have been adapted into a film by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, known for his flamboyance, splashy story telling and occasional use of surrealism.
The movie Julieta, was recently announced as an Official Selection for the Cannes Competition. It premiered in Spain earlier this month where, according to Deadline it was well-received and described as “a brilliant adaptation that lets you know you’re in the hands of a master.”
Based on three short stories from Munro’s collection Runaway (PRH/Knopf), about a Vancouver woman named Juliet Henderson, Almodovar moves the setting to Madrid and changes the character’s name to Julieta Diaz.
It is set to open in the UK in August; no US release date or tie-in has been announced.
Another cross-cultural adaptation in the competition is Korean director Park Chan-wook’s modernized version of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith (PRH/Riverhead) titled Agassi (The Handmaiden). The director talks about the changes he made to the novel in an interview in Variety.
A new deal between Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way and Paramount Pictures brings renewed attention to the long-simmering film adaptation of Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City(RH/Crown, 2003). Deadline reports that the movie, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring the actor could be “DiCaprio’s next major project.”
As we observed last August, the adaptation has had a long gestation period. Tom Cruise acquired the rights, planning to star, in 2003 but nothing came of it and DiCaprio bought the rights in 2010. It was not until screenwriter Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips) figured out a way to tell the book’s dual story that power players got behind the adaptation once again.
DiCaprio clearly likes book adaptations. His production company is currently at work on Live By Night, based on the Dennis Lehane novel and directed by Ben Affleck.
He has two other book adaptations in mind as well, Variety reports. One is based on the forthcoming YA post-apocalyptic novel Sandcastle Empire by debut author Kayla Olson, to be published by HarperTeen in the summer of 2017, according to the author’s website. Also in development is another long simmering project, a limited television series adaptation of A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Charles Lindbergh.
A caution, however, as The Guardian reports, “Appian Way is a serial purchaser of rights to promising Hollywood projects, not all of which see the light of day.”
The Jungle Book continues to earn stellar reviews and is set to open to acclaim this week. Writing for RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz sums up the general take:
“I saw the newest Disney version of The Jungle Book in the company of my enthralled 12-year old son, and there were moments when I envied him—but not too many, because the film is so surefooted in its effects, so precise and simple in its characterizations, and so clear about what it’s trying to say about the relationship between humanity and nature, that it made me feel about his age again, too. Maybe younger.”
If you aren’t aware of it, you’re not out of the loop. There hasn’t been a great deal of press coverage yet, even though the trailer got attention and Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of “20 of 2016’s Most Anticipated Book-to-Movie Adaptations.”
The film is directed by Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas) and stars Tom Hanks, Ben Whishaw, Tom Skerritt, and Sarita Choudhury. Based on Dave Eggers’s 2012 novel, a finalist for the National Book Award, it tells the story of a washed-out American salesman trying to change his fortunes with a deal out of Saudi Arabia.
The season six premiere of Game of Thrones airs on April 24th, finally putting an end to months of speculation over what is going to happen now that the TV series jumps ahead of George R.R. Martin’s novels. As a result, there is no tie-in for this season, with Martin writing that the next book will “be done when it’s done.”
With its eye on awards season, Disney has set a the release dates for Queen of Katwe, beginning with a limited release on Sept. 23, 2016, expanding to more theaters the next week. IndieWire comments that the “awards-friendly release date suggests that the studio is confident that the Uganda-set drama has strong potential to make its presence felt come awards season.” Perhaps next year, the Academy Awards will be a bit more diverse.
The film is based on Tim Crothers’s book, The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster (S&S/Scribner, 2012).
The book itself was based on Crothers’s ESPN The Magazine article which tells the true-life story of Phiona Mutesi who grew up in the slums of Kampala, Uganda to became a chess champion.
The film stars Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), David Oyelowo (Selma), and newcomer Madina Nalwanga. Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) directs.
Tie-ins (in trade, mass market, and audio) are forthcoming from S&S (currently planned for September). The regular paperback edition is still in print (Scribner, 2013, ISBN 9781451657821).
A trailer has not yet been released, but several documentary shorts have been made about Mutesi. Below is an example:
It provides much more detail about the setting and mood of the film than did the first trailer as well as a bit more information on the plot.
The screenplay was written by Rowling and the film stars Eddie Redmayne as magician Newt Scamander, as well as Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, and Katherine Waterston. It is directed by David Yates, who was responsible for 4 of the 7 original Potter films.
No tie-ins have been announced, but Warner Bros has agreements in place with Scholastic to “publish children’s movie tie-in books for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its sequels, as well as tie-in books based on the original eight Harry Potter films.” and for adult tie-ins with HarperCollins that “will delve into, and behind the scenes of, the richly textured film and its sequels to enhance fans’ enjoyment of the new stories. Books will include details about how the films were made, the process of art and design, interviews with the cast and crew, and interactive formats such as colouring and postcard books.”
The big news of the week for book-to-screen fans is the Sunday airing of Outlander season two on STARZ.
It has already received fairly strong reviews, based on the opening episodes critics were sent. Entertainment Weekly offered the least glowing praise, accompanied by a B grade. Variety and A.V. Club liked it much more, both deeming it important television.
For this week there are two adaptations to watch.
Hunters premieres on Syfy April 11th. The show combines thriller and SF in an alien conspiracy story, where the aliens are terrorists. Nathan Phillips (Snakes on a Plane) and Britne Oldford (American Horror Story: Asylum) star.
The 13-episode series is based on the Whitley Strieber novels. The first in the set, Alien Hunter, came out in a tie-in edition entitled Hunters (Macmillan/Tor Books) in late Feb. The second in the series is Alien Hunter: Underworld and the third, Alien Hunter: The White House, published on April 5th.
The Jungle Book, Disney’s live action/CGI adaptation, hits screens on April 15th. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s beloved story collection, this is Disney’s second take on the story. The animated version came out in 1967 and was the last film Walt worked on.
Reviews are already in and they are strong. Varietysays director “Jon Favreau brings a welcome lightness of touch to this visually immersive adventure story … the studio should have a substantial hit on its hands.”
Forbes calls it “a remarkable achievement” and says it is “every bit as visually splendid as you’re hoping it would be.”
The Telegraph says “Favreau’s film is a sincere and full-hearted adaptation that returns to Kipling for fresh inspiration, but also knows which elements of the animation are basically now gospel, and comes up with a respectful reconciliation of the two.”
The BBC project to adapt Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy as a TV series is getting closer to reality, starting with The Golden Compass.
Salon reports that Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, the producers behind Dr. Who, and the BAFTA-Award winning screenwriter Jack Thorne, who wrote Skins, The Fades, How I Live Now, and who has been tapped for the film version of The Sandman, are on board.
Saying that the trilogy “sits somewhere between The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter books, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series, and Paradise Lost,” Salon expects this team of creatives to produce something in line with Dr. Who, a “mix of cheeky, geeky, intense, and obsessive.”
The 2007 film, starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, was widely considered to have cut the meat from the rich story Pullman wrote, and plans for film sequels fizzled. With both producers and writer announced, the full TV series is one more step closer to an actual air date and critics seem more hopeful it will fulfill Pullman’s epic vision.
The first full trailer has just been released for Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s book, The BFG, (Macmillan/FSG YR).
Building off the teaser that came out in December, the trailer shows more of giant country, more giants, and some wonderfully enchanting special effects.
The film stars Mark Rylance, who just won an Oscar for his work in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, as the BFG, and newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, the girl he whisks away. Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Rafe Spall and Jemaine Clement also star.
The trailer has brought media coverage including Wired‘s take timed to key moments and this summary from USA TODAY: “it’s just as magical, just as emotional, and just as terrifying as the book we read when we were little.”
After years in development, the first trailer for
the movie adaptation of The Lost City of Z (RH/Doubleday;2009; OverDrive Sample) by David Grann has just been released. It stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller.
No release date has yet been announced, but it is expected to hit screens some time in this fall.
The book (Doubleday, Feb, 2009), grew out of a New Yorker articleby David Grann, about British explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in 1935 during an attempt to prove his claim that a highly sophisticated city, which he called the City of Z, was hidden in the Amazon jungle. At the time it was published, the NYT critic Michiko Kakutani gave it a rare rave, “at once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd … it reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage.” It topped most of the year’s best books lists.
Grann made Hollywood news recently for his upcoming book Killers Of The Flower Moon: An American Crime And The Birth Of The FBI (PRH/ Doubleday; 4/18/17; 9780385534246) which is currently the subject of a major auction. Grann described the book two years ago in a Reddit AMA:
It’s about the Osage Indians in Oklahoma. In the 1920s they became the richest people in the world after oil was discovered under their reservation. Then they began to be mysteriously murdered off—poisoned, shot, bombed–in one of the most sinister crimes in American history.
Oscar Isaac has joined the cast of the film adaptation of the Nebula Award-winning novel, Annihilation (Macmillan/FSG; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), which already includes Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson.
Alex Garland will direct. This project reunites Garland with Isaac, who starred in the director’s Ex Machina. Vanity Fair enthusiastically endorses the project, saying, it “was already shaping up to be another incredible bit of original, cerebral sci-fi long before Oscar Isaac joined the cast.”
Annihilation tells the story of Area X, an isolated landscape cut off from human occupation which nature has taken back. Previous expeditions to the area have been resulted in tragedy. A new all-female group, each is known not by name, but only by her profession, is set to try again. Natalie Portman plays the biologist, the story’s narrator, and Isaac will play the ghost of her dead husband, who was a member of a previous expedition.
Annihilation is the first book in The Southern Reach trilogy, completed by Authority and Acceptance, The news sent the book rising on Amazon’s sales rankings
Jane Austen fans, feast your eyes on the recently released trailer for the movie Love & Friendship.
Although it is based on an untitled novella published after Austen’s death as Lady Susan(available in several editions, including one from Penguin Classics), the movie uses the title of a different work by Austen, an early short story.
As we wrote earlier, the film is directed by Whit Stillman, described in an interview with Vanity Fair as “The cult director of contemporary and contemporary-ish Austen-inflected fare,” such as Metropolitanand The Last Days of Disco. It stars Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, with Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry and is set for release in theaters on May 13. followed by streaming via Amazon Prime.
Just one week after it was published, Harlan Coben’s novel,Fool Me Once, Harlan Coben (PRH/Dutton; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample) is on the way to the big screen with Julia Roberts set to produce, according to Deadline, and star as a former Army helicopter pilot who discovers something unsettling on her two-year old daughter’s nanny cam, images of her recently mudered husband.
Despite their cinematic qualities, only one of Coben’s novels has been adapted, the 2006 French film, Ne le dis à person(Tell No One). The rights to several others have been acquired, but are still listed as in development.