Archive for the ‘Books & TV’ Category

Saunders To Silver Screen

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

Lincoln in the BardoMegan Mullally (Will & Grace, Infinity Baby) and husband Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, The Founder), have bought the film rights George Saunders’s NYT bestseller, Lincoln in the Bardo (PRH/RH; RH Audio/BOT; Overdrive Sample).

The couple will produce alongside the author. Both worked on the audiobook version with him.

I am thrilled to be in artistic cahoots with Megan and Nick, two artists I’ve long admired,” Saunders told Deadline Hollywood, “This is going to be big fun. My hope is that we can find a way to make the experience of getting this movie made as wild and enjoyable and unpredictable as the experience of writing it — I am so happy to have such fearless companions on the trip.”

The A.V. Club points to the challenges facing the adaptation, “The book has more than 150 narrators … then there’s the matter of the archival texts intercutting the musings of Willie and his new neighbors. And that’s all before you get into those neighbors’ appearances.” However, the producers have already dealt with those issues for the audiobook version.

MIDNIGHT, TEXAS Premiere Date

Monday, March 20th, 2017

The NBC series adapting Charlaine Harris’s Midnight, Texas trilogy will air in late summer. It will introduce viewers to the world Bustle calls “Twin Peaks with vampires” on Tuesday, July 25, 10-11 p.m.

François Arnaud (The Borgias) stars as Manfred, described by Deadline as “a charming, powerful psychic who can communicate with spirits and finds safety in Midnight [the fictional town in Texas] surrounding himself with both human and supernatural allies.” Dylan Bruce (Orphan Black), Parisa Fitz-Henley (Luke Cage), Arielle Kebbel (The Vampire Diaries), Jason Lewis (Sex and the City), Peter Mensah (True Blood), Sarah Ramos (Parenthood), and Yul Vazquez (Captain Phillips) are also in the cast.

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The trilogy includes:

Midnight Crossroads (PRH/Ace, 2014; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

Day Shift (PRH/Ace, 2015; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

Night Shift (PRH/Ace, 2016; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

Tor. com gives the summary:

“the story is wacky, ya’ll. Immensely wacky, but, like, in a fun way. Midnight Crossroad starts off as a book about a pawnshop owner’s dead girlfriend and turns into a murder conspiracy involving white supremacists. Day Shift is ostensibly about the suspicious circumstances in which one of Manfred’s clients [he is the psychic] dies and ends up with a pack of weretigers wandering through town and vampires hunting a telepath visiting his grandpappy. Night Shift goes from people and animals killing themselves at the crossroads to a magic sex ritual with a pitstop at a subplot with a hangry Etruscan-literate vampire.”

A new trailer adds a bit more to first one, released in October:

AMERICAN GODS: New Trailer

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

9780062572233_d8645Starz’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods premieres on Sunday, April 30, 2017. A just-released new trailer is making news, and is now #1 YouTube.

Entertainment Weekly says it is “full of gorgeous fantasy imagery and gothic drama.” The Verge notes it is the “most extensive and violent look yet [and it] gives a better idea of the stakes: the older gods face an existential crisis, and Shadow will help with the fight.” RollingStone gives more specific warnings, “The teaser also showcases some disturbing … visuals: bloody beaches, rain pouring on corpses, eerie caves and a zombie-like woman walking down a picturesque suburban street while clutching her chopped-off arm.”

Tie-ins hit shelves in late March: American Gods, Neil Gaiman (HC/William Morrow; also in mass market;HC Audio; OverDrive Sample).

GOT Fans, Summer Is Coming

Friday, March 10th, 2017

HBO has set July 16 as the premiere date for season seven of Game of Thrones, based on the series of books by George R.R. Martin.

Also released is a teaser trailer:

The clip features the symbols of the major houses in the series breaking apart while some of the most ominous dialogue from past seasons is replayed. Then viewers hear a new line from character Jon Snow: “There is only one war that matters. The Great War. And it is here,” referring to the White Walkers, the undead threatening the entire world.

HBO pushed the premiere back from its traditional spring start date to allow more time for the production. In addition, they will shoot just seven episodes rather than the usual ten. Back in April of last year, showrunner D.B. Weiss told Variety that the series is “crossing out of a television schedule into more of a mid-range movie schedule.”

The release date was announced in a Facebook Live event that required viewers to watch a block of ice melt before the date was revealed. Entertainment Weekly reports it took over an hour and that “millions likely tuned in overall at some point.”

The TV series is now out of phase with the books. Tie-ins were released for the first five seasons of the HBO series, but none were released for season six because Martin had not yet completed the sixth book, Winds of Winter. A release date for that book still has not been announced and, as Entertainment Weekly speculates, it is unlikely to arrive before the beginning of season seven. They add, “HBO is also exploring ideas for launching a potential prequel series based on the world created by George R.R. Martin.”

Hitting Screens, Week of February 27

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Debuting this week is a major TV documentary, a heavily anticipated adaptation of a YA novel, and the film version of a long-running inspirational best seller.

9780316315432_50365When We Rise airs on ABC starting Feb. 27 in a two-hour premiere. Gus Van Sant directs this chronicle of the LGBTQ community’s civil rights movement. Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, created the project, inspired in part by Cleve Jones’s memoir When We Rise: My Life in the Movement (Hachette; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

It runs for eight hours over four nights. The large cast includes Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Michael K. Williams, and Rachel Griffiths.

Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+, writing, “It’s a story of a marginalized people who deserve to be recognized, a history we all need to know and own, presented as potent mainstream television.” The LA Times calls it “powerful and moving.” USA Today says it is “overly ambitious But goodness: Scattered within this history of the battle for gay rights are moments of great power and lessons of great importance, as it pays homage to a struggle that too frequently has been ignored by mainstream television — and has yet to be fully won.”

There is no tie-in but the hardback edition of Jone’s book now has a sticker connecting it to the show.

9780062656322_25b35Before I Fall opens on March 3. It is an adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s debut YA novel, the best seller Before I Fall (HarperCollins, 2010).

Directed by Ry Russo-Young (Nobody Walks), the film stars Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy), Halston Sage (Goosebumps), Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, The L Word).

Variety calls it “impressively stylish” and says it “forgoes the overlit Disney Channel look, embracing a cooler, steely-blue aesthetic that’s more in line with such bygone cult faves as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars — plus, it unfolds in that post-Judy Blume space where it’s OK to broach such touchy issues as teen suicide and contraception.”

The Hollywood Reporter says “this neatly written Heathers-meets-Groundhog Day high-concept package delivers both technical polish and a toothsome yet likeable cast. Better still, it has just enough tragic edge to draw young adults, and young-at-heart adults, with melancholy temperaments.”

Tie-in: Before I Fall Movie Tie-in Edition, Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

MV5BMjI1MjkzMjczMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDk4NjYyMTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,676,1000_AL_Logan is the 10th X-Men movie and the final Wolverine solo film. It opens on March 3 and stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Dafne Keen.

USA Today calls it an “excellent adventure” and says the series ender is a “super sendoff … going out very much on top.” Entertainment Weekly, not as big a fan, gives it a B- and says it is “a high-octane action flick with a protect-the-cub emotional subtext.”

It is not a pure adaptation of the comics, but rather inspired by them. We wrote earlier about one tie-in, Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Mark Millar, illustrated by Steve McNiven (Hachette/Marvel; OverDrive Sample).

9781455567607_12df3William P. Young’s 2007 self-published inspirational blockbuster, The Shack, (later picked up by Hachette/Grand Central; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) has had a long road to the silver screen, but it is finally arriving on March 3.

The film stars Sam Worthington (Avatar), as a father who has lost is faith in the face of unspeakable tragedy. Octavia Spencer (The Help) plays God. Grammy winner Tim McGraw stars as well, alongside Radha Mitchell.

There are few reviews yet but there are multiple tie-ins: The Shack, Wm. Paul Young (Hachette/Windblown Media; Blackstone Audio;  OverDrive Sample; also in mass market). The novel is currently #4 on the NYT combined Fiction best seller list.

9780765326225 The TV series adaptation of Time After Time, based on the 1979 time travel novel by Karl Alexander, as well its earlier film version, will premiere in a 2-hour episode on March 3 on ABC.

The book features author H.G. Wells who creates an actual version of the apparatus featured in his novel The Time Machine, which is used by Jack the Ripper to escape to 1970’s era San Francisco, with Wells on his heels.

For the TV series, the US location was changed to present-day New York. Early reviews are not great. IGN says it “gets off to a bland start that doesn’t inspire much confidence in what’s to come.” Slash Film writes “What’s frustrating about the pilot is that it refuses to deviate from a story that most viewers wouldn’t be disappointed in seeing altered.”

No tie-in has been scheduled, but the book is still available, in a 2010 paperback reprint (Macmillan/Forge Books; OverDrive Sample).

AMERICAN GODS, Premiere Date

Friday, February 24th, 2017

9780062572233_d8645The Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is set to begin airing on Sunday, April 30 at 9 pm.

The first of the eight-episode series, titled “The Bone Orchard,” will be directed by David Slade (Breaking Bad, Hannibal).

Gaiman recently told WSJ Video that the eight shows will cover just a third of the book. He also said there will be characters and stories not in the novel and that a number of things only implied or hinted at in the book will get full episodes. He says the adaption is “really impressive” and that the showrunns have done a “remarkable job.”

Starz also released the series’ key art, to be featured on posters and in ads, as well as on the  tie-in cover, to be released on March 28. American Gods [TV Tie-In], Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins/Morrow; also in mass market).

 

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 Saoirse 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). 

Droughtlander Continues
through Summer

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

9780440217565_2448bFor two seasons viewers have learned to expect the Starz’s TV series Outlander to begin in April. Not this year. It will debut in September.

Entertainment Weekly reports season 3, based on Voyager (PRH/Delacorte, 1993), will run for 13 episodes and that shooting has moved from Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa to “the former sets of the Starz series Black Sails.” For those who do not know the books, part of the action of Voyager involves pirates and takes place on ships as Jamie and Claire travel to the West Indies.

Carmi Zlotnik, President of Programming at Starz, said “While Droughtlander will last just a little longer, we feel it is important to allow the production the time and number of episodes needed to tell the story of the Voyager book in its entirety … The scale of this book is immense, and we owe the fans the very best show. Returning in September will make that possible.”

A specific release date has not been announced. A tie-in edition also has not been announced.

HENRIETTA LACKS, Premiere Date

Friday, February 17th, 2017

9781400052172_1e7daHBO just announced that their adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s long-running bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, will begin airing on Sunday, April 22 at 8 p.m.

Oprah Winfrey stars as Deborah Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter and the character through whom the story is told. Rose Byrne (Damages) plays Skloot. Others in the cast include Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) and Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story). George C. Wolfe (Angels In America) wrote the adaptation and will direct.

The book recounts the sad but fascinating story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman from Baltimore who died in 1951. Johns Hopkins Hospital removed cancer cells from her body without her permission  They were the first cells to live outside a human body, making them invaluable for medical research. They continue to be used today.

The story is in the news again for reasons other than the HBO series. The Lacks family is suing Johns Hopkins. Lacks’s  grandson explains to The Baltimore Sun “Everyone else is making funds off of Henrietta’s cells … I am sure my grandmother is up in heaven saying, ‘Well, what about my family?‘”

A fixture on best seller lists, the book spent a year on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list and over four on the Paperback Nonfiction list, falling off that list just a couple of weeks ago. 

9780804190107_07eacTie-in: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Movie Tie-In Edition), Rebecca Skloot (PRH/Broadway Books; March 28, 2017; OverDrive Sample).

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.”

TROLLHUNTERS Gets
Second Season

Friday, February 10th, 2017

9781368012188_c69c4Netflix has renewed its hit animated show Trollhunters for a second 13-episode season.

Entertainment Weekly says it is “a bingeable creation” that is “shaping up to be its most-watched children’s series ever.”

The show is based on the novel of the same name, written by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus, illustrated by Sean Murray (Hachette/Disney-Hyperion; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

The series is described by EW as following the adventures of “a teenager-turned-warrior called upon by an underground civilization of trolls to defend their way of life from both humans and evil trolls alike.”

It stars the late Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the new Star Trek movies, before his death. Del Toro, who is serving as the show runner, filled in some of Yeltsin’s parts with previously recorded tracks and has more audio in the wings. The cast also includes Kelsey Grammer (Frasier, Transformers: Age of Extinction), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead).

Season one premiered in December and earned a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. To accompany it, the paperback edition of the book was released, with a sticker identifying it as, “the book that inspired Dreamworks TrollHunters.”

The book itself also got strong reviews. School Library Journal says “Featuring plenty of edge-of-your-seat action, this offering … won’t disappoint … More gruesome than scary, this title will be a hit with teens and adults who love action-packed, dark fantasy adventures.”

OUT OF AFRICA: From Big Screen To Small

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

9780679600213Isak Dinesen’s memoir Out of Africa (PRH/Modern Library; BOT; OverDrive Sample), made famous on the big screen by Sydney Pollack’s 1995 multiple Oscar-winning film starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, is in development, reports Deadline, as a TV series.

Some big names are involved. Producer David Heyman (Harry Potter, Gravity) is working on the adaptation for NBCUniversal with Emmy winning director Susanne Bier (The Night Manager).

Dinesen’s classic memoir, written under the pseudonym Karen Blixen [Correction: As pointed out in the comments, it’s the other way around. Dinesen was the pseudonym], recounts her years living on a farm in Kenya during the twilight of the British Empire. Heyman says “the long form series offers us the chance to explore not only Karen’s world, but also the perspective of the Kenyans she encounters.”

Time magazine listed the book at #62 on their list of 100 best and most influential works of nonfiction written since 1923, saying:

“Her memoir depicts the close relationships she fostered among the men who worked for her, giving African characters a complexity and dignity not found in other colonial texts. The occasional brutality and profound loss that characterize colonial life do not overshadow the serenity with which Blixen-Finecke writes, fostering wanderlust in anyone who reads her book.”

It’s part of a trend of adapting popular films  to TV, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Recent examples include “redos of Lethal Weapon, The Exorcist, Training Day and Taken.”

Seeing Red

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

The first promo for the Netflix adaptation of the childrens classic Anne of Green Gables, was released at a press event yesterday reports Entertainment Weekly. It begins with images of other redheaded stars from the streaming service, including Stranger Things‘ Barb and Orange Is the New Black‘s Red.

Perhaps that’s an effort to signal that this Anne, despite her 1908 setting, is relevant to today. Netflix says the production, created with the CBC, will explore topics beyond Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel, “Anne and the rest of the characters will experience adventures reflecting timeless issues including themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.”

Showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) tells CBC News, “I feel that this Anne is entirely different … We’re off-book. We’re the essence of the book … and we’re telling a new story … This is a very grounded, real version of the story. Life in Prince Edward Island in the late 1800s was a hard, gritty, scrappy life. It was messy, it was covered in red mud … It’s not doilies and teacups, it’s life.”

Praising the relatively unknown 14-year-old star, Irish-Canadian actress Amybeth McNulty, Walley-Beckett says she is “riveting on screen, She’s translucent. You can see every thought and every emotion.” 

The eight-episode first season debuts on May 12. No tie-in has been announced, but the book is in print in multiple editions from various publishers.

TV Hearts Charlaine Harris

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

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The small screen has been very good to Charlaine Harris. She became a best selling author after HBO’s adaptation of her True Blood series, her Aurora Teagarden mysteries are an ongoing series of Hallmark movies and yet another TV series, based on her Midnight, Texas titles,is currently in the works for NBC.

The network must be pleased with what they’ve seen so far. NBC just ordered a pilot for another series, to be based on Harris’s short story, Redliners.

Unable to find publication information for Redliners, we did what any smart organization does when they are stumped, we turned to a librarian, in this case Lesa Holstein, who blogs about mysteries at Lesa’s Book Critiques, and her reference sleuths at Evansville Indiana P.L.

They report that the description that Redliners “centers on a pair of former spies living in suburbia who get drawn back into the espionage game while trying not to blow their cover” matches a short story with a different title, “Small Kingdoms,” originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in November 2013 and reprinted in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2014, edited by Laura Lippman (HMH, 2014). That is confirmed in a post by her literary agent.

Award Winning Kids Books Get Adaptation Deals

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

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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.