“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.
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.
“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 Shiftis 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.”
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.
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.”
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.
When 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 Weeklygives 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.
Before 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.”
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).
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.
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.
The 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).
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.
The most famous and successful McEwan adaptation was 2007’s Atonement, starring 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).
For 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.
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.
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.
Also 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.
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 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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.