Features
15 Upcoming Book Adaptations


Date Posted: 13 February 2014


"The Book Thief" is a heart-warming adaptation of World War 2 seen through the eyes of young girl.

Adaptations are hardly a new thing anymore when movie makers have been looking at the large bodies of literary works as a wellspring for their next project, or studio execs hunting for the next major franchise. In some cases, adaptations are even worth looking forward to when a revered director picks up a challenging piece of literature to be made onto the big screen to generate a new piece of work that adds new depths or perspectives to the original work (see "Life of Pi" for an example).

With the recent adaptation of Markus Zusak's "The Book Thief" by Brian Percival, we look at 15 other upcoming books being adapted, among many others, that you might want to spend time snuggling with before getting comfortable in your cinema seat when they arrive.

Divergent

In a dystopian future where society is divided into five factions according to a set of virtues; Candor (the Honest), Abnegation (the Selfless), Dauntless (the Brave), Amity (the Peaceful) and Erudite (the Intelligent), all children who come of age must select one of these faction that will determine their role in society for life. When it is time for Beatrice Prior to make her choice, she is torn between the ones she loves and who she is really meant to be, and makes a decision that will not only unravel society's structure but change the lives of those around her and her own.

Riding on the wave of young adult novels being adapted into blockbuster franchise, this 2011 debut novel of Veronica Roth has been gaining strong attention as possibly the next contender to take over once "The Hunger Games" series is over. Neil Burger of "Limitless" will be directing this adaptation, with Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants" & "The Spectacular Now") playing the role as Beatrice and Theo James ("Underworld: Awakening" & "The Inbetweeners") as the mysterious Four.

Far From the Madding Crowd

"Far From the Madding Crowd" is a classic novel by author Thomas Hardy from 1874 that tells the tale of Bathsheba Everdene, and her love affair with three different men as she searches for the one that will give her the perfect marriage and true happiness.

This highly engrossing piece of literature was first to be adapted by David Nicholls before the directing duty was passed to Thomas Vinterberg, who is most recently known for making "The Hunt". Carey Mulligan ("The Great Gatsby" & "Inside Llewyn Davis") would star as the headstrong Bathsheba, with Michael Sheen ("Midnight in Paris"), Tom Sturridge ("On the Road"), and Matthias Schoenaerts ("Rust and Bone") as the three suitors.

The Fault in Our Stars

Despite experiencing a medical miracle that has shrunk her tumour, Hazel Grace Lancaster would never be able to run away from her imminent end at her young age, nor leave behind the oxygen tank as her constant companion. When she meets Augustus Waters from a cancer support group, their lives would be rewritten where they least expect it to be.

While the premise sounds like another corny cancer drama, this adaptation of John Green's most heartbreaking novel has been one of the most highly anticipated adaptations of the year. Directed by Josh Boone, who is making his second feature after "Stuck In Love", this is also the second adaptation that would be led by Shailene Woodley on our list as the terminal Hazel, and Ansel Elgort as Augustus. Our only advice is bring plenty of tissues when you are going to see this in June.

The Giver

Jonas is a child who lives in an utopian society where humans no longer experience any pain, suffering and hatred for one another so that there no conflicts such as war. Upon his initiation for being 12 years of age, he is selected to be trained as 'The Giver'; the holder of memories before humanity was united in peace. Learning the price of bringing about this peace, Jonas is given the opportunity to decide for humanity whether it is better to stay in ignorance and in bliss or release the lost emotions that could bring back old dangers.

The setting of this novel by Lois Lowry makes for an interesting high concept sci-fi material that would definitely spark some debate over its themes. This adaptation has some serious talents standing behind it with Phillip Noyce ("Salt") as the director and powerhouse performers Meryl Streep ("August: Osage County"), Jeff Bridges ("The Big Lebowski"), Katie Holmes ("Batman Begins") and Alexander Skarsgård ("The East") having significant roles supporting behind Brenton Thwaites as Jonas. Oddly enough, even Taylor Swift is making an appearance here.

Gone Girl

On the fifth wedding anniversary of Nick and Emily Dunne, Emily suddenly disappears never to be found again. When the police investigation finds circumstantial evidence that points towards Nick's involvement in her disappearance, Nick is thrown into a deadly game of lies, deceit and mystery if he wants to prove his innocence...or is he?

Following up after the tense adaptation of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", David Fincher returns to make another adaptation from Gillian Flynn's chilling thriller that has become anticipated by her readers and fans of Fincher's work. With Ben Affleck ("Argo") and Rosamund Pike ("Jack Reacher") being in the lead as the husband and wife, this is certainly shaping up to be a contender when award season arrives. What set this adaptation apart, however, is a completely new resolution that is written by Flynn herself whilst filming, so even those who had finished the book will be eager to know what happens here.

Here Be Monsters

Arthur is a underground resident of Ratbridge, who gets wind of a plot by Archibald Snatcher to control the town or destroy it. By enlisting the aid of the boxtrolls, cabbageheads and a frustrated inventor, Arthur leads them to save the town before it is too late.

Retitled as 'The Boxtrolls' and having most of its narrative adjusted (like turning Arthur's name to Eggs), this adaptation of Alan Snow's illustrated children's novel would be the next project from the stop-motion masters of Laika since 2012's "Paranorman". While this is the stop motion directorial debut for co-directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, we are looking forward to the voice cast of Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg and Ben Kingsley to bring the boxtrolls to life.

Vampire Academy

As a half human and half vampire, or a dhampir, it is Rosemarie Hathaway's obligation to serve as a bodyguard to the full-blooded Moroi vampire Vasilisa Dragonmir, who is also the princess to the peaceful clan of vampires that has lived amongst humans. After being dragged back to the St. Vladimir's Academy boarding school, Rose and Lisa must learn to survive in this unforgiving educational environment with its many secrets, and members of the violent Strigoi vampires.

Ever since the waning of the "Twilight" series, there hasn't been a bona-fide vampire novel series that has been able to take its place into becoming a blockbuster smash that would have gothic fangirls flying to the cinemas. This adaptation of the first book from Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series is the next in line to make that attempt, with Mark Waters ("Mean Girls") at the helm directing from the screenplay adapted by Daniel Waters ("Batman Returns). Zoey Deutch ("Beautiful Creatures") will play Rose and newcomer Lucy Fry will make her feature debut as Lissa, while Russian actor Danila Kozlovsky will charm his way as Rose's mentor Dimitri Belikov.

The Hundred Foot Journey

Hassan Haji and his family have just moved into the small French village of Lumière where they set up their Indian restaurant, just opposite about a hundred feet from the traditional French restaurant, run by Michelin-rated chef Madame Mallory. When the Haji's spicy delicacies become the talk of the town, Madame Mallory issues a culinary challenge to them to settle their rivalry once and for all. Thus begins Hassan's culinary journey of his life.

Adapted from Richard C. Morais's best-selling novel, this one smells like the "Life of Pi" of culinary movies. With the tremendous backing of DreamWorks and Oprah Winfrey, an adaptation written by Steven Knight ("Eastern Promises", "Hummingbird") that will be directed by Lasse Hallström ("Chocolat", "Hachiko"), and Helen Mirren ("The Queen", "Red") in the leading role with Om Puri ("The Reluctant Fundamentalist") and Manish Dayal ("Breaking the Girls"), we are looking to have our appetites whet for a heartmoving drama that would give us a taste across boundaries.

Labor Day

When a bleeding stranger approaches little Henry for help during one Labor Day weekend in 1987, little did he and his emotionally damaged mother Adele know that they would be taken as hostage in their own home by an escaped convict. However, as trust begins to build between the unwanted captor and his captives, Henry slowly finds the man teaching him life lessons from a father he never had that would help him to mature into the man he is today.

Since its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival last year, this written and directed adaptation of Joyce Maynard's novel by Jason Reitman has generated small buzz as his next piece since "Young Adult". Why it never went on to win much critical acclaim in the awards season, when you have Josh Brolin ("Oldboy", "No Country for Old Men") and Kate Winslet ("Carnage", "Revolutionary Road") as the leads, is the reason why we want to see it when it reaches our cinemas.

A Long Way Down

Four strangers meet on the top of what is called Topper's House, a favourite spot in London where lost souls have come to bring an end to their miserable existence by making that final leap. As the three Brits and the one lonely American share their different walks of life that brought them up to this point, they must decide whether they would take the long way down, or get back on their feet.

This adaptation of Nick Hornby's fourth novel that has been described as 'a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life' reminds us of our locally produced and made "KIL" from last year. While it is a subject that is not always to talk about, we like to see how director Pascal Chaumeil ("Heartbroken") deals with the subject matter, especially with a cast that has Rosamund Pike (her second appearance in our list), Aaron Paul ("Smashed"), Imogen Poots ("Fright Night), Toni Collette ("Little Miss Sunshine"), and Pierce Brosnan ("Love Is All You Need").

The Maze Runner

Thomas wakes up and finds himself at the Glade, where boys like him have been routinely sent without any recollection of where they came from or who are they. Bordering the Glade is a stone wall maze where its doors are opened during the morning and shut tight at night. While Thomas tries to figure out the mysterious purpose of the maze, a girl is delivered to the entrance of the Glade, who brings a message and hint that would bring freedom for everyone, if only Thomas could unlock the answer inside his head.

Another new young adult novel series in waiting to take over the throne after "The Hunger Games", what's more interesting to us is that this one features a male protagonist rather than the strong women we have met so far in "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent". Director Wes Ball makes his feature length debut with this adaptation of James Dashner's first novel in his trilogy and has a rather unknown cast with Dylan O'Brien ("The First Time") as Thomas and Kaya Scodelario ("The Truth About Emanuel") as Teresa. Already delayed once from its original release date in February to September, this one is the underdog in the next big young adult race.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

After surviving and escaping from her second 'Hunger Games', the fires of rebellion against the Capitol have finally burst into roaring flames from all the Districts, but the Capitol is more than ready to exercise excessive force to quell this rebellion once and for all, and its inspiring upstart, Katniss Everdeen.

After a major cliffhanger end to "Catching Fire", the doors to the future of the Capitol are blown wide opened with this upcoming adaptation of the last book from Suzanne Collins' trilogy. This won't be the final installment in the cinematic series, however, as director Francis Lawrence has decided to take the "Twilight" route of splitting the books into two parts, the first of which would be released this year. Easily the most awaited next installment for a young adult novel series, we can't wait to have "Mockingjay Part 1" put us back in the world with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, where we last left off.

The Monuments Men

After the successful landing at Normandy on D-Day, seven soldiers advance deep behind enemy lines undetected. These aren't ordinary soldiers, however, with a special mission to stop Hitler. Their mission is not to assassinate the Nazi leader, but to secure, smuggle and save precious works of arts over the generations that have been confiscated by Nazi Germany before they are lost forever.

Not all the adaptations done this year are about high concept sci-fi, or tear-dripping drama, and this true account of the art curators, museum directors and historians in Robert M. Edsel's non-fictional book is here to show us that life is sometimes bigger than the books. Directed by Georgle Clooney himself, who also stars in it with Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin ("The Artist") and a French-speaking Cate Blanchett, this one looks to be an inspiring winner even if it has forfeited its chances in last year's award race.

The Railway Man

Eric Lomax was a British prisoner of war during World War II when the Japanese have captured Singapore. Aside from having to go through rigourous amounts of torture and cruel treatment by a Japanese officer, Lomax manages to survive as one of the few prisoners who were forced to build a railway track from Thailand all the way to Burma. By the end of the war, Lomax returns home to England but is deeply traumatised and scarred by the cruelty that have shaped him, leading to a crushing spiral on his sanity, and his marriage. In order to overcome his demons, Lomax begins a search to find the man responsible for who he is today so that he may put his past to rest.

Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky ("Burning Man"), with Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") as Lomax, Nicole Kidman as his distraught wife and Hiroyuki Sanada as Officer Nagase, this one hits closer to home for us as it is set during the time of the Japanese occupation in Southeast Asia during World War II, yet we seldom hear any stories about the atrocities being committed and the suffering that the men who defended our soil have been through. Aside from its relevance, we would gladly endorse any story about forgiveness and letting bygones be bygones, even when put through the most harrowing experience that we do to each in other during times of war.

Winter's Tale

On one cold day at the turn of the 20th century, Peter Lake stumbles onto Beverly Penn, a dying heiress of a vast fortune, while he was breaking into her home where they fell in love. After she dies from her illness, Lake goes on the run from the ruthless gang leader Pearly Soames, only to later find powers that could reunite him with his lost love.

Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind", "Cinderella Man") makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of the 1983 novel by Mark Helprin, that has been a dream project of Goldsman. Colin Farrell will take the lead as Peter Lake, while Jessica Brown Findlay ("Downtown Abbey") will play as the love-sick interest Beverly Penn. We can get excited with Russell Crowe being the pursuing Pearly Soames, as long as he does open his mouth with song. With its widespanding elements of reincarnation, magical beasts and true love, this is one epic love story that will last through lifetimes.

Writer: Casey Lee



Related Movies
Divergent (20 Mar 2014)
The Monuments Men (20 Feb 2014)
The Maze Runner (11 Sep 2014)
The Book Thief (13 Feb 2014)
The Fault In Our Stars (17 Jul 2014)
Gone Girl (11 Dec 2014)
Vampire Academy (13 Feb 2014)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (20 Nov 2014)


Poll
Which of these giant film franchise(s) is/are your favourite ? [View Poll]