Friday 11 March 2011

Novels Coming to the Big Screen

As an author, I am very excited about 2011 so far and where it seems to be headed. This is definitely one helluva year for novels. I mean, Harry Potter, the Twilight gang and Stieg Larsson aside, many popular books are receiving film treatments. This is most refreshing in light of all the remakes, reboots and sequels Hollywood has been churning out with all of the forethought of a greedy kid in a toy store. Now, I like a good reboot or a sequel just as much as the next fan, but I also love original material, especially when there are so many great books out there from which to choose.

So far this year we have seen the release of Matt Baglio’s The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins, Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth, aka The Eagle starring Channing Tatum, and Phillip K. Dick’s The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Coming up this month is Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer and Alan Glynn’s The Dark Fields aka Limitless. In April we have Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, while in May there’s Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed.

The Lincoln Lawyer

The Plot: An L.A. criminal defense attorney conducts business out of his Lincoln Town Car. His latest case takes a dark turn when he uncovers a startling secret that could cost him the bar and his life.

Stars Matthew McConaughey Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, John Leguizamo, Josh Lucas and Ryan Phillippe.

Directed by Brad Furman
Screenplay by John Romano

The 411...

McConaughey returns with a bang in this high intensity legal thriller. The buzz surrounding this has been very positive and Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, who wowed in The Wrestler, definitely looks like she brings the goods here. Add in the always brilliant Macey and this film looks like one hot must see. Author Michael Connelly is apparently pleased with the cast as well. In an interview on Amazon he noted "...the cast is just fantastic. As each was announced, I became more and more excited."

A burned out copy writer discovers a top-secret drug that endows him with super-human intelligence and personality. As his addiction grows, he ignores all the dangerous side effects until his life unravels and he begins to see the terrifying truth behind the drug’s creation.

Stars Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Abbie Cornish, Andrew Howard and Anna Friel.

Directed by Neil Burger
Screenplay by Leslie Dixon

The 411...

Shia LaBeouf was originally supposed to star, but Cooper replaced him when he injured his arm in a car accident. Early buzz is mixed, but the premise is intriguing. What would you do if, with the help of a little pill, you could use 100% of your brain? The possibilities are endless...

Water for Elephants
Jacob Jankowski is a veterinary student who abandons his studies after his parents are killed. He joins a circus as the animal caretaker and soon finds himself at odds with the cruel head trainer.

Stars Robert Pattinson, Oscar winners Christoph Waltz and Reese Witherspoon along with Hal Holbrook and James Frain.

Directed by Francis Lawrence
Screenplay by Richard LaGravenese

The 411...

Robert Pattinson is supposed to be stepping up his post-Twilight game, but that remains to be seen. The brutal side of life under the Big Top juxtaposes an improbable love story and with a cast that includes Oscar winners Witherspoon and Waltz, this looks like it just might be a great film.

Something Borrowed
Rachel White, consummate good girl, is really starting to resent her best friend Darcy. The woman has it all; including a hot fiancé that Rachel is in love with. When Rachel knocks back a few and winds up in bed with said fiancé, the last thing she expects is for him to confess similar feelings for her.

Stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski. Colin Egglesfield

Directed by Luke Greenfield
Screenplay by Jennie Snyder

The 411...

Kate Hudson just doesn't get tired of rom coms does she? Though this sounds more interesting than her last outings, this film looks to be just okay and more of a vehicle for Ginnifer Goodwin. It's an intriguing twist, though, with cheaters as sympathetic characters.

Other novels coming to life on film later this year include Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, starring Gianna Jun and Hugh Jackman, as well as the 1938 classic, Mr. Popper's Penguins, starring Jim Carrey and Carla Gugino. What novels do you know of coming to the big screen? Do you like seeing a favorite book in a different medium? What novel would you like to see get a film treatment?


Dempsey Sanders said...

First congrats on your first co-editor post, love having you.
I really enjoyed reading this, interesting to know Shia Le Beof was originally intended instead of Bradley Cooper, and yes Kate certainly loves the rom coms ha ha.

Done right some novels make great moives that the readers of the book enjoy come to see a-life, if I wanted to see a novel come to a movie - well I would love to see Maxie Briscoe werewolf.

great post

Dark-Blue-Jeans said...

Wow Mel, I have a lot to live up to when I post on here now lol!

Brilliant post, I like the way you skipped over Twilight and focused on the other great novels coming to the big screen, its refreshing to read something new. Look forward to reading more from you.


DEZMOND said...

They just published first pics from "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" this week, and I'm anxious to see that one.
I'll also watch SOMETHING BORROWED, since it seems super charming and the cast is great :)

JANE EYRE with Michael Fassbender and Judi Dench is also coming out this year.
And I've already watched EAGLE, and it was nice in that genre.

Unknown said...

yeah im waiting on limitless blu ray... looks good. nice post

Unknown said...

Aww thanks Dempsey, it's great to be a part of this with you and Ali. As for Maxie being a movie, well now that just made my entire week. :)

Christian James said...

I love to come back now and then to see what is going on with the 411, and Mel its so great to see you as a regular here!

I definately agree that it is refreshing to see some good Novels coming to the big screen instead of remakes and sequels. I can;t wait to see the Lincoln Lawyer.

Bravo Mel, toodles x

Unknown said...

Thank you so much, Ali! I am looking forward to reading your first post as I absolutely love your blog. You have such a witty style.

I knew Twilight and HP would be huge already and I love to give props to others. Different is the way to be. :)

Unknown said...

Hey Dez! I am dying to see Snow Flower and I'll check for those pics. Thanks! It is a great novel. And I'd forgotten about Jane Eyre. That is going to be a gorgeous film. Judi can do no wrong and I have a thing for Michael, he's so dashing and charismatic.

Something Borrowed will be a Netflix for me, though I do want to see it. Ginnifer is becoming a favorite of mine.

Unknown said...

Thanks Major_Mack! Limitless does have me intrigued. The novel reads like a good Twilight Zone ep.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much Christian. :) I am loving it here. I agree about seeing something different from the usual rehashed material. Variety rocks.

I want to see Lincoln Lawyer, myself. It's great to see McConaughey back as a lawyer. He plays one so well.

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

Dang. I'm just thinking about all those times I picked up Water for Elephants at the book store and then put it back. Guess this means I have to read it now.

The Swedish movie of Stieg Larsson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was so fantastic that I don't know how interested I'd be in a Hollywood. Some say that the film followed the book TOO closely and could have been shrunken down a lot. I guess that's what they'll do with the American version.

Most interested in the Lincoln Lawyer though, can't wait for that one! McConaughey is still dead sexy, I don't care how cliche it is to say that.

Pinecone Stew said...

Have a super weekend!!! Following.

M. Hufstader said...

I'm just looking forward to see Hans Landa beat the crap out of Edward (then again, I've never read the book, but the trailer implies some sort of epic fight scene). That is all. Great update with novel/movies!

FilmMattic said...

Dempsey—you and Melissa are on fire with these segments!

As always, great rundown Mel. Personally, I'm looking forward to The Lincoln Lawyer and Limitless (among the ones you highlighted).

And in terms of your premise, I agree. I think original material is always more compelling than reboots/remakes, etc. If a quality director can translate a solid book into an interesting film, it's all the more better.

Although, the counterpoint of this idea is that seldom does a film ever trump or precisely recreate the excellence of a novel. As an author, I'm sure you can attest to the reasons for this disconnect (most of which has to do with the constraints of a film vs. the freedom of a novel).

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

WOW! That's an amazing preview post, Mel! Good job. :)

With the exception of "Water for Elephants" /LOVE Waltz and Witherspoon!/, I'm not very interested in seeing the other three.

Matthew McConaughey is a mediocre actor in my book and I don't think he's capable of carrying a film on his shoulders. Plus, I hate the title :)

"Limitless" looks okay, but the cast is kinda uninteresting.

Didn't know a thing about "Something Borrowed", but I hope it will be a decent adaptation.

Unknown said...

@GirlWhoLovesHorror I'm interested in Lincoln Lawyer myself. McConaughey always plays great lawyers.

Water for Elephants was an eloquent and poignant read. If you get a chance to read it, do.

Unknown said...

@Harry Goaz Thank you! And you have a wonderful weekend as well.

Unknown said...

M Hufstader, don't worry if they stay true to the book, Edward will get knocked around by Landa. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Matt. Thought-provoking as always,, my friend. I agree with the novel having more freedom aspect. There are always constraints with a film as well as adding in the creative visions of many different personalities.

As an author, I'm excited to see how someone else would take my story and interpret it. It's part of the inherent reading experience. No one will ever see my story exactly as I envision, but when they see something in there unique to them, that sparks their creative journey, that makes me happy.

Unknown said...

George, thank you sweetie. I love Waltz and Witherspoon as well. They are incredible. I'm very excited about this film.

I liked the novel, The Lincoln Lawyer and though I would agree with you on McConaughey for the most part, I do think he shines in legal dramas.

I think Limitless would have suffered with Shia in there; Cooper sparks it. I'm interested to see how he plays with De Niro.

Movies on my Mind said...

Wouldn’t you say movie adaptations of literary works are rather lacklustre of late? I mean, prized novels like ‘The Lovely Bones’, ‘The Road’ and some others that aren’t immediately coming to mind have been huge flops for the studios. Studios spend huge amounts on optioning these books while they’re only manuscripts and they fail to find an audience.

Even Brit films like ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and ‘Angus, Thongs’ failed. Is it the books themselves or the scripts that are falling short?

Is it the fact that modern day film goers are a bit thick and don’t like films of substance?

Jaccstev said...

Love the preview, Mel! Limitless sounds like the most intriguing one to me. I'm agree with Dezzy, "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" got a really nice poster.

Unknown said...

@Movies on My Mind You make some very valid points. I think it's a mistake when a studio options for film rights on a manuscript because it is an unproven story no matter how big the author is. Every Stephen King is not a NYT bestseller and they are taking a gamble.

Sometimes there are stories that will appeal as books, but won't as films. There are a million reasons why. Sometimes it is the script that falls short. Fans of the book are disappointed at how a studio translated the story.

As to whether or not film goers are thick and don't like substance, I can't say. The movie going audience is vast with tastes that run the gamut. There are stories that will hold a broader appeal like Harry Potter while others, like The Other Boleyn Girl, only appeal to a certain segment.

And it's not just the film industry that churns out the remakes, reboots, etc. The publishing industry repackages popular novels and big name authors all the time. Nora Roberts has shelves of her books in the stores, while mid list authors struggle to get even one of their titles included. And the industry has its lack of substance moments as well. Just look at the "novel" by Snooki from Jersey Shore.

Unknown said...

Hi Jaccstev, thanks! Limitless does sound very interesting. I'm curious to see how they translated the novel. I have to take a look at the pics from Snow Flower. I love the book and can't wait to see the film.

Unknown said...

I saw The Adjustment Bureau yesterday. I thought it was not bad, but way too naive. I wonder if the book is the same way.
Talking about books, I heard Jane Eyre is coming out soon. Can't wait to see that!

levian said...

i'm looking forward to catch water for elephants, since i had always been a huge fan of reese witherspoon. her acting are just so good, n being a beauty as she is, i'm sure she can lit up our screen for sure! :)

Unknown said...

Minoccio, I'm looking forward to Jane Eyre as well. I love Michael Fassbender.

Haven't seen Adjustment Bureau, yet, but I am a fan of the Philip K. Dick story and it was pretty hard-hitting.

Unknown said...

Levian, I love Reese, too, and am looking forward to seeing her in this. The book was phenomenal.

JL said...

Lincoln Lawyer I'm definitely looking forward too. Looks like it could make for a good legal thriller. And even more so, it looks like the return of the real actor version of Matthew (rather than the heartthrob version).

Limitless keeps growing on me each time I see more on it. I'll probably have to see it, though it may be one that waits until DVD.

Water for Elephants sounds like an interesting story. However, the use of Robert puts me off. I just don't like the guy. Then again, Christoph Waltz is in it whom I really enjoy seeing. So, I guess I'm kinda torn on that one.

The Adjustment Bureau is another I want to see. It's looking like reviews indicate it's not amazing like it could have been, but still should be a solid movie.

Unknown said...

JL, I'm not a fan of Robert's either, but Christoph and Reese have sold me on the film. Lincoln Lawyer should be cool as Matthew always plays a great lawyer.