Filmmakers have long turned to novels as a consistent source of inspiration. Over the past few decades, the phenomenon has taken on a life of it’s own with a slew of record-breaking, billion dollar franchises like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games (which continue to find new fans on iTunes and DTV). Recent films such as The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay point to the continued and bankable success of YA novels on the big screen.
But the books-as-movies concept isn’t just for kids: some very adult books have also reached blockbuster status, 50 Shades of Grey and Gone Girl being two prominent examples. Any fears associated with film adaptations of beloved literary tales have faded in favor of mass audience approval and enormous payouts. If you’ve been to the theater recently you’ll know that this trend of big budget book adaptations shows no sign of stopping anytime soon – so lets look at some more books that have been optioned for films and see if we’ve got another blockbuster hit in our midst.
This purchase of the book rights to the successful Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer by Disney was made back in 2013. They grabbed Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and Robert De Niro to produce the film, which was to be adapted to a screenplay by one of the Harry Potter series’ screenwriters; Michael Goldenberg. They made the same announcement that they were in pre-production earlier this year as well, so it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing the film hit theaters for a year or two yet.
This dark, high school version of Groundhog Day penned by Maria Maggenti was released in 2010, and Fox optioned it for a film almost immediately. It’s a promising page-to-screen adaptation because Maggenti herself is likely to be the screenwriter; given her past employment as one in both film and television we can expect to see her working on this film and ensuring it stays true to the story. The film hasn’t gotten past the development stage yet, but they’ve announced a director, Gina Price-Bythewood, so it appears it’s still moving forward.
The horror classic by Mary Shelley has been reinterpreted as Victor Frankenstein, set to hit theaters this October. While the film follows the premise set by the book, it’s instead told from Igor’s perspective (played by Daniel Radcliffe). We get to see his back story, the difficulties of his life, and how he came to meet and work alongside Victor Von Frankenstein (James McAvoy). We also get to see the Harry Potter star in an array of great Victorian era costumes.
Inferno & The Lost Symbol
Following the success of his previous books and films (The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons) author Dan Brown is at it again with Inferno. The book again follows Professor Robert Langdon (played again by Tom Hanks) as he explores Florence and the mysteries surrounding Dante’s Inferno. It’s already predicted to be another heart-pounding adventure through time, expertly crafted by director Ron Howard and set for an October 2016 release.
Never to settle for the minimum, Brown’s fourth book focusing on Robert Langdon, The Lost Symbol has also been optioned for a movie. While not many details about the film are known, the crew is switching it up by replacing Howard’s directing with that of Mark Romanek. Howard will still produce, however, and Danny Strong will adapt the book into a screenplay.
The Jungle Book
Continuing in their tradition of remaking their classic cartoons into live-action films, Disney is taking their adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s children’s classic “live” (with the addition of CGI animals). Newcomer Neel Sethi is slated to appear as Mowgli while the voices of his jungle friends will be provided by such stars as Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Billy Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken. It’s set to be released in 3-D in April of 2016.
Not surprisingly, Hollywood has proven to be quite the voracious reader. Because there’s no better place to find inspiration than the library, there are even more books headed for the big screen as we speak. It would appear that as long as authors keep writing, Hollywood will keep calling!