From Book to Film: Upcoming Adaptations

With the recent successes of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, more and more novels are being adapted for the big screen. The following books are all ones that have been optioned for films. Because film adaptations are always a gamble, I am curious to see how these will turn out.

(If nothing else, there seem to be quite a few more thrillers in our cinematic futures.)

—      —     —

Second Life by S.J. Watson

Julia, a wife and mother, is living a double life. After her sister’s brutal murder, Julia attempts to hunt down her killer. As she continues her search, she is drawn into a sordid world of sex, addiction, and obsession. It turns out that finding justice for her sister may come with a price.

Watson’s novel is being adapted by Warner Bros. and is in development.

Ashley’s War by Gayle Lemmon

Lemmon’s book tells the true story of the Cultural Support Team, a group of women U.S. Army Special Operations soldiers created in 2010 to undertake sensitive missions in Afghanistan. Though women were officially banned from combat, the members of the Cultural Support Team could be attached to military groups for various missions. In particular, the book follows the story of Lt. Ashley White.

Fox 2000 has the film rights for this book.

Luckiest Girl Alive.jpgLuckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Ani FaNelli is an ruthlessly ambitious women with a seemingly perfect life. But behind the armor that her expensive clothes and rich boyfriend provide, Ani hides a terrible secret about what happened when she was a student at a prestigious prep school.

Lionsgate will lead this film, and it is rumored that Reese Witherspoon will star in it.

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

When Wylie and Cassie get into a fight, Wylie doesn’t think that anything is out of the ordinary. Then Wylie receives a cryptic text from Cassie asking for help. Wylie can’t bring herself to refuse and finds herself being lured deeper and deeper into the woods with Cassie’s boyfriend. The further she goes, the more Wylie thinks that something isn’t right. Someone isn’t telling her everything.

The Outliers is currently being shopped for adaptation.

Napkin Notes by Garth Callaghan

When Garth Callaghan discovers that he has cancer, he swears that he will find a way to remain a meaningful part of his daughter’s life even if he dies. He finds inspiration in writing notes on napkins to put inside her lunchbox and creates enough of them to last her through high school.

New Line Cinema owns the film rights to this book.

In a dark dark wood.jpgIn a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Do you remember the old Halloween rhyme that began “In a dark, dark wood/There was a dark, dark house/And in the dark, dark house, there was a dark, dark room…?” Ware’s thriller plays with that idea along with the the promise that with every marriage, there has to be a murder.

New Line Cinema is handling this adaptation.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

A neighborhood barbecue seems like a great way for friends to catch up. Then disaster strikes. In the subsequent months, guilt and suspicion threaten to unravel even the strongest of relationships.

Pacific Standard and Blossom Films are coproducing this work.

The Dry by Jane Harper

When Aaron Falk returns to his hometown to investigate a murder-suicide, he discovers that the seemingly simple case may be more complicated than he thought. There is also the fact that Aaron and the perpetrator shared a secret that he thought was long buried. But secrets like that never really stay hidden.

The adaptation for The Dry is currently being developed.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Death does strange things to the living. After her friend drowns, Suzy is convinced that it must be the result of a rare jellyfish sting, and she goes to the ends of the Earth to prove it.

This adaptation is currently in development but, I believe, hasn’t landed at a studio yet.

All is not forgotten.jpgAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

When Jenny is attacked at a party, she is given a drug to wipe her memory clean. But parts of her deeper than her conscious mind remember the trauma of the crime. She and her family search to discover who in their picturesque community is really a monster.

Warner Bros. currently owns the film rights to the book.

—     —     —

Since many of us like to read the novel before seeing the movie version of a work, now is a good time to put a few of these on your reading list. I haven’t had a chance to read any of them yet, but there are some interesting ones that I’ll have to pick up. If you’ve read any of these, let me know how you think they’ll translate to the big screen! There is something wild and strange about seeing books in motion.

47 thoughts on “From Book to Film: Upcoming Adaptations

  1. I’ve read 3 (Knoll, Moriarty, Walker) of these and didn’t really enjoy them so I think I’ll skip the movies. One book turned movie I am looking forward to is W. Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Purpose, which releases later this month.

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  2. I’ve read Luckiest Girl Alive, In A Dark Dark Wood, and Second Life. All three left me unimpressed. At first, I was surprised to hear that they are being turned into movies but considering how much interest these novels have garnered, I can see that it would make sense. I’m not sure how well they will turn out, but I’m willing to give it a shot once they’re out in theaters! Maybe the movie adaptation will be better than the books!

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      1. That could be true. I mean, the Narnia series was not adapted well at all! But it also depends on the nature of the story itself. For example, Gone Girl was amazing as both a book and a movie, and I think that it was because of the story itself. The groundwork was all laid out and the twists and turns themselves were perfect so they literally just had to follow as closely to the book as possible. I think that regardless of whether we are reading or watching something, it all rests on this balance between creating the character that “fits” with the story being told and the appropriate amount of twists that are added (ie. Making sure too much isn’t happening, and ensuring that it all makes logical sense)

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    1. For some reason, it does seem like seeing the movie version first will ruin the book a bit, but the opposite isn’t true; I can read a book then watch its film version and be perfectly happy with both.


  3. Tulip Fever’s another one coming up too. The book’s by Deborah Moggach but it’s Tom Stoppard who’s written the script. The cast looks great (Judi Dench, Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz) and the book’s a good read. It’s a little uninvolving and soppy initially but builds to a terrific final third

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  4. An interesting list, though I don’t think that “The Girl on The Train” film could be said to be a “success”. Sure, commercially it is viable, but it is so not what any film aspires to be. It is tricky to make a good film to book adaptation. “The Light Between Oceans” was adapted more or less successfully, but even that movie is very far from being perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True! That is the tricky thing – well, one of the many tricky things – about movie adaptations. Being a financially successful film does not necessarily mean that it was a fabulous adaptation. Books and films are such different mediums that it can be difficult for people to translate them.

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