The old adage “the book is always better than the movie” used to be heard a lot when it came to big screen adaptations. And while that still rings true most of the time, there are plenty of cases where “the movie is as good as the book” or “the TV series is different from the book, but still really good.” Directors, authors, screenwriters, and actors have found creative ways to bring our favorite books to life, and there have been some really good adaptations out recently. Sure, you might have imagined a character looking different, or perhaps your favorite chapter got cut out, but there’s something incredibly rewarding about seeing a beloved written work on the big or small screen.
From the seventh season of Game of Thrones to Stephen King’s highly anticipated The Dark Tower movie, there are a lot of adaptations to look forward to this summer. But let’s look a little further into the future and check out which books have adaptations coming in late 2017 and into 2018. Here are 15 movies and TV series that are based on books that you might not know about. With this much advanced notice, you’ll have plenty of time to read the books first!
15. Mind Hunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
Of all the books on this list, Mind Hunter is the only nonfiction entry. Published in 1995, it is a memoir by the former head of the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit, John Douglas. It explores some of the most notorious cases Douglas was in charge of: the Trailside Killer of San Francisco, a child murderer in Atlanta, Seattle’s Green River killer, and many more. He was also the inspiration for Special Agent Jack Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs, as he’s interviewed and studied the most notorious of serial killers over the past few decades.
With true crime having a big surge in popularity on TV, Mind Hunter seems perfect for a Netflix series. Coming in October 2017 and renamed Mindhunter, the series will take place in 1979 and focus on two FBI agents played by Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany. The two agents interview famous imprisoned serial killers to crack open unsolved cases. David Fincher serves as executive producer along with actress Charlize Theron as a co-producer, and unlike the other entries on our list, this one’s already got a teaser trailer.
14. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn’s book Gone Girl and its movie adaptation starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike put the author on must-read lists the world over. Sharp Objects is Flynn’s debut novel, published in 2006, and it follows a journalist who comes back to her hometown to cover a string of brutal murders.
Sharp Objects has gone through a few hands to get it to the screen. In 2008, a British director was reportedly working on an adaptation, but it never was completed. In 2012, Flynn shared that the rights had been purchased by Blumhouse Productions and that she would be working on the film as its screenwriter. In 2014, it was announced that Sharp Objects was getting reshaped for TV, and in 2016, Amy Adams was confirmed for the lead role, Camille Preaker. HBO has picked up the series, but the release date has not yet been announced.
13. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Debuting in the wake of police shootings of African American men and the responding Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give has made an impact in young adult fiction. Written by author Angie Thomas, this timely story follows Starr Carter, one of the handful of black students at Williamson Prep. She witnesses her friend Khalil get pulled over and shot dead by a white cop. After this tragedy, she wrestles with her dual identities — her prep school self versus her neighborhood self — as she encounters racism, family strife, and her troubled relationships with her peers.
The movie, which does not yet have a release date, is set to star The Hunger Games‘ Amanda Stenberg, who also has a lead role in this summer’s Everything, Everything (also based on a YA novel). The movie will be directed by George Tillman Jr., who directed Soul Food and Notorious, a biopic chronicling the life and times of rapper The Notorious B.I.G.
12. Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx
Stoner teen Luke Hunter gets a freaky premonition that his friend is going to die. And then things get really complicated. He becomes the center of attention in his podunk hometown, Stokum, but Luke keeps everybody away by telling them the premonition didn’t really happen. He has to dodge the media, Christian fundamentalists, and existentialism — just to name a few of his obstacles. It’s a dark coming-of-age novel with a hilarious twist in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
The movie’s title has been shortened to Anthem, and it will star Shameless and Gotham star Cameron Monaghan as the reluctant prophet, Luke. Juliette Lewis will play Luke’s mother, Mary, who helps him navigate out his newfound fame. Produced by Sepia Films, Anthem is currently in production and will come out sometime in 2018.
11. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
High school seniors Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet at the school bell tower, both standing on the ledge and contemplating jumping off. Theodore, also known as “Theodore Freak,” is the school outcast dealing with mental illness, while Violet is grieving over her dead sister. Despite their demons, Violet and Theodore fall in love, but face difficult obstacles in this all-too-realistic young adult novel.
The movie adaptation of All the Bright Places will star Elle Fanning, with Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan serving as producers. The role of Finch hasn’t been cast yet, but author Jennifer Niven apparently has several actors in mind, including Riverdale’s Jughead Jones, Cole Sprouse, whom she tweeted about last month. Her #findfinch search has continued this month, as she reached out to fans to gauge their interest in Homeland‘s Timothée Chalamet taking on the role.
10. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
When readers first meet Celaena Sardothien, she’s enslaved in the salt mine in Endovier. The reader knows very little about her or her background, but it is soon revealed that she is the world’s deadliest assassin. And her luck is about to change when she’s hand-plucked by the prince of Adarlan to be his champion in a competition arranged by his father to find an assassin for the crown. Throne of Glass is the first book of six in the enthralling young adult fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas. There is also a collection of novellas and a pending untitled book scheduled for publishing in 2018.
In September 2016, it was announced that Hulu had picked up Throne of Glass for a television adaptation with a 2018 release. It is set to be titled Queen of Shadows, and the Mark Gordon Company, which is behind a number of TV shows and movies, will be the main project studio. Kira Snyder from the CW TV series The 100 will be writing the adaptation.
9. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas has another adaptation coming out, with the first book from her other young adult fantasy series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, in development to hit the big screen. A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first of three published and three yet-to-be-published books. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, except the beast is not an animal, but a High Lord of the Faeries. With bloody politics interwoven with fairytale themes and romance, A Court of Thorns and Roses seems well-suited for a cinematic adaptation.
There isn’t too much information out there about the A Court of Thorns and Roses movie, except that it’s been picked up by Tempo Productions. The movie is currently in development, but there are plenty of homemade trailers and dream cast lists from the A Court of Thorns and Roses fandom if producers are looking for inspiration.
8. Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Todd Hewitt’s world is a chaotic one: all of the women are dead and the thoughts of men and animals can be heard constantly. Characterized as “Noise,” Todd and his dog notice a sudden silence. He flees his settlement and is pursued by a madman preacher. This is one of the most unique dystopian young adult books out there and simply summarizing it doesn’t do it justice. The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first in the series of three Chaos Walking books, and it’s coming to the big screen in the very near future with two young faces that you might just recognize.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ Daisy Ridley will star in the film adaptation titled Chaos Walking, alongside Tom Holland (the latest cinematic Peter Parker/Spider-Man), who’s set to play Todd Hewitt. Filming for this highly anticipated film is set to begin this summer. Another adaptation of a Patrick Ness novel, A Monster Calls, came out in April of this year to positive reviews, so the sky’s definitely the limit on this one.
7. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
A retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this young adult novel centers on Ophelia, the young girl in love with the legendary play’s titular character. Told from her point of view, the book doesn’t let Ophelia drown, as she manages to escape her fate. No longer the tragic waif, Ophelia gets to be the hero instead as author Lisa Klein weaves together Shakespeare’s original text with her own reinterpretation.
The very in-demand Daisy Ridley will also star in the Ophelia adaptation, this time alongside Naomi Watts, in 2018. The movie will be directed by Claire McCarthy, an Australian filmmaker and visual artist. Daniel Bobker and Ehren Kruger (The Brothers Grimm) are producing Ophelia along with Sarah Curtis (Hysteria). Bobker told Deadline that the film is an opportunity to shed some light on this mysterious female icon who’s never really had her own point of view told.
6. Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling
The beautiful celebrity model, Lula Landry, dies on a snowy night. The police rule her falling death a suicide, but her brother suspects murder, so he asks London private investigator Cormoran Strike to investigate. Strike, a celebrity himself as well as a wounded veteran, knows that he’s up against a tricky case. There’s nothing magical about Cuckoo’s Calling, but J.K. Rowling’s ability to tell a great story with memorable characters shines through. The story relies heavily on London geography to keep it moving, but it’s no Sherlock Holmes mystery. Cormoran is a mess, which makes it a very fun read.
In 2014, BBC One announced that the novels would be turned into a TV series executive produced by J.K. Rowling herself. Named Cormoran Strike, Tom Burke will play the detective while Holliday Grainger will play his assistant, Robin Ellacott. It was picked up by HBO for distribution in the United States.
5. Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror by Steve Alten
This one seems a bit out of place on this list, doesn’t it? An undersea pilot named Jonas Taylor goes on a top-secret dive in the Pacific Ocean and comes face-to-face with a terrifying beast. No, it isn’t a shark, but a Megalodon (aka “Meg”), a massive prehistoric predator and ancestor of the great white shark. Basically, it’s Jaws on steroids and every member of Taylor’s crew is killed, save for himself. Nobody believes Jonas and his encounter is written off as a joke. Years later, after getting his degree in paleontology, Jonas returns to face Meg.
A cinematic take on Meg starring Jason Statham has been in the making for a while. Originally slated for March 2018, it now has a release date of August 10th, 2018. It will be released in both 3D and IMAX and is being co-produced by both American and Chinese studios.
4. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
In this highly suspenseful novel, three unlikely heroes try to stop a killer in a stolen Mercedes. After the lone driver plows into a crowd and kills eight people, he escapes. On the other side of town, a retired cop named Bill Hodges gets a crazed letter from somebody who identifies themselves as the driver. It’s a race against time as Hodges and his unlikely allies try to stop the killer from striking again.
While the Dark Tower movie adaptation is getting a lot of attention right now, Mr. Mercedes is another Stephen King novel making it to the screen — the small screen that is. It will star Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potter movies) as Hodges and Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful) as Mr. Mercedes, though the driving mad man role was originally going to be played by the late Anton Yelchin. It will premiere in late 2017 on AT&T’s Audience network.
3. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
A genius yet obsessive scientist has dedicated his life to becoming invisible. He does whatever it takes to achieve this goal and ends up terrorizing the residents of the small town where he resides. This science fiction classic by H.G. Wells was originally serialized in 1897 in Pearson’s Weekly and published as a novel the same year.
The Invisible Man was first adapted for film in 1933 and produced by Universal Pictures. It has gone through many different iterations for the big and small screen, including a TV series that focused on espionage in 1958, another movie in 1975 that turned the scientist into a protagonist, and a Sci-Fi Channel series in 2002. The newest adaptation will be part of Universal’s Monster Movie Universe reboot. Johnny Depp is set to play the lead role, and the film will likely come out sometime in 2018.
2. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
A fantasy trilogy with a cult following, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books might finally get the adaptation fans have been waiting for. The series includes three books: The Golden Compass (known as The Northern Lights in the U.K. and published in 1995), The Subtle Knife (1997), and The Amber Spyglass (2000). The trilogy follows Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, who travel through parallel universes and meet armoured polar bears, witches, and soul-eating Spectres.
A film adaptation of The Golden Compass was released in 2007, which starred Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Sam Elliott. It performed poorly at the box office despite being one of New Line Cinema’s most expensive projects ever. Fortunately, Pullman’s incredible series is getting another chance, as a TV miniseries adaptation of the His Dark Materials trilogy is coming to BBC. Jack Thorne, who has worked on a slew of projects including This is England, Skins, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will adapt the trilogy for TV.
1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Written in 1963, Madeleine L’Engle’s classic fantasy novel is beloved by readers of all ages. The first of four in the Time Quintet novels, the books follow the Murry and O’Keefe families as they fight against evil forces and travel through space and time. The first book introduces us to 13-year-old Meg Murry, her scientist parents, her 10-year-old twin brothers, and the youngest in the family, Charles. Along with Meg’s schoolmate Calvin O’Keefe, the Murrys encounter the very mysterious Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which.
A television adaptation was released in 2003, to which L’Engle commented at the time, “Yes, I expected it to be bad, and it is.” Hopefully, the late author would approve of the newest movie adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time, which is under production by Walt Disney Pictures and will be released in 2018. Directed by up-and-coming auteur Ava DuVernay, it has an all-star cast that includes Oprah Winfrey, Storm Reid, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Zach Galifianakis.
What other major book adaptations do moviegoers and TV fanatics need to know about? Let us know in the comments.
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