Films

17 book-to-movie adaptations to get excited about this year

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Gary Ogden
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These 24 books are becoming movies this year

As everyone knows, books are much better as movies. You don’t have to do any of that ‘reading’ stuff, and it’s all over in 90 minutes (fingers crossed), rather than an entire year. Love movies, hate books, or something.

Of course, there are some people out there that actually like books (I know), and coincidentally, also like to watch the movie adaptations as well (pointless) - it’s almost like these movies have a built-in audience already, like they’re a safe bet, like money was instrumental in the decision to adapt them? Who knows how this wonderful machine works.

Either way, for both fans and non-fans of books, this list might be of interest: the 17 best books that will be making their way to our screens in the coming year, or as it’s more colloquially known, 2018. Read on, or watch on, whatever you prefer:

  1. 1.

    'Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline

    The movie: Ready Player One

    Good old virtual reality - a lovely excuse to pack as much luminous CGI into your movie as physically possible. And bonus: as many cultural references as you can shake a PS4 controller at (the book is only about seven years old).

    If you’re looking for a ‘plot’, then it has something to do with all the inhabitants of a virtual world scrambling to gain ownership of it after the original creator dies. Oh, and I guess King Kong is in it, too. Can’t be a bad thing.

    Buy the book here.

  1. 2.

    'Horse Soldiers' by Doug Stanton

    The movie: 12 Strong

    This is based on a book (obviously) which is in turn based on a true story of the 12 Americans and members of the Northern Alliance who fought in Afghanistan immediately after the attacks of 9/11. It looks incredibly harrowing and you know it’s going to be dripping with chest-pumping jingoism, but hey, Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon = yes please.

    Buy the book here.

  2. 3.

    'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' by James Dashner

    The movie: Maze Runner: The Death Cure 

    Yeah, it’s YA, but I the first Maze Runner movie was a surprisingly deft action/sci-fi flick (thanks in no small part to the gnarly monsters on display), so who’s to say that this one won’t be a similar delight? Also, that up there is a very good trailer - and no film has ever not followed up on the promise of its trailer. Right? Anyone?

    Buy the book here.

  3. 4.

    'The Little Stranger' by Sarah Waters

    These 24 books are becoming movies this year 7

    The movie: The Little Stranger

    Oooooh, spoOOooOOky goings-on in a big haunted house, with the ever-great Domhnall Gleeson in tow on the ghost train. Its from the revered author behind Tipping the Velvet, and the live-action version will be overseen by Lenny Abrahamson, who you may recognise as the director of Room. This time he’s upgraded to a whole house, which consists of multiple rooms - only time will tell if this a feat outside of his capabilities.

    Buy the book here.

  4. 5.

    'Fifty Shades Freed' by E.L James

    The movie: Fifty Shades Freed

    Yes of course this looks terrible - “Good morning wife”, “Good morning husband”, but it’s still going to absolutely rinse the box office in every way, shape or form. I say: watch it as a comedy, you’ll have a much better time. If you’re going in expecting anything with even a hint of eroticism, you’ll be left high and most definitely dry.

    Buy the book here.

  5. 6.

    'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare/'Ophelia' by Lisa Klein

    These 24 books are becoming movies this year 6

    The movie: Ophelia

    That’s good old Daisy Ridley up there, smiling away, because she’s just landed the lead in this new Shakespeare adaptation - a film version of Hamlet, only from Ophelia’s perspective. A strong cast rounds it out, with Naomi Watts, Tom Felton and Clive Owen all presumably doing funny posh voices and saying made-up words, so fond of nonsense the Bard was.

    Buy the book here.

  6. 7.

    'Annihilation' by Jeff VanderMeer

    The movie: Annihilation

    This is Alex Garland’s follow up to the see-through-head naked cyborg flick, Ex Machina, so hopes are high. It’s also got Natalie Portman (great) and Benedict Wong (good in absolutely everything, if you’re asking) and a bunch of weird multi-coloured clouds and snarling wolf-things (also welcome), so it sounds right up my alley. Shame it’s going straight to Netflix, so we won’t see it on the big screen over here.

    Buy the book here.

  1. 8.

    'The War With Grandpa' by Robert Kimmel Smith.

    These 24 books are becoming movies this year 1

    The movie: The War With Grandpa

    Robert De Niro has done a ‘grandpa’ movie before, in the form of the endlessly fascinating Dirty Grandpa - I mean, you have to see this film to believe it exists - so him deciding to do another one so soon after is a tad baffling. Still, this is slightly lower on the crudity scale, and is based on a beloved book, so maybe everything will be OK.

    The story concerns a prank-war between a young boy and his De Niro-esque granddad, so expect this once-great actor to slip on a banana skin and bang his knee on a table or something at some point. You pesky little brat! He’ll scream, while shaking his fists. What a lark!

  2. 9.

    The Peter Rabbit series by Beatrix Potter

    The movie: Peter Rabbit

    James Corden isn’t exactly at the top of everyone’s best-of list at the moment - he doesn’t half like to put his foot in it, don’t he? In this case, he’s put it right up the arse of cherished childhood hero Peter Rabbit, in what appears to be a highly obnoxious CGI adaptation. Could be good, could be bad, but then again, I guess it’s for kids, and they’ll eat up any old shite. 

    Buy the book(s) here.

  3. 10.

    'Red Sparrow' by Jason Matthews

    The movie: Red Sparrow

    This promising looking fighty film follows Jennifer Lawrence as an ex-ballerina who becomes a spy, using her womanly ways to ensnare the bad guys. Lawrence is one of cinemaland’s safest bets, so chances are she’ll hold up her end of the bargain and be the strongest thing in the movie, regardless of its eventual quality. Also, Joel Edgerton - Hollywood’s most underrated actor? I think so.

    Buy the book here.

  4. 11.

    'Boy Erased' by Garrard Conley

    These 24 books are becoming movies this year 2

    The movie: Boy Erased

    While we’re on the subject of Joel Edgerton, he’s popping up in this adaptation of Garrad Conley’s coming-of-age film, and you’ll never guess what - he’s directing and writing it too. 

    The film (and book before it) is a memoir surrounding the author’s experiences with being enrolled in a fundamentalist gay conversion therapy. Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) is playing the author, and Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and Nicole Kidman (an actual alien from outer space, I’m convinced of it) are also showing their faces at the party.

    Buy the book here.

  5. 12.

    'Mortal Engines' by Philip Reeve

    The movie: Mortal Engines

    Big giant moving cities eating tanks sounds fun to me, but then again, it’s Peter Jackson, so it’ll be eight hours long, which is a shame. He’s not as fun as he used to be, old Petey - go back to making stuff like Braindead, I say. Sure, it might not have the critical clout of adapting a hugely popular book, but at least one irrelevant journalist who spends a large part of his existence eating crisps will have your back. I’d say that was priceless.

    Buy the book here

  6. 13.

    'The Girl in the Spider's Web' by David Lagercrantz

    These 24 books are becoming movies this year 3

    The movie: The Girl in the Spider’s Web

    The whole Lisbeth Sander saga didn’t really go the way it was planned - the original adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig wasn’t the megahit everyone thought it’d be, so guess what? They’re rebooting it! Turns out “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” is a viable technique in Hollywood now.

    The movie will be based on the fourth book in the series (also the first to be written by someone else other than Stieg Larsson) and features The Crown’s Claire Foy taking over in the main role. Also, it’s under the watchful eye of Fede Álvarez, who is already my best friend after directing Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe - two utter bangers, in my humble, and most definitely correct, opinion.

    Buy the book here.

  1. 14.

    'A Wrinkle in Time' by Madeleine L'Engle

    The movie: A Wrinkle in Time

    I have zero cocking clue what’s going on here by Oprah Winfrey’s hair is sick in it.

    Buy the book here.

  2. 15.

    'The Black Hand' by Stephan Talty

    These 24 books are becoming movies this year 4

    The movie: The Black Hand

    Leonardo DiCaprio? Gangsters? Mafia? Extortion? Leo Dicaps? Detectives? Lee Cappy Rio? Yes, interested, thank you very much.

    The book, set in 1903, follows hotshot NYPD detective Joe Petrosino as he goes after a big scary Italian gang running an extortion racket in America. This’ll be good, won’t it?

    Buy the book here.

  3. 16.

    'Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda' by Becky Albertelli

    The movie: Love, Simon

    Yep, we’ve got another coming-of-age flick again, with a trailer that boasts the most coming-of-age song you could possibly imagine. The film stars Jurassic World’s Nick Robinson (think he played a velociraptor) as a 17-year-old high-schooler who hasn’t come out of the closet yet, but has to fast-track his decision when a classmate finds out.

    Buy the book here.

  4. 17.

    'The Jungle Book' by Rudyard Kipling

    These 24 books are becoming movies this year 5

    The movie: Mowgli

    Yeah, they’re making another Jungle Book movie, a mere two years after the last one. No it’s not a sequel, it’s just the original story all over again. What we’ve got is a slightly delayed Deep Impact/Armaggeddon, A Bug’s Life/Antz, The Truman Show/Ed TV situation here, where both films went into production very close together, and nobody gave up. Well done Andy Serkis, stick to your guns and just hope jungle fatigue hasn’t set in already!

    Buy the book here.

If you’re quick, you can read all these before you see them and then when you’re in the cinema, simply shout something like “He shoots Lenny” and ruin it for everyone. People love a good spoiler.

(Images: Rex)

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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