I don’t know about you, but I feel like there’s less and less origin stories in Hollywood.
I tell myself, well, on the bright side, bibliophiles can relish in the copious amount of bestselling titles that are coming to life on the silver screen.
In recent memory, we have the Harry Potter sequels, one of the franchises that started the whole let’s-make-the-last-book/chapter-into-two-movies thing, The Hobbit trilogy + LOTR, The Hunger Games sequels, the Divergent series, John Green’s books, Nicholas Sparks’ romances, and many, many more1.
Good news is, there’s so much more to come making waves in Hollywood. There are more books published today than ever, and as production technologies continue to advance, working these fables into virtual reality comes easier as well. We bookworms should be rejoicing this moment in history (and subsequently bemoan over the poor portrayals of our most beloved characters … like Mr. Grey).
Nevertheless, I want to just share this quick checklist of the upcoming adaptations I’m excited about that are not too far out right now – both the ones I’ve read and the ones that have been sitting on my TBR (To Be Read) list since forever:
1. Inferno by Dan Brown
What’s it about: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon embarks upon a venture in Venice and this time, he’s the target of a manhunt. They’re going in-depth with transhumanism, the World Health Organization, a pandemic, a bald woman, and Dante’s magnum opus this time. Go ahead, try to connect to dots.
Who’s who: I’ve been waiting for a Robert Langdon movie since 2009’s Angels & Demons (so much so that I took a chance on Ian Caldwell’s The Fifth Gospel). They cancelled productions for The Lost Symbol back in 2013, so God knows how excited I am when I knew they’ve already started filming in April (it’s currently scheduled to release in October 2016). Tom Hanks is still Langdon, and Felicity Jones will play his brainy-hot sidekick this time. Ben Foster will be the psycho.
2. Looking For Alaska by John Green
What’s it about: I haven’t read Paper Towns, but John Green’s debut (and award-winning) novel is of his easier reads, at least, that’s how easy it feels for me to follow Miles and empathising with his identity crisis and emotional roller coaster as a YA. He likes to read biographies and memorize the last words of famous people, but eventually he falls in love with a wild, charming, lively and unpredictable girl (her name’s Alaska) that stirred his heart.
Who’s who: Nerdfighters, rejoice – the same team behind TFIOS and Paper Towns will return. This means there’s a huge possibility casts will return as well (Ansel Ergot? Shailene Woodley? Nat Wolff? Cara Delevingne?). No word’s out yet on when it’ll be out, but my bet is next fall.
3. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
What’s it about: This is probably the singular substance that made barefoot running and chia seeds cool today. Journalist and runner Chris McDougall delves into the non-conforming culture and superhuman secrets of one of the longest-surviving tribes in history. The Tarahumara Indians chose to isolate themselves deep in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, running over 100 miles (without stop) on foot as part of their lifestyle, sometimes subsisting on chia frescas alone, and somehow pursued their prey with zero injury. The basic premise is that our modern lifestyles have made running everyday felt uncommon and that somehow we have to wear special shoes to run “properly”.
Who’s who: Now I know you’re yawning now, but trust me, this gets more exciting: Matthew McConaughey, a self-proclaimed religious runner himself (see his Men’s Health exclusive), is set to star, whereas McDougall’s brother-in-law, Jake Gyllenhaal, may be cast. Born To Run is still in its development stage as well, so we’ll just have to wait till they tell us how long we should expect this to be out.
4. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
What’s it about: Initially, I was like “oh this is one of those love stories about a sick/unhappy/troubled/dying person”, but then I realized that it’s received stellar reception from both critics and casual readers alike. That got me around to getting the book. Me Before You is between an ill-tempered, paralyzed man and a struggling working-class woman who changed each other’s family and lives forever. Though neither of these two sound like the ideal leading characters to follow, you can’t help but introspect your own life and the relationships with your loved ones while reading Louisa’s thoughts. I guarantee, there will be tears.
Who’s who: Emilia Clarke will play opposite Sam Claflin, and it’s scheduled to release next summer.
5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle [CLASSIC]
What’s it about: This book was in one of our family bookshelves for years, so I have to thank my eldest brother for indirectly introducing L’Engle’s opus to me. If you’ve always wondered why default first sentences of your creative writing homework always starts with ‘It was a dark and stormy night …’, this book is the reason. 14-year-old Meg goes out to find her dad, who had gone missing while working on an experiment with the fifth dimension. And yes, A Wrinkle in Time was one of the first fictional works that explores space-time travel without leaving you all “Huh?” like Interstellar does.
Who’s who: There’s not news about it yet other than it will be a Disney production and that Frozen‘s Jennifer Lee is set to direct (she’s also the co-writer of Wreck-It Ralph). But if you’re still curious, check out this 2003 TV film adaptation of the book.
To Be Read
1. The Circle by Dave Eggers
What’s it about: I’ve been wanting to read this since two summers ago. Haven’t gotten around to it, but its sales and movie rights are pushing me to get myself around to it. The technothriller is famed for its implications to the modern state of the web and how the most powerful internet company may just be plotting evil plans. Described as “heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge,” the book addresses the ongoing controversies over privacy with the tech empire’s universal operating system, which links users’ personal information across all existing accounts and platforms, “resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency”.
Who’s Who: James Pondsoldt will be directing, and Tom Hanks is going to produce and star in the film. Ex Machina‘s Alice Vikander will play alongside him. Everything’s still in talks right now, so you’ve still got plenty of time to read the original material.
2. Silence by Shusaku Endo [CLASSIC]
What’s it about: One of the many classics that’s on my TBR, and one I definitely want to bite off this yea – there must be a reason why this book was dubbed as “one of the 20th century’s finest novels“. Though I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction, the 1966 novel is one of the essentials if you’re a follower of Christ and wants a vivid taste of martyrdom. Silence follows a missionary’s story of how he brought Christianity into Japan during the 17th century.
Who’s Who: Andrew Garfield will play Father Rodridgues, the fateful missionary from Portuguese, and Martin Scorsese is directing. Adam Driver plays a supporting role, and we can expect to see both hunks in the same film some time next year.
3. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
What’s it about: This book is one of those “finding Atlantis” true-stories that promises you’ll get a good escape from the present three dimensional world. Legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazonian forest in 1925 in search of an ancient, fabled civilization, and was never found since. Countless teams have gone into the jungle, only to find zero evidence of Fawcett’s party and never come out alive.
Who’s Who: The original Christian Grey, Charlie Hunnam, replaced Doctor Strange (i.e. Benedict Cumberbatch) to play Fawcett. Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller is also starring, with James Gray directing. Shooting will start this summer, so we can expect the adventure to be out next year.
4. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy [CLASSIC]
What’s it about: How do you handle 3 different suitors vying for your love at the same time? Well, this classic is the answer. This was Tom Hardy’s literary breakthrough and I’m ashamed I haven’t read. It follows the young and independent Bathsheba Everdene who wants it all, but has to face the consequences of tangling up one relationship with another.
Who’s Who: Okay. This is one book on this list that has played on public screenings (just recently, actually). It stars Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, Michael Sheen, and Juno Temple.
5. How to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo
What’s it about: Here’s a hilarious treat for your inner chick-lit-flipping girl. I should’ve picked up this book long ago while I was single and not now while I’m planning my wedding, but it doesn’t hurt to reminisce the single years, right? This is the story of a single Manhattanite publicist who went on a worldwide expedition asking women from all over the world how they handle the lows on singlehood, deal with the dreaded “Why are you single?” question, and survive the whole phenomenon. What will be fun would be her moments traveling from Paris to Rio to Sydney, Bali, Beijing, and Reykjavik.
Who’s Who: Dakota Johnson is our leading lady, with Rebel Wilson, Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann, Lily Collins, and Alison Brie will play alongside her. The star-studded rom-com is set to release next Valentine’s Day.
Which of these books have you read? Not read? Want to read? The saying rings truer in this day and age than ever before, that there’s “so many books, so little time”.
- Yes, I intentionally left out the Twilight series here because I stopped at page 3 in the first book and slept during the screening of all of the movies [↩]