Wednesday, 8 August 2012

From Page To Screen - Movies adapted from novels

It 's probably the same for most but, when I read a book, I see the movie play out in my mind.  Books are a major source for some of the best movies that get made.  Adapted successfully, the transition from page to screen has given us some of the most iconic of movie characters.  Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter, Harry Potter,  Lisbeth Salander, Bridget Jones, James Bond, Michael Corleone, Jack Ryan - they all began their journeys into our consciousness on the page.  However, as we know, the passage from hit bestseller to blockbuster is not always a smooth one.  One of my favourite books is Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife, the middle of his fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.  It was the most emotional and epic of the three novels and would have made an excellent movie.  Unfortunately, the failure to adapt its predecessor into a good movie destroyed any chances of a sequel following.  Hopefully, one day long in the future, someone will decide to take it forward and do justice to the trilogy.

There are some authors whose work always seems to be suitable for film.  Stephen King certainly stands out as probably the most prolific storytellers to have his novels and short stories take to the screen.  I'd be leaving out so much to list The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Misery, Stand By Me and The Green Mile amongst the movies adapted from the results of his typing.  For all of the great adaptations of King's, it should also be pointed out that there are plenty of awful movies to have emerged from his work as well. 

John Grisham is another regular on the shelves as well as the multiplexes, his stories generally revolving around the justice system.  Since his novel The Firm headed for the big screen with Tom Cruise as it's star in 1993, his novels have continued to make the journey, with his 1997 novel The Partner currently being adapted by a screenwriter.

One of my favourite authors is Michael Crichton, whose passing in 2008 meant we lost one of the most imaginative writers of modern times.  His high-concept visions leapt from the page, beginning with The Andromeda Strain in 1971 and leading to such diverse experiences as Jurassic Park, Rising Sun amd Sphere

Another great writer whose work the movie studios took inspiration from was Philip K Dick, who died in 1982 aged 53.  It's because of him that we ended up with Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall and even The Adjustment Bureau as recent as 2011.

But what about the future?  Which authors are writing the stories that will sell to the studios?  Which established novels are crying out for an adaptation?  Which classics are just unfilmable?

I've read a coupe of Jo Nesbø novels recently, The Redbreast and Nemesis.  Martin Scorsese has signed on to direct an adaptation of the seventh in the series of his novels featuring hardboiled Oslo detective Harry Hole.  There has been a wave of Scandinavian crime on the page as well as on the screen recently with Henning Maskell's Wallander series and Steig Larsson's Millenium Trilogy amongst them,  The second of Larsson's trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire, will follow on from the success of David Fincher's version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara reprising their roles.

It's a dream that a novel of mine one day becomes successful enough that it is adapted into a movie.
For now, if you want to visualise the movies of tomorrow today, check out the following novels:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Passage, The Uglies, Fallen, Maximum Ride, Blood Meridian, The Great Gatsby, The Perks of being a Wallflower, Heist Society, The Maze Runner, The Host, Forgotten, The Giver, The Hypnotist, Beautiful Creatures, Ender's Game, Odd Thomas, The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society, The Devil in the White City, World War Z, The Dogs of Babel, Alfred Hitchcock and The Making of Psycho, Back Roads, The Alchemist, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, The Big Biazarro, The Boston Stranglers, Cell, The Creed of Violence, The Dark Tower, Beautiful Disaster, The Wolf of Wall Street, City of Bones

If you know of any more, please let me know...

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