Book-to-film adaptations are one of my favorite genres as they are usually one of the only sources for original content in a market packed with reboots and sequels. With Annihilation, Paddington 2, A Wrinkle in Time, Love, Simon, Ready Player One, Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor, The House With a Clock in Its Walls, Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Damien Chazelle’s upcoming First Man, it’s been a plentiful and diverse year for films based upon books. They can’t all be winners, but we can appreciate attempts to take beloved books and carefully give them visual life. Plus, they often create a symbiotic relationship that brings new readers back to the source material. Win-win.
So what other book-to-film adaptations can we expect for the rest of the year? Here are a few that could prove to be excellent additions to their particular fandoms. You might even be able to get some of these read before the movie comes out…
First Man based on First Man: A Life Of Neil A. Armstrong by James Hansen
Film release: October 12, 2018
“The Eagle has landed.”
I know, this one is actually pretty well-known, but compared to say, Fantastic Beasts, it’s been flying under the radar until just recently for most audiences. In writing the biography on the most well-known astronaut in American history, James Hansen had unprecedented access to documents and hours of interviews with Armstrong and many other astronauts, discovering more about the reserved American hero than had ever been known before. He focuses heavily on Armstrong’s career in flying, including his combat missions as a naval pilot, his transatmospheric flights, and the first-ever docking in space. But it also examines the toll it took on his life and especially on his wife and family.
Ryan Gosling reunites with La La Land’s Damien Chazelle to star in the adaptation alongside costars Claire Foy, Pablo Schreiber, and Kyle Chandler.
The Hate U Give based on the novel by the same name by Angie Thomas
Film release: October 5, 2018
George Tillman Jr. directs the adaptation of the best-selling novel that tells the story of a black teen caught between divided worlds in the aftermath of witnessing a racially-charged fatal police shooting that kills her longtime friend. On-the-rise actor and champion of social issues Amandla Stenberg stars as Starr Carter in the adaptation, which should prove to be a spot-on casting choice for a film with a solid fan base and poignant topical significance.
Algee Smith, Common, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae, and Russell Hornsby round out the stellar cast.
Beautiful Boy based on the book by the same name by David Sheff
Film release: October 12, 2018
Two first-hand accounts of the disease of addiction are told by a father and a son in their respective books, Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Meth Addiction by David Sheff and Tweak by Nic Sheff, both released simultaneously in 2009. They tell two sides of a harrowing story of the still much-maligned and misunderstood disease of addiction. In this case, and in many like it, addiction is a disease of a whole family, and these two books bring life to the many perspectives that narrate their stories.
Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carrell play Nic and David respectively, bringing their story to the big screen with increasing frustration, helplessness, and the act of mourning someone who hasn’t even died. Thankfully, Nic did not succumb to addiction and is a successful TV writer and producer, and obviously was able to tell his story in book form.
Maura Tierney, Christian Convery, and Oakley Bull costar.
Monster based on the book by the same name by Walter Dean Myers
Film release: January 22, 2018 at Sundance (look out for it on DVD and streaming)
Monster had a very limited release early this year, and has definitely remained under the radar since so it’s worth a mention. I don’t think there can be too many films that tackle the plight of being black in America today, and especially when one is based on a rich and layered novel like Monster. It follows the murder trial of 17-year-old Steve Harmon, a high-achieving honor student labeled a monster by his community, and his complex journey to prove his innocence. Kelvin Harrison Jr. stars alongside Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson, John David Washington, Jeffrey Wright, Nas, and A$AP Rocky.
The book’s acclaims are numerous: it was the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award recipient, an ALA Best Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor selection, and a National Book Award finalist. Being picked up by John Legend’s Get Lifted Film Co. bodes well for this one.
There are some far more well-known books being adapted on top of these including the hipster’s favorite, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Mary Poppins Returns based on Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, Mary, Queen of Scots based on Queen of Scots by John Guy, The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz, and of course, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald loosely based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling.
Will you be checking any of these book-to-film adaptations off of your to-see list?
Catherine Clark is a Chicago-based editor and designer who spends time reading, gaming, cooking, and of course, watching movies en masse. You can find her words and work at USA Today, Nerd Wallet, Chicago Tribune, NPR, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, MSN, Offbeat Empire, and on her lifestyle blog, BijouxandBits.com.