You could easily say that adaptation is at the core of the film industry. Many of the big budget, large grossing blockbusters of recent years are adapted from comic books. Just like how many of ‘award contenders’ from last year, whether it be Gone Girl, The Imitation Game or Still Alice, were based on novels. This of course isn’t a new thing, many of the most famous and critically acclaimed films of all time are adaptations; Gone with the Wind, Psycho and the James Bond films to name but a few. It’s a common thing to say that the book is always better than the film, and why we all are guilty of this lazy and snarky assessment from time to time, the relationships between books and films is much more complex and symbiotic.
When I see a trailer for an upcoming film which I like the look of and it’s based on a book I’ll try to read the book before I see the film. Last year I did this with Gone Girl and enjoyed both the book and film very much. However seeing the film first and then reading the book can also be an interesting experience, one that film critic Mark Kermode likens to listening to the soundtrack after seeing the film. Whichever way you do it movies introduce a lot of people to a lot of literature and book fans can be opened up to the world of cinema by seeing their favourite books adapted to the screen. Without anymore digressions let’s take a look at some of the upcoming book-to-film adaptations that will hopefully do their source materials justice.
Since I saw the first spoilery trailer for The Martian I’ve wanted to read the book but considering I have yet to even buy the book, the fact that I have a huge back catalogue of books I need to read and that the film is coming out in a couple of weeks make this very unlikely. First published in 2011 online, The Martian by Andy Weir tells the tale of NASA astronaut Mark Watney who is left stranded on Mars after his team are forced to evacuate. The novel charts his will to survive in insurmountable odds. The film stars Matt Damon in the lead with a large ensemble cast of secondary characters including Jessica Chastain (making the film look even more like Interstellar 2), Sean Bean (bets on that he’s dying) and Jeff Daniels (in a role as far away from Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber as you can imagine). However the main reason I’m excited for the film so much is because one of my favourite directors, Ridley Scott is helming it. Scott has done amazing things for the science-fiction genre in cinema, directing both Blade Runner and Alien which are some of the most revolutionary sci-fi films of all time. Unlike most I really enjoyed Prometheus but it’s fair to say that the majority of his recent films have been sub-par but The Martian could be his chance to get back on top form.
Being a big fan of Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl I decided to check out her other two books Dark Places and Sharp Objects. Both have adaptations coming with Dark Places as a film and Sharp Objects as a TV series; which is weird considering Sharp Objects is only a tiny book, it would be like making a trilogy of films based on The Hobbit. After reading the book, I watched the trailer of the film and liked what I saw and said to myself that I can’t wait to see the film when it comes out. Truth is that I forgot about the film completely until I thought about creating this list and did some research. Apparently it has already been released. The premiere was in Paris in March and the film had a limited theatrical run in the US in August and has since been put on some obscure Video-On-Demand service. As far as I know it’s not available at all in the UK so that is why it’s still on this list of upcoming adaptations. However I can find no information on any possible UK release so I don’t know what’s gone wrong with that film but it’s clear something has. If you’re reading this from a territory in which the film, starring Charlize Theron, Correy Stoll and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, has been released and you’ve seen it then let me know what it’s like because it’s probable I’ll never get to watch it.
Ready Player One
Ready Player One is probably the book to have the biggest impact in geek culture for years, dealing with popular concepts such as a dystopian future while playing with gaming and popular culture. The novel has become hugely popular, enough to warrant a big screen adaptation coming in December of 2017. The film of Ready Player One could easily just be another teen focused adaptation that we have seen heaps of after the success of The Hunger Games but what transcends RPO is the choice of director. In March of this year Steven Spielberg signed on to direct the film. Imagine a mixture of the dark and edgy The Hunger Games but with the fun and relatively family friendly tone that is a staple of Spielberg’s Amblin movies. Rumours suggest that Nick Robinson (the one from Jurassic World, not Time Team) and Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel) are the front runners for the lead characters Parzival and Art3mis. I can’t see a way that the adaptation of Ready Player One doesn’t turn out at least good and I just can’t wait.
The Silence of the Lambs
I’m a big, big Hannibal Lecter fan whether it’s a the 1991 The Silence of the Lambs, the books by Thomas Harris or the recent Hannibal television show. Sadly the show was cancelled due to a lack of viewers and the future of show’s version of Dr Lecter (Mads Mikkelson) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is uncertain. The show runner and lead writer Bryan Fuller is currently pitching to other networks to continue the show as a miniseries but if that fails he has said that he will start looking at funding a film, maybe using Kickstarter, to continue the storyline. The show didn’t have the rights to the characters and events depicted in Thomas Harris’s novel The Silence of the Lambs and a film may be a way to regain them. The film would act as a reboot due to having a new main character, Clarice Starling, without getting rid of the deep continuity created in the show. This adaptation would be very different to the 1991 film due to the unique visual style from the show continuing over to the big screen and a very different take on Hannibal the cannibal by Mads Mikkelson who hopefully won’t be too busy with Star Wars to return. We will just have to wait and see whether the film materialises, although I doubt it won’t be too long before we see Clarice and Buffalo Bill again, I just hope it’s as a continuation of the show.
So that’s it for another week. Let me know what you think of the blog in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter @kylebrrtt. Hit the like button, check out the other great content on the site and you can subscribe to the blog by hitting the subscribe button which should be somewhere nearby. See ya next time.