Hollywood’s reading list

My daughter is anxiously counting down the days until the release of the movie The Hunger Games (March 23, in case you don’t have an obsessed tween in your house.) As well as constantly re-reading the books by Suzanne Collins, she regularly searches the web for new trailers, snippets of gossip, and pictures about the film, and she’s already purchased tracks from the movie’s soundtrack from iTunes. You might think that this behaviour can simply be put down to adolescent excitability, but really, she gets it from me.

When I find out a treasured book or comic franchise is being adapted for the big screen, I tend to get more than a little excited (imagine my daughter’s activities, multiplied by a few hundred). I’m sometimes rewarded for my enthusiasm with awe-inspiring, delightful movie experiences (any of the Lord of the Rings movies, Captain America, The Help); sometimes, I’m left disappointed (Iron Man 2, The Lovely Bones, Aliens vs. Cowboys). But whether I’m seeing a good or bad movie, I still enjoy the new visual interpretation of events and favourites characters.

I believe 2012 is going to be another great year for movies based on books. Here are some of the ones I’m most looking forward to:

One For the Money, based on the Janet Evanovich novel of the same name, stars Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum, an unemployed department store buyer forced to take a job working at her cousin’s bail bond company. Due out on January 27.

The Woman in Black, due out on February 3, is based on Susan Hill’s moody horror novel. Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe stars as a young lawyer who travels to a remote English village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

On March 2, Dr. Seuss’s birthday, get ready for The Lorax. In the outskirts of his town, a young boy discovers a beautiful environment he’s never seen before — and a mysterious figure who’s destroying it. What unfolds is the story of the Lorax, a snarky but endearing forest creature who fights to protect his trees. Danny DeVito plays the iconic title character of the Lorax, with Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, and Ed Helms all lending their voices to the film.

The Avengers opens May 4, directed by Joss Whedon. (Insert high-pitched fangirl squeal here.) Nick Fury and the international agency S.H.I.E.L.D. bring together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki & his army. I can always count on Marvel Studios; without fail, they release a new movie in time for my wedding anniversary.

Opening on December 7 is the musical adaptation of Les Misérables. Hugh Jackman will play Valjean, with Anne Hathaway starring as Fantine and Russell Crowe as Javert.

On December 14, I’ll certainly be amongst the crowds catching The Hobbit. Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo, and Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood and Orlando Bloom are reprising their roles from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Finally, Yann Martel’s 2001 bestseller, Life of Pi, is finally coming to the big screen on December 21. Directed by Ang Lee, the film will also feature Suraj Sharma, Tobey Maguire, Gerard Depardieu and Irrfan Khan.

– Barbara

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