Watching your favourite book as a movie is like watching your child turn into something you weren’t expecting. You want to hold on to what was, but you know you have to let what “is” be free.
Recently I watched the Danish film adaptation of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s crime-thriller The Keeper of Lost Causes. The movie is actually quite good, but I first cringed when I saw the film version of my favourite character, Carl Morck the bumbling, wildly sarcastic cop who solves cold cases. My imagination of who he needed to be was retooled when I saw him on the screen – he wasn’t as funny and awkward as I thought he was. But he was still Carl, a newly reimagined character who had more subtle contours in his personality. I learned to like the new Carl, and that made all the difference. By the way, I recommend the movie (but only if you like subtitles)!
Here are some notable books being made into (hopefully) interesting movies this year:
Serena: “Newlyweds George and Serena move from Boston to North Carolina in 1929 to start a timber business. The pair are ruthless in building their empire, and when Serena finds out that she can’t have children, she sets out to kill George’s illegitimate son.” Based on the novel from noted Southern author Ron Rash.
The Zookeeper’s Wife: “This true story follows the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, who helped to save hundreds of people from the Nazis in World War II by smuggling them into empty cages.” Based on the novel by Diane Ackerman.
A Walk in the Woods: “The humorous memoir follows an Iowa-born man who returns to America after 20 years in England to walk the Appalachian Trail.” Based on the memoir by Bill Bryson.
Silence: “Set in 17th-century Japan, the book follows the story of Jesuits who are trying to bring Christianity into Japan.” Based on the book by Shusaku Endu.
The Secret in Their Eyes: “An M15 agent trying to solve a murder works for the FBI and uncovers a terrifying new truth.” Based on the book by Eduardo Sacheri.
Room: “A 5-year-old boy grows up in a small shed, which becomes the only world he knows because his mother hides the truth — they’re being held captive.” Based on the novel by Emma Donoghue.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: “In this YA novel, a teenager named Jacob explores the ruins of a strange house on an island near Wales.” Based on the book by Ransom Riggs. The movie may be delayed until 2016.
The Martian: “Astronaut Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars and must survive alone while NASA tries to rescue him in this sci-fi novel.” Based on the fantastic novel, in more ways than one, by Andy Weir.
A Hologram for the King: “A struggling businessman heads to Saudi Arabia for a fight to save his finances, hoping to steer clear of foreclosure and pay his daughter’s college tuition.” Based on the book by Dave Eggers.
Frankenstein (Movie title is ‘Victor Frankenstein’): “Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Victor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today.” Note that Igor is not actually in the original novel but a welcome addition in the early movie versions.
Far from the Madding Crowd: “A young woman named Bathsheba Everdene has to deal with the difficult, sometimes tragic consequences of being in a relationship with three different suitors at the same time.” Based on the novel by Thomas Hardy.
Dark Places: “This thriller from the author of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn) tells the story of Libby Day, whose mother and sisters were murdered at the family’s farmhouse when she was only seven. Her testimony sent her older brother, Ben, to prison for life, and 25 years later, Libby decides to meet with the Kill Club, a group of crime enthusiasts who investigate the case and force her to rethink what really happened.”
A Book of Common Prayer: “An American woman travels to Central America to reunite with her fugitive daughter. The country is on the brink of a violent revolution, and she is anything but prepared for what she sees.” Based on the novel by Joan Didion.
Black Mass: “The true crime novel follows the infamous mobster Whitey Bulger, the head of the Irish mob in the ’70s, and his relationship with childhood friend John Connolly, who grew up to work for the FBI.” Based on the novel by Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill.
The Secret Scripture: “A 100-year-old mental patient, Roseanne McNulty investigates her past and unearths some troubling memories.” Based on the novel by Sebastian Barry.