Sometimes books are beautifully translated to the screen: The World According To Garp, Lonesome Dove, Little Children, and – if you want to go the blockbuster route – The Hunger Games. On other occasions, the transition isn’t quite so smooth – remember What To Expect when You’re Expecting? No? Vaguely? OK then.
Stephen King’s new novel Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining, which is widely believed to be one of the creepiest, most horrifying psychological thrillers ever made. We’ll see if any director would want to try and follow Stanley Kubrick’s footsteps, and if King’s new book will even see a big or small screen adaptation. The author recently made it clear that he’s not a fan of Kubrick’s film, which just goes to show that writers will have strong opinions about the film/TV version of their work, no matter who is directing.
Besides Doctor Sleep, the fall is bringing us a bevy of new books to check out. There’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, Tom Perrotta’s Nine Inches, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (fans are NOT happy about the whole RIP Mark Darcy thing) and new work by Amy Tan, Dave Eggers, Malcolm Gladwell, and multi-hyphenate extraordinaire James Franco.
Here are five books coming out this season that we would love to see translated to the screen.
By Donna Tartt
Contact: Amanda Urban, ICM
Synopsis: Theo Decker, 13, survives an accident that haunts him for the rest of his life. He’s taken in by the NYC family of a wealthy friend, and clings to the memory of his mother. As he grows up, Theo moves between the drawing rooms of the well-to-do and the dusty antiques store where he works. He becomes obsessed with a small painting that reminds him of his mother, and the stolen piece pulls him into an underworld of theft and corruption where nothing is as it seems.
SSN Insight: This Little, Brown novel is a commitment at nearly 800 pages, but Tartt’s knack for suspense can get you flying through 800 pages in no time – there’s a reason she has a cult following of devoted readers. The author of The Secret History and The Little Friend can tap into the darker sides of human nature, and Theo Decker is an intriguing, troubled character we would love to see embodied by an up and coming actor like Dane Dehaan.
By Dan Simmons
Contact: Michael Prevett, Gotham Group
Synopsis: This adventure thriller from the best-selling author of The Terror takes place in 1924. Three climbers set out to discover the truth behind a series of mysterious 1924 disappearances on Everest. Deep in Tibet, the climbers – joined by a missing boy’s female cousin – find themselves being pursued through the night by someone… or something. It’s a nightmare at 28,000 feet. As they fight their way to the top of the world, the friends uncover a secret far more abominable than any mythical creature.
SSN Insight: A pulse-pounding Everest adventure with mythical creatures sounds pretty cinematic to us. The Gotham Group is currently packaging the project with a director and a producer, and they’ll be going out to financiers soon. Director Baltasar Kormákur is working on an Everest film, but that one is more grounded in reality and doesn’t have the creepy supernatural elements that Simmons’ book has. There’s a lot of potential here for a visually stunning nail biter.
By Sonja Condit
Contact: Dana Borowitz, Paradigm
Synopsis: This is an eerie debut novel about a young couple whose new house holds deadly secrets from the past. Lacy and her husband, Eric, move into their dream house, but the warm and welcoming house soon becomes cold and dark. There is something malevolent lurking within the walls that wants to hurt their unborn child. It’s a terrifying presence that only Lacy can sense. And there is Drew, a demanding and temperamental little boy who mysteriously appears when Lacey is alone. To save her child, Lacy must uncover the mystery, and confront the evil that has lingered in wait for years.
SSN Insight: The box office receipts for Insidious: Chapter 2 should tell you all you need to know about how audiences feel about creepy haunted house flicks. Starter House isn’t another Insidious, though. There are complex characters, a strong female lead, and Booklist says, “If this novel were a movie, you could close your eyes to save yourself from its scariest parts, but it is a book and its haunting elements are inescapable. A promising start by a new author, this will appeal to those looking for a disturbing story.” If Kimberly Peirce is ready for more horror and suspense after Carrie, maybe a project like this could be a good fit. This one has the ability to appeal to a wide audience, both domestically and overseas.
By Gayle Forman
Contact: Brandy Rivers, Gersh
Synopsis: After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Forman’s book Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.
SSN Insight: Forman’s novel If I Stay is currently in production, with R.J. Cutler directing from a script by Shauna Cross, and Chloe Grace Moretz starring. Just One Year and Just One Day could be combined into a single film about love and relationships. Forman’s books have an international fan base, and this one could appeal to the Nicholas Sparks set. Great characters, plenty of romance, and enough chemistry between the leads and you’ve got yourself a movie.
Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington
By Terry Teachout
Contact: Glen Hartley, Writers’ Representatives
Synopsis: Teachout’s book peeks behind the curtain and looks past Ellington’s evasion and public deception to tell the story about the creative genius who inspired Miles Davis to say, “All the musicians should get together one certain day and get down on their knees and thank Duke.”
SSN Insight: Musician and composer Ellington is an icon, so where is the definitive biopic about the man? With the right actor, this could be a fascinating life story that spans the Harlem Renaissance, the heyday of The Cotton Club, and the history of jazz. We’ve been waiting a while now for Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis project to come to fruition, and Ellington is another jazz master who deserves the big screen treatment. This could be a passion project, but in the right hands, we see a lot of potential.
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