Although my job is to write about movies (something I thoroughly enjoy!), most people who know me well, know that my true passion in life is books. At the tender age of 22, I’d say my personal collection of novels now exceeds 300 (all of which I have read) and I am always finding additions to bring to my own little library. With Anna Karenina being the latest literary masterpiece that I am attempting to tackle, it seemed fitting to investigate the top ten page-to-screen adaptations I am looking forward to seeing in the coming year.
Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins. For those that know me well, almost no book could outdo my love for the story of ultimate underdog Katniss Everdeen. With Gary Ross creating a spectacular peek into the fascinatingly-frightening world that Collins has created, I eagerly await to see what Francis Lawrence will do with the sequel and its expanded cast of characters. I am hoping beyond hope that he is truly able to capture a world in turmoil, as well as new cast additions: the charming Finnick Odair (Sam Clafin), abrasive Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) and quietly intelligent Beetee (Jeffrey Wright).
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald. Having seen Baz Luhrmann work wonders at transforming Shakespearian staple “Romeo and Juliet” into a movie, I am interested to see how he once again teams up with Leonardo Di Caprio to bring one of the most intriguing classic novels to life. Di Caprio will star as the mysterious Jay Gatsby alongside Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. Having seen the trailer, I am even more curious to see Gatsby presented in true 1920’s opulence with a hint of what looks like steampunk on the side.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – J. R. R. Tolkien. Although The Hobbit is currently on my “to-read” list, I had to include this in my top ten because a) it is such a classic children/young-adult’s novel and b) I loved “The Lord of the Rings” (no matter how long each movie was). Although I am kind of disappointed that they’ve split one novel into three (it isn’t THAT long a book…). With Peter Jackson once again directing and almost all of the original cast set to reprise their roles from “The Lord of the Rings”, I cannot wait for Boxing Day to see such a beautifully-crafted fantasy world once again brought to life.
Cloud Atlas –David Mitchell. Having recently added Mitchell’s novel to my pile of “to-read” books, I probably won’t get a chance to read it before the film’s release later this month. With its slight hint of dystopia and a dash of fantasy, the story’s premise is described as “an epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a saviour and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution.
I am curious to see what director Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski do with an all-star cast including Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving.
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy. The romantic tragedy that is “Anna Karenina” has at last made its way to my bookshelf; it tells the story of late 19th Century Russian high society and how a married young woman finds herself drawn to another man and the consequences it will have for her. Although I have only just begun to read it, I cannot wait to see it brought to life on the silver screen. With a cast featuring Kiera Knightley, Jude Law and Michelle Dockery, this film has the potential to be something beautiful. Although it has already been released in the UK, it won’t hit cinemas here until November.
Life of Pi – Yann Martel. I only ever read this book because my sister was studying it for Year 12 and needed me to help her understand it. The novel soon had me enthralled with the story of a boy named Piscine Molitor Patel whose family used to own a zoo, and who finds himself shipwrecked on a boat with a vicious tiger named Richard Parker who he must feed and train in order to avoid being killed himself. The story becomes increasingly complex, until the very end when a monster plot-twist leaves you questioning everything you’d actually read. Ang Lee is set to bring the story to life, alongside an entirely international cast that will see Suraj Sharma in the film’s lead role.
The Giver – Lois Lowry. Yet another dystopian fiction, this novel depicts a world in which all pain has been eliminated by converting everyone to “Sameness”, but which also eliminates any strong feelings or emotional depth from everyone’s lives. Jonas is a young boy, chosen to receive all of society’s memories from the time before “Sameness”, an event which radically transforms his life. Although only in early stages of development, David Yates has been linked to the project.
Oz: The Great and Powerful – L. Frank. Baum. With “The Wizard of Oz” and Judy Garland’s portrayal of Dorothy Gale being one of the most beloved films of all time, this new prequel story of how the Wizard arrived in Oz and became its ruler is sure to pique audience’s interest. The film is set to star James Franco as Oz, Michelle Williams as Glinda the Good witch, as well as Milka Kunis and Rachael Weisz.
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo. A true classic with countless adapatations to its name, “Les Miserables” tells the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean, who becomes a force for good in the world but cannot escape his dark past. Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe will lead an all-star cast featuring Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sascha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. Although there are risks with such a number of big names in any cast, I am very interested to see if director Tom Hooper can pull it off.
The Host – Stephenie Meyer. I don’t like Stephenie Meyer. I hate Twilight with a passion. But strangely enough, I am looking forward to seeing Saorise Ronan play a person with (basically) split personalities in “The Host”. Although her writing style is severely lacking, there was something thought-provoking about the story of Wanderer; a member of a body-snatching alien species that has all but taken over the human race. Wanderer is forced to contend with the rebellious former occupant of her body’s mind, Melanie, who refuses to disappear into nothingness when Wanderer appears. As Melanie forces Wanderer into one of the last remaining settlements of “real humans” a transformation takes place for both Wanderer and Melanie that changes both of their lives.
Although this list is nowhere near exhaustive, it does feature what I hope to be some of the best cinematic adaptations to date. Having said that, dozens of popular YA novels – including Lauren Oliver’s “Delerium”, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” and Cassandra Clare’s “Mortal Instruments” are also heading towards a transformation to the silver screen; many of which I have read, loved, and cannot wait to see, either!