Literary adaptations on-screen struck big in 2018 with Crazy Rich Asians (book by Kevin Kwan), Mowgli (adapted from The Jungle Book and the nth adaptation so far), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and A Wrinkle in Time. In Bangladesh, there was Debi which was based on Humayun Ahmed's 1985 popular novel from the psychological thriller Misir Ali series. Netflix also had a good run with the successful screen adaptation of the 2014 young adult novel To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han.
While on-screen adaptations have to contend with the high expectations of readers, they also guarantee an in-built audience. It is difficult to impress loyal readers, but not impossible, and filmgoers are introduced to the story directly in theatres and may read the book too if they love the adaptation. These days writers also write with a film adaptation and TV potential in mind. Many also help develop or write the entire screenplay for their book adaptation. Post-release, the discussion eventually turns into a frenzied comparison—"Is the film better than the book?" "No, that's impossible!"
With a successful 'page to screen' year behind us, it feels like it is time again to refresh our memory or newly read the novels that will see a page to screen adaptation. Below are some that has us very, very excited. Both old and recent books are on this list.
Pet Sematary & It: Chapter Two
Stephen King's horror novels are top choice for filmmakers (The Shining anyone? Or Carrie?).This is the second adaptation of Pet Sematary, the first film was released in 1989. The story of Dr Louis Creed and his family settling in a small town which of course takes a sinister turn, involving a cat that comes back from the dead from the pet cemetery. This is out in April.
Not the only King adaptation out this year, also coming to the big screen is the sequel to the successful 2017 It (1986), titled (obviously or dubiously) It: Chapter Two. The seven friends return to fight a terrorising foe once more. Out in September.
The Woman in the Window
The New York Times bestseller by A.J. Finn is a worthy successor to recent successful book-to-film thrillers Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.
The Woman in the Window will find us following Anna Fox, a child psychologist with debilitating agoraphobia, who hasn't left her home in 10 months. She witnesses a crime through her window in her usual day-to-day spying on the neighbours. What will she do?
Directed by Joe Wright (of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice adaptation) and starring Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, and Gary Oldman, The Woman in the Window is out in October.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Goldfinch (2013) by Donna Tartt, centered around teenaged Theo Decker who survives a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which kills his mother, and steals a painting (the namesake of the book/film) in the aftermath. As he grows up, he clings to the painting as the only reminder of his mother, but which leads him into the dangerous underworld of art.
Directed by John Crowley and starring Nicole Kidman, Luke Wilson, and Ansel Elgort among others, The Goldfinch will hit the screens in October.
The classic tale, of four sisters growing up in post-Civil War Massachusetts, by Louisa May Alcott has seen at least 20 adaptations so far. This latest is directed by indie ingénue Greta Gerwig, of Lady Bird fame, who brings together a stellar star cast including Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, and Timothée Chalamet. The March sisters' (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) story will be out on screens in December.
The Call of the Wild
Jack London's 1903 novel follows Buck, forced to become feral in the struggle to survive as a sled dog in harsh, unfamiliar Alaska. Call of the Wild will be a live action/CGI animated feature this time around, starring Harrison Ford and Dan Stevens, and will be out in December.
Rickshaw Girl is based on the 2007 bestselling young adult novel of the same name by Mitali Perkins (who discussed her book at Dhaka Lit Fest last year). Naima, a Bangladeshi girl, pretends to be a boy so she can drive her father's rickshaw and help out the family. She also has an aptitude for designing 'alpanas'. Audiences can look forward to a showcase of rickshaw art in Dhaka, which director Chowdhury says he will explore in the film, as well as animation.
Directed by Amitabh Reza Chowdhury, Rickshaw Girl is currently in pre-production.