Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Read 'Em Before You See 'Em: Books Into Film

Lawless will be hitting movie screens August 31.  The film stars Shia LaBeouf as Jack Bondurant, one of the bootlegging Bondurant brothers who ran moonshine in Franklin County, Virginia during the Great Depression.  Some shady lawmen wanted a cut of the profits and the result was the bloody episode known as the “Great Moonshine Conspiracy.”  The movie is adapted from the novel The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant—and no, the name isn’t a coincidence.  Though billed as a novel, it’s based on the true story of Bondurant’s grandfather and great uncles.  Incidentally, the writer Sherwood Anderson lived in the area at the time, and it was he who dubbed Franklin “Wettest County in the World” because of all the moonshining.  The cast of the movie includes Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman
Of course, one highly anticipated book into film has been hit by a bit more drama than the studio intended, but still Breaking Dawn pt. 2 is expected to be one of the more lucrative films.  Since this was the last book in the “Twilight” series, the next Stephenie Meyer book to be a movie is The Host, a science fiction story of an alien and a human who find themselves in an uneasy alliance—and a single body.
Charlie is struggling with love, death, and being fifteen in the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky which will be coming to theaters this September.  Emma Watson plays Sam,  Charlie’s crush.  Fans are excited that Chbosky wrote the screenplay for the movie, so it should be true to the book.
Lee Child fans are awaiting the arrival in theaters of Jack ReacherHow they’re waiting is another question entirely!  Some are eager to see the ex-MP troubleshooter on screen, introducing this fascinating character to a whole new audience.  Others are troubled by the casting of Tom Cruise for a character who is supposed to be 6’5” and … um… not Tom Cruise.   A third faction is going to ignore the movie altogether.  If you’re intrigued, the movie is based on the novel One Shot.
The Paperboy is based on the novel of the same name by Pete Dexter.  It stars Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey in this tale of a reporter working on a story involving an inmate on death row who was convicted of killing a local sheriff. The reporter is brought into the story by a woman who has fallen in love with the inmate via the mail, and wants to prove his innocence.
Dean Koontz has been wary of having his books filmed, but after reading a script and meeting the director he liked, he signed off on a movie version of Odd Thomas, one of his best loved characters.  Odd is a short-order cook who can hear the dead and occasionally is called upon to save the world.  The movie stars Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe and Melissa Ordway, and will be out in 2013.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell was a bestselling book that brilliantly blended characters from different times and places to tell one interconnected story, and how actions have consequences that can last for years.  The movie has a great cast:  Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Susan Sarandan.
Tolkien fans are anxiously awaiting The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey, the first part of the book adaptation from Peter Jackson.  Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy received almost universal acclaim for his fidelity to Tolkien’s books and The Hobbit should be more of the same.  The movie brings back Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen, and Christopher Lee and introduces Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.
The Life of Pi by Yann Martell is something of a cult classic.  It’s the story of a young man, the son of a zoo keeper, who is sailing with his family and an assortment of animals to Canada.  Then the ship sinks, and the young man finds himself on a small boat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and a tiger.  The film is scheduled for a November  2012 release.
Oz:  The Great and Powerful is the story of how a young sideshow magician ended up as the Wizard of Oz.  James Franco, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz star in the adaptation of L. Frank Baum's stories. 

Pam aka Mrs. Neal aka The World's Greatest Librarian (and she has a sign from her teens to prove it!) is anxiously awaiting the film version of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stolh.  It's a YA fantasy set in a sleepy little South Carolina town where 17 year old Ethan is counting the days until he can leave Gatlin in his rear view mirror.  Then Lena and her family move to town, carrying secrets and curses, and Ethan is changed forever.  The movie boasts a great cast, including Emmy Rossum, Viola Davis, Jeremy Irons, and Emma Thompson.
Jack Kerouac’s classic beat novel has never made it to the big screen before, so the December premiere of On the Road should break new ground.  It stars Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, and Viggo Mortenson.
Another modern classic book which is being made into a movie for the first time is Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.  While it began life as a short story in 1977, the tale of Ender Wiggin was so popular that Card expanded it into a novel in 1985 and has tweaked it a bit since. Several sequels followed.  In the original story, gifted children are sent to Battleschool, where they learn military tactics to try to save the world from an insect-like alien race. Harrison Ford stars, along with Asa Butterfield, a talented young actor who starred in Hugo and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
On the other hand, there are a number of film remakes of classic novels coming out at the end of the year.  Here are some of the more intriguing ones:
·         Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina casts Keira Knightly and Jude Law as husband and wife 

·         Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables gained a whole new audience as a musical best known by fans as Les Miz; this version features Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe

·         The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Isla Fisher is the latest F. Scott Fitzgerald work to go to the big screen

·         Last but not least, Emily Bronte’s only novel is being filmed yet again, so look for a new version of Wuthering Heights in a theatre near you.

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