From Page to Screen: Bookish Films Coming to a Theater Near You

Before I Go To Sleep Film PosterIt may seem as though every movie hitting the silver screen lately is based on a comic book, but novels and other books are better represented in Hollywood than you may realize. Once upon a time, studio heads in LaLa Land hired the likes of William Faulkner, Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ray Bradbury to pen scripts for them. Nowadays, book publishing deals often include brokering film rights, leading to that seemingly ubiquitous line in movie credits and film posters: “Based on the book by…” 

This week, because several of us are wiped out from assembling Bas Bleu’s Holiday 2014 issue and another one of us is working round the clock to take care of her extremely adorable newborn baby, we decided to kick back with some of the trailers for bookish films coming to a theater near you. Those titles marked with an asterisk (*) indicate books currently or previously featured in the Bas Bleu catalog. If you’re the type of bluestocking who likes to read the book before seeing the movie…well, you’d best get crackin’!

This is Where I Leave You — Now showing
Jonathan Tropper wrote the screenplay for this adaptation of his 2009 novel about four adult siblings who return home for their father’s funeral and are forced to spend a week together while sitting shiva. Jane Fonda (whose lengthy resume includes film adaptations of Barefoot in the Park, A Doll’s House, and Stanley & Iris), Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, and Corey Stoll (from Netflix’s House of Cards which—surprise, surprise!—is also based on a book) lead an all-star cast of a film we think looks pretty darn funny.


Gone Girl
— October 3
Gillian Flynn’s slow-burning, he said/she said mystery took the literary community by storm in 2012 and 2013, dividing readers with its love-it-or-hate-it ending. The film adaptation stars Ben Affleck (who directed book-based films Argo and The Town) and Rosamund Pike (who appeared in film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Jack Reacher). A movie version of Flynn’s second novel, Dark Places, will hit theaters later this fall.


Before I Go to Sleep*
— October 31
We featured this thriller about an amnesiac who makes new memories each day—only to forget them while she sleeps—in Bas Bleu’s Autumn 2014 catalog. The film adaptation stars Nicole Kidman (whose previous literary roles include The Portrait of a Lady, The Hours, The Human Stain, and Billy Bathgate). As for the men trying to help/manipulate her: Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Colin Firth (Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Turn of the Screw, and some little period miniseries called Pride and Prejudice) are looking mighty fine—and a little creepy.


Wild
— December 5
The film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 New York Times-bestselling memoir stars Reese Witherspoon (who won audiences as Tracy Flick in the movie version of Tom Perotta’s novel Election and portrayed Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair) as a troubled young woman seeking redemption and clarity on a solo 1,100-mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail.


Unbroken —
December 25
If you’re looking for perspective on your “first world” problems, this film adaptation of Lauren Hildebrand’s biography Unbroken should do the trick. It’s the real-life survival story of American Louis Zamperini (who died just this summer) and chronicles his extraordinary life, first as an Olympian and later during World War II, when he narrowly survived a plane crash in in the Pacific Ocean—only to be taken prisoner by the Japanese.


Serena*
—February 26, 2015
Our reviewer KG describes Ron Rash’s 2008 novel Serena as “Macbeth set in the Smoky Mountains.” Whether the upcoming film adaptation can capture the savage beauty of the novel about a powerful, ambitious young woman and her timber-baron husband remains to be seen, but the cast is promising. The movie reunites Silver Linings Playbook co-stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, who reprises her role as literary heroine Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 this November).

 

Want more book-based films? Check your local theater listings (or your home-video service of choice) for 2014 adaptations of Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Patricia Highsmith’s The Two Faces of January, James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, Irène Némirovksy’s Suite Française*, Katherine Patterson’s The Great Gilly Hopkins, William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and Richard C. Morais’s The Hundred-Foot Journey.

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