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5 Upcoming Book Adaptations So Exciting You'll Whip Your Shirt Off

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | April 11, 2013 | Comments ()


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"This Is Where I Leave You"
If you haven't picked up Jonathan Tropper's hilarious and poignant 2009 novel, I can't recommend it enough. Give it a read before Shawn Levy's adaptation hits theaters. Even if you don't read the book, you cannot argue with the caliber of actors they've round up. You may want to hold onto something. Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schwartz, Rose Byrne Aaron Eckhart, Kathy Bates and Adam Driver.
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"In The Heart Of The Sea"
News has been coming hot and heavy about Ron Howard's adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick's Nation Book Award-winning novel that tells the "true story" of the shipwreck that was the inspiration for Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." The 19th century plot will star (a, fingers crossed, soaking wet) Chris Hemsworth and young Tom Holland. The book was a fantastic read and even though Howard often has a saccharine touch, I think the subject matter is harrowing enough to save us all from sugar overload. Fans of the severely under-loved Master And Commander should brace themselves for this.
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"Beautiful Ruins"
One of the best literary adaptors working today, Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) will be adapting Jess Walter's popular novel set in 1960s Italy (and elsewhere). I've no doubt that with Field at the helm the adaptation will be an intelligent and poignant affair and, at the very least, it will be a gorgeous thing to to look at.
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"Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell"
BBC America announced this week that they'll be making a seven-hour mini-series of Susanna Clarke's engrossing tale of two rival magicians in 18th century England. Clarke's world was involved and meticulous with plenty of material to be mined. Though no casting news has been announced yet, I'd appreciate it if the usual suspects would report to my bunk. Mr. Cumberbatch too, if you please.
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"Twelve Years A Slave"
Steve McQueen's ambitious all-star epic featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruth Negga, Adepero Oduye, Alfre Woodard, Lupita Nyong'o, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Garret Dillahunt, Michael K. Williams, Quvenzhane Wallis, Paul Giamatti and Sarah Paulson has been given an R-rating. Significance? Well McQueen's first film, Hunger, was never rated and his most recent, Shame has besmirched by an NC-17 rating making this harrowing story of slavery his most accessible and family-friendly film yet. Bring the kids!
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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Al

    Inherent Vice is being made into a film by Paul Thomas Anderson. The novel was written by the great Thomas Pynchon. Has a Big Lebowski feel to it.

  • Bea Pants

    So, what I'm seeing here is that I need to go back and give Jonathan Strange another go. Because you all seem to love it and I respect the opinion of the average 'jiban. I tried it read it years ago and gave up about midway through because it was dragging something awful and I didn't much care what happened to anyone.

  • I like Ejiofor's face.

  • Strand

    Master and Commander is one of my favourite films but it's the only one I actually hated the first time. I was forced to watch it for a senior English class and at the time, it was hyped as "Gladiator on a boat" with every trailer showing nothing but naval combat. Boy were we disappointed

    It was 120 minutes of bro love between Aubrey and Maturin, exploration of honour and duty, and how fucked up life was on a 19th century warship. The only two, short battles bookended the movie. I watched it again after I graduated and enjoyed it and every time I've watched it since (at least once a year), it has only gotten stronger. It's probably my favourite Peter Weir movie, though I know how much everyone loves The Truman Show.

  • kirbyjay

    Can't agree enough. I love all things Russell Crowe but this is up there with LA Confidential and Gladiator. He brought the right amount of authority, compassion, bravery and humor to that role and Paul Bettany was note perfect.
    I just read a comment on another site that said Crowe was a terrible actor, like Tom Cruise, he was Russell Crowe in every movie he made. Not that Tom Cruise is Russell Crowe in every movie, but you know what I mean. I defy you to compare Maximus, Capt. Jack Aubrey, Bud White, John Nash, James Broderick etc.... as the same person.

  • Very excited by Strange & Norrell - think it's very well suited for a BBC show. I very much like how this lady casts it: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/...

    Also - WOLF HALL! So excited that this is going to be a BBC show too. And an RSC production as well!

  • annie

    I'm not seeing a picture of Timothy Olyphant on this page. Down vote.

  • Guest

    I'd like to add, because I just saw the trailer today and am bouncing off the walls with excitement: the adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel Filth, starring James McAvoy!

  • bleujayone

    THERE'S NO RULES!!!

    -Put your shirt back on!

    THERE'S ONE RULE!

  • yocean

    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell!!!! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! That's the only good that ever made me cry at the end, not because it was depressing though it does get grim, but because I was happy for the resolution, brief and bitter sweet though it was. Tennant will be perrrrfect for Jonathan Strange!!! Cumberbatch could play the Gentleman with Thistle Hair maybe?

  • dannyexplosion

    Chris Hemsworth needs to be Jack Reacher. You Iceholes know I'm right.

  • I could NOT be more excited to see Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell being made into a miniseries. Best news I've heard all week!

  • nachosanchez

    Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell sounds very Prestige-y

  • BWeaves

    Actually, there's practically no magic in JS&MN. They talk about doing magic occasionally, but you don't actually see anything being done. You don't get any spells or potions. It's more about the people and the politics.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I think you should read it again.

  • BWeaves

    I remember plenty of magic in the book. I just mean it's not like Harry Potter where the wizards are waving wands around and saying magic words. Most of the magic that Strange and Norrell do is off screen, so to speak. You see the results, but not how it's done. I don't mean to say that magic stuff doesn't happen. Obviously there are the evil fairies, and Vinculus, and the magic that they do for the Napoleonic War, etc.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Okay. That's true. The magic is not flashy.

  • foolsage

    No, no, no. It really isn't Prestige-y at all. It's an alternate history fairy tale, more or less, and it's ALL about being English. It's about war and magic and blood and proper manners. It's about being friends with people, even when you don't have much in common, and about the fine line between magic and madness. It's about dancing even when you don't want to. It's the Grimm fairy tales as told by Jane Austen.

    I know that sounds very odd but it's as accurate as I can get without spoiling it.

    I am VERY happy to hear this is being developed.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    While I like The Prestige, it has nothing on that story.

  • lowercase_ryan

    pfff I ripped my shirt off hours ago.

  • BWeaves

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS, so you have been warned.

    When I read JS&MN, I was in between Harry Potters, and I'd heard it was sort of a cross between Jane Austin and Harry Potter for grown-ups. I was bored by the first third of the book. I started to get interested by the 2nd third of the book. I couldn't put it down by the 3rd third of the book, so much so, that I kept reading until 2 a.m. to finish it.

    Did I say SPOILERS yet?

    OK, so I turn off the lights to go to bed, and sneak into my bedroom with the lights off, so as not to wake darling hubby. I find my closet, to take off my clothes and I put out my hand to find a hanger. Nothing. I put both arms out and twirl around in what I thought was my closet. Nothing. I look for the light from the window, or the red dot of the alarm system on the wall. Nothing. I'm in a cone of complete darkness. AYAYAYAYAYAYAYYA! I was totally freaked out.

    It turned out I was in my closet, which explained the lack of any light from any source. But when I put both arms out and twirled around, I should have touched SOMETHING. Somehow I managed to miss every single thing in my closet, and totally disoriented myself.

  • JenVegas

    I am glad I am not alone in my boredom of the beginning of that book. I ditched it instead of slagging through it. I think I was broke at the time and sold it to Myopic Book Store. I'll give the mini-series a go though. Shrug.

  • rio

    I read the script for "twelve years a slave" and it was absolutely incredible. Brutal and hopeless and incredibly full of humanity. I cant wait to see it. I also read the adaptation for "A slight trick of the mind", that's also a terrific script and I hope that it will actually get produced since we apparently cant get enough of Sherlock Holmes.

  • And good lord, that cast. Hopefully Mr. Ejiofor can finally get the nomination h should have had for Serenity or Dirty Pretty Things.

  • rio

    agreed wholeheartedly. Like I wasn't already thrilled for the movie, that was the cherry on top.

  • Kala

    Agree wholeheartedly. And even though that cast is amazing, what sold me was seeing Michael K. Williams, who should be in every other thing made.

  • I'm curious to see how Quevenzhane Wallis does in a different part. I thought she was terrific in Beasts of the Southern Wild, but I always wondered how much of Hushpuppy was her, and how much was acting.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    This piece brought to you be a desire to post pictures of Connie Britton. APPROVED.

  • Scully

    Michael Fassbender as Strange
    Ian Holm for Norrell
    Alan Rickman as Vinculus
    Cumberbatch as Childermass
    Idris Elba as Stephen Black
    And Tilda Swinton for The Raven King.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Not Holm. Toby Jones. He'd be perfect. Swinton would make a great Gentleman With The Thistledown Hair; Tennant can do the Raven King (if not Strange himself).

    Also: Ciaran Hinds as Wellington

  • foolsage

    Hells yes. Perfect casting.

  • Samantha Klein

    If ANY of "the usual suspects" are in JS&MN, I will punch a hole in my television. Please, can't we find someone else to be British? Preferably more attractive someones? Yeah, sorry, bite me. Also, I'm not super-thrilled that it's being adapted at all, but I guess a mini-series might be better than a movie, Maybe.

    I am horribly excited about Twelve Years a Slave, though. It is time for people to take more note of Mr. Ejiofor.

  • I thought the same thing. Can we stop casting the same damned people in everything? It's ridiculous.

  • Samantha Klein

    I mean, it's not like there aren't a bazillion British actors running around, right? Anyway, wasn't Strange supposed to be sort of a chubby, pleasant-faced ginger? It's been years since I read the book; I will remedy that shortly.

  • Pentadactyl

    "In person he was rather tall and his figure was considered good. Some people thought him handsome, but this was not by any means the universal opinion. His face had two faults: a long nose and an ironic expression. It is also true that his hair had a reddish tinge and, as everybody knows, no one with red hair can ever truly be said to be handsome."

  • Derreck

    Beautiful Ruins! That book was pretty much made to be a movie.

    Looking forward to hearing about the cast. Especially drunk ass Richard Burton.

  • MrsAtaxxia

    Casting for this is going to be really interesting, I'm really looking forward to Burton, but also for who they get to play old Joan Rivers-ed out Micheal Deane. Cause that could be a lot of fun for someone who wanted to really go for it.

  • Derreck

    Ooh, i forgot about that. That should be a really interesting one.

  • MrsAtaxxia

    I hope they really go for it too. Cause the way Walter describes him as a Hollywood grotesque is so wonderful I don't want it to be someone with like, a chemical peel and a little botox. I want full on Cat Lady face.

  • Samantha Klein

    Like, Richard Burton, Richard Burton?

  • Derreck

    Yep, Richard Burton right around the time he was in the middle of doing Cleopatra....and Elizabeth Taylor.

    Beautiful Ruins was tied with Gone Girl for my favorite book of 2012. Such a lovely read.

  • Samantha Klein

    So, um. I realize this is Pajiba, who is generally snarky about him, and that I am a massive fan and therefore my judgement may be suspect, but I'm also currently obsessed with Richard Burton, and truthfully, there is only one individual making movies today who can play him, and that is Russell Crowe. Seriously, though, look at them. Even if it's young Burton, he can still do it, and MUST do it. All that I need in life is for Crowe to play Burton in a movie. After that I will stop watching movies and take a vow of damn near anything, but it just needs to happen.

  • Derreck

    Interesting choice. I think Crowe would be too old for the part, but i'm certain that he could pull off Burton's mellifluous voice and the resemblance isn't too far off either.

    If you haven't read the book, it would quite fun for a Burton fan. He's a supporting character, is partly the inspiration for the title and is instrumental in a particular subplot (no spoilers!)

    Right after reading the book, i decided to read Furious Love (another must read if you haven't already) because I ended up being so interested about Burton and Taylor's love affair through reading Beautiful Ruins.

    I love those two and how rich, glamorous, drunk, fabulous and passionate they were.

  • Samantha Klein

    I loved Furious Love. I will definitely read Beautiful Ruins as soon as I get tired of attempting to read nothing but Victorian novels for the year. :)

  • MrsAtaxxia

    Yep. Drunk driving all over Italy. Vrooooom.

  • mswas

    I really loved that book.

  • Tinkerville

    If David Tennant isn't in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell I will buy a ticket to London just to smack the BBC upside the head. Paul Bettany would also be a great addition.

  • I think Tennant would be even more perfect as the Gentleman With The Thistledown Hair.

  • Laura

    But will I whip my hair?

  • Zirza

    Thou wilst. Back and forth it shall go. 'Tis written.

  • e jerry powell

    And the drag queens, they shall drop it. Yea, verily, unto the ground, as though it were hot.

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