From Book to Big Screen

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This afternoon, a friend of mine was nice enough to send me a nifty little list of upcoming films for 2009. Since there are a lot of fun movies coming out, I thought I'd give you all a heads up on some books that are being adapted for the big screen. Enjoy!

Inkheart, directed by Iain Softley. It is based on the 2003 German novel of the same name by Cornelia Funke.

Pros: It seems to follow the book relatively closely. Cons: Brendan Fraser. Enough said. Fun Fact: It was filmed at Shepperton Studios near London, which has seen the likes of Kenneth Branagh, Michael Radford, and Ridley Scott.

Hotel for Dogs, directed by Thor Freudenthal.This adaptation is based on a Lois Duncan book of the same name.

Pros: It's a cute family film. Cons: It's Nickelodeon, so you know the level of silliness just went up twenty points. Fun Fact: Lois Duncan also wrote I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Coraline, directed by Henry Selick. This film is based on Neil Gaiman's novella also titled Coraline.

Pros: It's Neil Gaiman! All his stories are extremely imaginative and quirky. Cons: It's a stop motion animated film. Fun Fact: They Might Be Giants is doing the score for this film.

Cirque du Freak, directed by Paul Weitz. Based on Darren Shan's first three novels in The Saga of Darren Shan. Below is the first photo available to the public.

Pros: All you vampire lovers will probably love this story about "a boy who unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, one teen will vanish from the safety of a boring existence and fulfill his destiny in a place drawn from nightmares." Cons: No love story seems to be involved. Sorry, guys. Fun Fact: Most of this film was shot in New Orleans.

, directed by Zack Snyder. This film is based on a comic book series by Alan Moore.

Pros: It has a high budget, so you know that the effects are going to be pretty awesome. Cons: Seriously, what's with the Batman-esque figure? Fun Fact: Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain) was once attached to this project, while Jude Law and Daniel Craig were reportedly once interested.

The Informant, directed by Steven Soderbergh.

"The Informant is a true story that parallels a mixture of "A Beautiful Mind" and "The Insider" -- where real life Ph.D.s had done something extraordinary. Based on Kurt Eichenwald's 2000 book, "The Informant" is the tale of Mark Whitacre (played by Matt Damon), an Ivy League Ph.D. who was a rising star at Decatur's Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in the early 1990s. He wound up blowing the whistle on the company's price fixing tactics and became the highest-ranked executive to ever turn whistleblower in US history. Whitacre secretly gathered hundreds of hours of video and audio tapes over several years to present to the FBI which became one of the largest price fixing cases in history. In the story -- a dark comedy / thriller in director Steven Soderbergh's hands -- Whitacre's good deed dovetails with his own major infractions and struggle with bipolar disorder."

Pros: (a)It's based on a true story. (b) It has Matt Damon. Cons: None that I can foresee. Fun Fact: Most of this film was shot in Illinois by director Steven Soderbergh (Oceans Eleven).

Julie & Julia, directed by Nora Ephron. Based on Julie Powell's memoir Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.

"A frustrated temp secretary embarks on a yearlong culinary quest to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She chronicles her trials and tribulations in a blog that catches on with the food crowd. The film also covers the years Julia Child and her husband Paul spent in Paris during the 1940s and '50s, when Paul was a foreign diplomat who was eventually investigated by Sen. Joseph McCarthy for alleged communist ties."

Pros: Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are the two main characters. Cons: None thus far. Fun Fact: Mastering the Art of French Cooking are separated into two volumes. The first was published in 1961, then followed up nine years later with volume II.

Angels and Demons
, directed by Ron Howard. Based on Dan Brown's book by the same title.

Pros: It's an extremely interesting, convoluted story. I would even go as far as to say it's better than The DaVinci Code. Cons: I'm still not crazy about Tom Hanks as Langdon. Fun Fact: "Obelisk" was the projects fake working title.

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince
, directed by David Yates. Based on J.K. Rowling's book by the same title.

Pros: These films are always spectacularly shot in beautiful and unique locations. Cons: The ending has been radically changed. Or at least that is what Wikipedia is reporting. Fun Fact: Hero Fiennes Tiffin, who plays young Voldemort, is the real life nephrew of Ralf Fiennes.

The Lovely Bones, directed by Peter Jackson. Based on a book by Alice Sebold.

"In 1973, Susie Salmon (Ronan) is raped and murdered by a neighbor, George Harvey (Tucci), a serial killer of young girls. She finds herself in Heaven, observing her family as they grieve for her. She also watches her killer who, having covered his tracks successfully, is preparing to murder again. Susie struggles to balance her desire for vengeance on Harvey and her desire to have her family recover from their loss."

Pros: It's Peter Jackson, which some of you may know as the director of Lord of the Rings. Automatically, this makes it a good movie in my book. Cons: None that I foresee. Fun Fact: Ryan Gosling gained 20 pounds and grew a beard to play the role of Susie's father, ultimately it didn't work and the role was recast with Mark Wahlberg.

Sherlock Holmes, directed by Guy Richie. Based on Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.

Pros: It's Sherlock. You can't go wrong with Sherlock. It's elementary, my dear Watson. Cons: None so far. Fun Fact: As a child and away at boarding school, Richie used to fall asleep listening to Holmes stories over the loudspeaker.

Some other great family films that are coming out are:

Where the Wild Things Are

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Princess and the Frog