From books to the big screen

By Kirstin Buick
17 September 2013

Our book blogger highlights her five picks of books being turned into movies.


Yes, the book is better than the movie, but it’s often quite exciting when a favourite book is being adapted for the big screen to see if the director’s vision matches the pictures in your head.

Sometimes it disappoints but quite a few have been really good, think the Harry Potter books that exceeded expectation, Mystic River by Dennis Lehane is one of my favourites and Stephen King may have hated the move version of his book The Shining but most people loved it. I also think The Godfather screen version was better than Mario Puzo’s book and I preferred the movie Children of Men to the PD James novel it’s based on. Movie producers have been snapping up books, some before they’ve even been published, as they look for new material. And there are some goodies on the way . . .

Here are five that I’m looking forward to.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The book: It was the most buzzed about thriller of 2012. Unlikeable couple Nick and Amy Dunne’s marriage is under the spotlight as he’s accused of her murder when she goes missing, and it gets complicated and more and more fascinating.

The movie: I am stoked about this one. Director David Fincher, who helmed Fight Club and The Social Network, is in charge and it’s being produced by Reese Witherspoon’s production company so those are safe hands, right? Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike play Nick and Amy and Tyler Perry is Nick’s lawyer. Production starts end of this month so it should be released late 2014 or 2015. Can’t wait.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The book: I have a soft spot for young adult dystopian fiction and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series is a favourite. In a dystopian Chicago, people are divided into factions based on personality and skills: Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the peaceful), Dauntless (the brave) and Abnegation (the selfless). Sixteen-year-old Beatrice was raised in Abnegation, who believe in peace through selfless acts, but moves to Dauntless and begins training with the thrill-seeking, fearless faction. She leaves her family behind, changes her name to Tris and meets the mysterious and gorgeous Four.

The movie: Shailene Woodley didn’t quite match my idea of Tris but she’s a good actress who’ll be well supported by Kate Winslet who plays one of the baddies and Theo James (Underworld Awakening) as Four.

On screen in South Africa: 18 April 2014.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The book: The tears flow freely as you read this book narrated by Death. Liesel Meminger is a German girl in late-1930s Nazi Germany who’s fostered by Hans and Rosa Hubermann just outside Munich. She starts stealing books even though she can’t read, and Hans uses them to teach her to read as their worlds fall apart.

The movie: I’m nervous about this one; the book is so special I’m almost too scared to watch it. And fans were initially worried it wouldn’t include Death as narrator but author Markus Zusak said on his website that he’s looking forward to seeing how Death “enters the screen and to hear him speak” so it sounds like the producers will be true to that part of the book. French-Canadian actress Sophie Nélisse also looks like a good Liesel and veteran actors Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson play the Hubermanns.

On screen in South Africa: 7 February 2014

 Horns by Joe Hill

The book: Joe Hill, son of legendary horror writer Stephen King, has delivered a wonderful Goth-like fantasy tale. The grief-stricken Ig Perrish sprouts horns and supernatural powers about a year after his girlfriend is raped and killed. He was the main suspect but never charged and now intends using his diabolical new powers to find the killer. It’s dark and it’s fabulous.

The movie: Daniel Radcliffe (above) has moved on from Harry Potter and has grown horns to play Ig Perrish. Author Joe Hill says he’s wonderful and I don’t doubt him. Juno Temple plays the dead girlfriend (she played the cousin Lola in Atonement). It’s set for release internationally next year.

 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The book: It’s ugly-cry territory as you get to know 16-year-old Hazel Lancaster who’s battling cancer and forced by her parents to join a support group. There she meets Augustus Waters. It’s about love, friendship and life and it’s hard not to feel attached to these two so shake out your hankies. Sob.

The movie: Shailene Woodley is a busy girl; this time she’s playing Hazel. Ansel Elgort plays Augustus and, interestingly, he’s also in Divergent, playing Tris’ brother, Caleb. It’s set for release in 2014.

 - Natalie Cavernelis

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