From Page To Screen: Upcoming Film and TV Adaptations

Readers who also love to go to the movies or curl up in front of the TV have several reasons to cheer. This winter has been overflowing with news about upcoming projects that will adapt favorite reads into movies and TV shows — and in one case, the process will go in the opposite direction. Find out which of these adaptations are making our TBS (To Be Seen) List and find out which rumored deal has us anxious for more news!

FILM ADAPTATIONS

29 by Adena Halpern

This mainstream novel hit stores in the summer of 2010 and immediately became one of the season’s hottest accessories. The tale of a widow who wishes to be twenty-nine again for one day — and gets her wish — was rated an RT Top Pick! and it was nominated for that month’s RT Seal of Excellence. 29 remains one of RT’s Morgan’s favorite mainstream tales because of how it starts with a fun premise but then delves into some emotionally intense territory about relationships and aging. She suggests that you pick up a copy before you head to see the film that is set to be adapted by the same team that came up with the smash hit Legally Blonde!

The Author Opens Up About Her Inspiration >>

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

RT’s Whitney could not contain her glee when she learned that Selena Gomez’s production company had picked up this beautiful YA novel for adaptation. The offbeat story follows Lennie as she tries to figure out how to continue living in the year after her beloved big sister commits suicide. Whitney gave the 2010 novel four and a half stars and said of it, “Funky and more fun than a story about grieving has the right to be, Nelson's novel has a light touch that's a joy to read.” So we’re all anxious to see what Selena will do with the roll of the geeky Lennie — and who gets cast as the two boys who want her attention.

Get The Details >>

Stay Close by Harlan Coben

Mystery bestseller Harlan Coben’s upcoming March 2012 novel promises to be a winner. The story weaves together a dissatisfied housewife, a one-time documentary photographer and an obsessed detective with a plot about old secrets and far-reaching consequences. The author will be teaming up with director Lawrence Kasdan and the pair is hoping to keep the project moving quickly. They plan to have the script finished by March when the book comes out, announced Deadline.com, where Kasdan said of the novel, “I think it’s the most adaptable of his books, with a tight plot and strong characters. We’ll have the script ready by March, and at that point we’ll see who salutes. When you boil Harlan’s fiction to its core, it’s intensity, momentum and tension and this will be a medium budget sexy and violent film.”

Magic Kingdom For Sale — Sold! by Terry Brooks

This 1986 fantasy tale will be the basis of the upcoming movie optioned by Warner Brothers. The story follows an average Joe lawyer named Ben who decides to purchase the kingdom of Landover. However, when he moves to his new home, he learns that the advertisement left out several important details — not only is the land falling into ruin, there’s a dragon harassing the countryside and a lord of demons is itching for a fight to the death with Londover’s newest ruler. The team that will be adapting this novel has most recently worked on Paranormal Activity 3 and Untraceable, so we are eager to see how they bring this fantasy series to life.

CASTING NEWS

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

There are updates about this project that science fiction readers and Twilight fans alike have been eagerly awaiting: who has signed on to play the leads. The story picks up just after an alien invasion of Earth, as foreign creatures have taken control over human bodies. However, the human heroine Melanie refuses to give up her body to The Wanderer and instead seeks to reunite with her lover Jared. But will The Wanderer's handler The Seeker be able to keep this from happening? We have no idea but we can't wait for The Lovely Bones’ Saoirse Roanan and Red Riding Hood’s Max Irons to play Melanie and Jared. And we’ve just learned that Diane Kruger will play The Seeker, who is trying to keep the entire situation under control. The film adaptation of Meyer’s first adult novel is set to be spread out over three movies, with the first scheduled to be premiering in theaters on March 29, 2013.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

In this futuristic tale, young Andrew “Ender” Wiggin gets drafted into Earth's highly-competitive Battle School. There, despite his success at the mock battles he struggles with his peers who torment him. But will he be able to become the general that Earth needs to save it from destruction at alien hands? This 1994 Young Adult science fiction story had a long path to adaptation but it now boasts an absolutely stellar cast. True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Hugo’s Asa Butterfield, who will play Ender, join veteran actors Harrison Ford and Abigail Breslin. And we’ve just learned that Schindler’s List’s Ben Kingsley, who worked with Butterfield in Hugo, and the young actor Brandon Soo Hoo are also coming on board for the upcoming movie. The film has a tentative release date of March 15, 2013.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Singer and sometimes actor Taylor Swift will be playing across from Zac Efron for this March’s re-boot of The Lorax. The character that she voices is one of several that were added to the movie version of the tale. In an interview with Producer Chris Melandri over at Buzz Sugar, he said, "We felt a little bit like there's permission to move beyond the strict design language that you see in all the other books, because Geisel [Dr. Seuss] moved beyond. Toward the end of his writing and illustrating, humans were more human, and the colors were less Seuss-ian. We loved the design and felt that the stage had been set by Geisel, himself having gone outside of the parameters of what we had gotten to know as sort of the Seuss-ian design." No matter how this team of artists and actors brings the tale to (animated) life, we’re looking forward to watching the story unfold on the big screen next month!

TV SHOWS PREMIERING SOON

One book-turned-TV series that we are looking forward to watching is CBS’ adaptation of the Mommy Track Mysteries by Ayelet Waldman. Her humorous series about an ex-public defender who leaves the life to be a stay-at-home mom, only to decide to become a private investigator is sure to please. Fans of The Closer, Prime Suspect and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series will want to keep this show on their radar.

The CW has picked up three shows that we are eagerly anticipating tuning in for. We've already mentioned our excitement about The Carrie Diaries, but it’s worth repeating that we can’t wait to see a young Carrie Bradshaw take on the world and get ready to make her mark on New York City — complete with fabulous ‘80s fashion. Additionally, CW watchers will be treated to an adaptation of the Green Arrow’s classic comic book story. The project is slated to be just called Arrow. We feel confident that after the finale of Smallville, superhero enthusiasts will flock to this new show. The channel will also boast an update of CBS’ Beauty and the Beast series from the 1980s, but the producers are giving the story a procedural drama feel. (Our fingers are crossed that this tale navigates the gray area between sweet fantasy and harsh crime story better than this season’s Grimm does.)

The CW isn’t the only channel that is embracing a familiar story. ABC will be adapting Judith Krantz’ 1978 drama Scruples. The bestselling story charts the rise of Wilhelmina Hunnewell Winthrop — who readers may remember as Billy. The heroine loses weight, gains fame and outlives her rich first husband before she decides to open a boutique in Beverly Hills. The story was previously adapted as a 1980s miniseries that starred Lindsay Wagner, so we are interested to see what incarnation of the original story is created this time around. The upcoming show will be co-produced by the author’s son and Natalie Portman, in the actress’ first time producing a series.

ABC will also be picking up the paranormal tale 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce for adaptation. The 2011 paranormal fiction follows couple Malcolm Doran and Jane Boyle as they become the managers of a New York City apartment building where strange, paranormal events start taking place. Writer David Wilcox is attached the project, and although his name may not be a household one, he’s gained attention for his work on Fringe and Law and Order. ABC’s Paul Lee who had a hand in seeing the popular show Pretty Little Liars come to ABC Family will also oversee this new adaptation. With folks like these working behind the scenes, this series seems like a guaranteed hit.

A REVERSE ADAPTATION

The popular FX series Justified is based on a U.S. Marshal who was introduced in Elmore Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole”. However, fans who are looking to read more about the character that is brought to life by Timothy Olyphant will be pleased to learn that this series is getting it’s own novel with the upcoming Leonard novel, Raylan. Nonetheless, Barnes & Noble Review warns readers not to expect this tale to be a straightforward adventure, saying that it is “essentially a couple of long short stories woven loosely into a novel.” There are several RT editors who are avid Justified fans and are eagerly anticipating this novel adaptation’s release date.

RUMORED REPORT

Ridley Scott is discussing adapting Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor as his next big film. This is the tale of a lawyer who tries to only be a little bit involved in the world of drug selling, only to discover he’s been sucked in and must attempt to separate himself from the path he is taking. McCarthy himself wrote the spec screenplay, which was picked up by the producers that worked on the adaptation of the author’s The Road, the 2009 movie staring Viggo Mortensen. Part of that team, Steve Schwartz, said to Deadline of The Counselor, “It’s a masculine world into which, unusually, two women intrude to play leading roles. McCarthy’s wit and humor in the dialogue make the nightmare even scarier. This may be one of McCarthy’s most disturbing and powerful works.” So viewers be warned, you can look forward to keeping the lights on after you see this adaptation.

Does one of these upcoming adaptations have you anxious to buy your ticket or program your DVR? Let us know in the comments below!