2015 Books into Films

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Written by Diana Cheng

By now, you probably have seen some of the movie adaptations listed in the previous BookBuzz, like Gone GirlUnbroken, and The Imitation Game. Here, to kick off 2015, we have a whole new list for you, movies based on books coming out this year.

A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson

This has developed into a genre of its own in recent years. We are all familiar with road trip movies, and now we have films based on the long walking journey to self- discovery. 2013 saw the adaptation of Tracks (2013) by Australian writer Robyn Davidson; recently we have Reese Witherspoon’s Wild (2014) adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s memoir. In 2015, we’ll see A Walk In The Woods put on screen. Author Bill Bryson’s popular memoir is about his taking the 2,200-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail with an old school friend, both unprepared and clueless about the outdoors, wilderness survival, equipments, or personal fitness. So we should expect an amusing and visually appealing cinematic offering. Robert Redford plays Bryson, cast includes Nick Offerman and Emma Thompson. The film will premiere at The Sundance Film Festival in Utah this month.

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Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places is Flynn’s second novel (2009). Unlike her wildly popular Gone Girl (2012), which Flynn adapted to screen herself, the screenplay for Dark Places is written by another writer, Gilles Paquet-Brenner, who had earlier turned the novel Sarah’s Key into film. It will be interesting to note any differences here–should the author adapt her own work or leave it in others’ hands? An attractive cast includes Chloë Grace Moretz, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and the promising young star Tye Sheridan from The Tree of Life. Again, from the feedbacks I’ve gathered regarding Gone Girl, the crime thriller is not a genre for everyone, either book or movie. But for fans, here’s another Flynn book into film to read and watch.

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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This gem of a book by Saint-Exupéry has been adapted before (1974) and its dialogues, songs and memorable scenes have remained in my heart all these years. Now forty years later, computer technology offers us a stop-motion animation plus other effects, which I anticipate with an open mind. After all, The Little Prince is a fantasy with a soul that is worthy of all kinds of creative adaptations. The team of voice actors will definitely make it worth our time: Jeff Bridges, James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Mackenzie Foy, Paul Giamatti, Ricky Gervais are a few of them. Directed by Mark Osborne, who brought us Kung Fu Panda and SpongeBob SquarePants. Uh… yes, I do too, let’s hope he adheres to the spirit and depth of wisdom found in Saint-Exupéry’s book.

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Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Time to dust off that old copy from the shelf and reread. The Bard could never have imagined that his play could ever have more than two hundred movie adaptations including full features, shorts, and TV series. “What is a movie?” he might have asked. This newest offering has a notable cast, with two screen talents scheming together, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Looking back at his Oscar nominated role as the ruthless Edwin Epps in 12 Years A Slave (2013), I don’t doubt Fassbender can make an apt Macbeth, but will Cotillard pull it off? The Oscar winner who charmed us with her mesmerizing voice as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose now turns into the murderous Lady Macbeth. No matter, these are two top-notch actors that I trust can deliver. Look for the new title: Enemy of Man. Uh… yes, I see a slight raise of the eyebrow on The Bard.

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Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg

Here is a quote from The Guardian: “If F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe were the greatest novelists of their time, then Max Perkins – editorial director at Scribner, friend, personal banker and more to all three – was surely the greatest editor.” Berg’s biography of Max Perkins, editor and publisher of these three icons, won The National Book Award and was hailed as an outstanding chronicle of literary history. Who plays the Genius on screen? None other than Colin Firth. The literary men are Dominic West as Hemingway, Jude Law as Thomas Wolf, and Guy Pearce as Fitzgerald. Isn’t it interesting that all these actors are not American, further, the film is shot in England. No matter, I believe in movie magic, especially with such a cast. Nicole Kidman and Laura Linney also star.

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Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

Irène Némirovsky was a Jewish novelist living in France during the Nazi occupation. She had intended to write a series of five novels but was sent to Auschwitz where she later died, having completed only two. Her works were later compiled into one volume, Suite Française, published in 2004. Long awaited and finally coming out in 2015, the movie adaptation of Némirovsky’s poignant story of a French girl Lucile Angellier falling in love with a German soldier will feature Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts. Kristin Scott Thomas plays Madame Angellier. The Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson also stars.

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The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

An impressive debut novel that has picked up three Australian Book Industry Awards in 2013: Best Newcomer, Best Literary Novel of the Year and Overall Book of the Year. A lighthouse keeper and his wife in the years following WWI pulled in a boat with a dead man and a lively baby off the coast of Western Australia. Thus the story begins. DreamWorks snatched up the film rights, shot the production in Tasmania and New Zealand, and cast an attractive ensemble including the ubiquitous Michael Fassbender, with Rachel Weisz and Alicia Vikander. Now watch for this name, Vikander is in another notable book to film coming up in 2015, and that’s…

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Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

Alicia Vikander is Vera Brittain in the movie adaptation of her autobiography Testament of Youth, a poignant memoir chronicling the personal experience of a young Oxford student during WWI. Embarking on an academic pursuit and a life of hopes and dreams, Brittain soon saw her brother and boyfriend depart to the war zone. Later abandoning her studies, she joined in the war effort by becoming a nurse, bearing witness to a generation of sacrifice and loss. Ever since the debut of the Downton Abbey series, these past few years have seen a revival of WWI and II subjects in both books and films. Here’s another one to watch.

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Another list of Upcoming Books Into Films can be found on the blog of Diana Cheng’s alter ego, Arti of  Ripple Effects.