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You Oughta Be in Pictures
Like most readers, I imagine, I await each new book-to-screen adaptation with a mix of trepidation and excitement. Will they get it right? Will it be a beautiful manifestation of what I visualized as I was reading? Or will it be a terrible disappointment? (I’m looking at you, Eragon. How did they even convince Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich to be in such a travesty?)
Some of my favorite books are being made into movies and TV shows this year, so I’m feeling that ambivalent anticipation extra intensely. A recent favorite which I’ve plugged before, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, is getting the HBO treatment and stars Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. Another one of my all-time favorite books, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which fellow blogger Tracy wrote about this month, will soon stream on Hulu as a six-part series. Both air in April.
Here are some more highly anticipated book adaptations coming to a screen near you in 2017:
The Circle by Dave Eggers
When Mae gets a job at the Circle, the world’s largest internet company, it seems like a dream come true. The campus is gorgeous, providing for her every need, and soon, the outside world begins to fade away. The Circle is using technology to chase a utopian dream of a society with less crime and corruption. But at what cost? This social satire raises serious questions about privacy in the digital age. Eggers’ book is a bit of a slow burn, but the movie, to be released on April 28, looks like more of a thriller. The trailer won me over with stars Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), not to mention Tom Hanks. Who doesn’t love Tom Hanks?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
America is a great melting pot of cultures, each boatload of immigrants bringing with them legends—and even gods—from the old country. But fewer and fewer people believe in the old gods these days. Now people worship gods like Media and Technology. The old gods aren’t going down without a fight, though, and that’s when ex-con Shadow Moon gets dragged into it. Shadow finds himself working for the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, and he’s got a dead wife that just won’t stay dead. To say that shenanigans ensue is really selling this book short, and the series looks like it’s going to be EPIC. Hunky Ricky Whittle stars as Shadow, and the rest of the cast includes Ian McShane (Deadwood), Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black), Crispin Glover (Back to the Future), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), Cloris Leachman (Young Frankenstein), Kristin Chenoweth (Glee), and Orlando Jones (MADtv), among others. It airs on Starz beginning April 30.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
For over a hundred years, little girls have identified with plucky, red-headed orphan Anne Shirley and her coming-of-age tale set in picturesque Prince Edward Island, Canada. Those of us who grew up in the 1980s fell in love with Megan Follows as Anne (not to mention Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe!) in the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s miniseries adaptation of Montgomery’s book series. Now CBC is bringing this beloved tale to a new generation with the eight-part series, Anne, airing now in Canada and set to drop on Netflix in May for the rest of us.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Teenage Maddie has never been outside of her hermetically sealed house; she is allergic to the world, and going outside could kill her. But she’s got a devoted mother, a nurse who’s also a friend, and tons of books, so she’s pretty happy. That is, until a boy her age moves into the house next door, and Maddie begins to question her sterile world. Yoon’s romances are sweet and quirky, and her characters are very diverse. The movie, which stars Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games), gets its theatrical release May 19.
A Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost
Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat. Twin Peaks was a TV series first, then a book, and now the series is coming back to television on Showtime. The original Twin Peaks was ostensibly a murder mystery. Square-jawed, coffee-loving FBI agent Dale Cooper shows up in the small Washington town to investigate the death of homecoming queen Laura Palmer. But things are not as they seem in Twin Peaks (especially the owls), and things get weird. Really weird. The book, written by series co-creator Mark Frost, answers some of the questions left hanging by the series finale and prepares fans for the reboot, which premieres in May.
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King
How do I even begin to describe the Dark Tower series? Our fabulous database for readers, Novelist, describes the series thusly, “Gunslinger Roland Deschain fights otherworldly forces on his quest across a bleak and frightening landscape to find the Dark Tower, a legendary building fabled to be the nexus of all universes,” and categorizes it as “fantasy fiction,” “metafiction,” and “weird westerns.” The tone is “atmospheric, bleak, menacing, moody, and violent,” and the writing style is “descriptive and gritty.” Intrigued yet? Well, how about this: Idris Elba plays Roland in the movie, set to be released this summer. I’m not at all sure how they’re squeezing seven books into one movie, but I’ve heard that this is a non-traditional adaptation, possibly a sequel to the book series, and that there may be a follow-up TV series prequel (if that’s even a thing) based on the fourth book in the series, Wizard and Glass. If you just can’t wait until summer for some Stephen King adaptation goodness, check out 11/22/63, the Hulu mini-series based on King’s novel of the same name, which was recently added to the library’s DVD collection.