Hollywood loves to give audiences movies and television shows based on books, but if you're like me, you want to read those books first. Please understand--I don't do this for brownie-points or bragging rights. I do it because I want to get to know the characters and the story in my own imagination first, before the movie's imagery can influence me. There's always a scene or a character in a movie that sticks with you long after you're done watching, and I like the enjoyment of letting my brain do that first. In any case, whatever your reason, if you'd like a headstart on this year's book-to-screen titles, here are some coming soon to a theater near you.
Live by Night, by Dennis Lehane. Lehane's books make for some great movies, like Mystic River and Shutter Island. So this new film, set for release this month and starring Ben Affleck, is likely to be a must-see. If you're up for a story about organized crime during the Prohibition Era, I'd suggest reading the novel first.
The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman. Following the story of the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo during the Nazi invasion and their efforts to save hundreds of animals and people, both the novel and film are guaranteed to tug on your emotions. The film adaptation, due out in theaters this spring, stars Jessica Chastain.
Also due out this spring is the adaptation of bestselling YA novel Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. A young boy with an extreme facial deformity struggles to adapt to being a private-school fifth-grader after years of being home-schooled. Starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.
If you're a non-fiction reader, don't worry, I haven't forgotten you and neither has Hollywood. The Lost City of Z, by David Grann, tells the tale of how British explorer Percy Fawcett got lost while searching for an ancient fabled city in the Amazon in 1925. Fans of Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson will definitely want to see the movie this spring, too.
Dave Eggers is a particular staff favorite around here, so here at the library we're very excited to see a star-studded cast for the adaptation of The Circle. A young woman lands a job at a powerful Google-like tech company and soon becomes involved with a mysterious man. Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Karen Gillan and John Boyega are just a few of the big names attached.
If you prefer classics, Daphne Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel is coming to screens this summer featuring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin. This story of Philip and his mysterious cousin Rachel, who may or may not be guilty of murdering another family member.
If you're looking for something dark and fantastic, you'll need look no further than the adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, featuring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in some very unexpected roles. King's opus series begins with The Gunslinger, so you might want to start now.
Finally, another classic with a crazy all-star cast will be this coming autumn's adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Think I'm kidding about the cast of this classic murder mystery? Johnny Depp, Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer AND Dame Judi Dench are all attached to the project, just to name a few. It should be ridiculously amazing. *fingers crossed*
PS: If you're interested, Neil Gaiman's American Gods is being turned into a series by Starz, and the casting looks amazing. It's a particular favorite title of mine, so I highly recommend you read it if you have any interest in the show coming out later this year.