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Top 10 Movies Based on Books / 2017 #book2movies

In order of appearance, not preference ... here’s the top 10 books I’m excited about seeing on screen in 2017. Putting this together I realized why I don’t do a lot of lists. I don’t have a clue how to narrow down all the intriguing projects coming our way into a nice manageable number. 

What’s not on the list 

I’d love to include The Secret Scripture starring Rooney Mara, Aidan Turner, Theo James, Vanessa Redgrave, Eric Bana and Jack Reynor but it doesn’t seem to have distribution yet. 

If  Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go Bernadette starring Cate Blanchett was ready, it would be on on the list. As would Scorsese’s The Devil in the White City starring Leo. While both projects are in the pipeline, neither have started shooting as far as I can tell. 

And while Silence, Scorsese’s adaptation of Shûsaku Endô’s novel is due out in January and boasts a solid cast—Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver—I’m sort of meh on the subject matter. So it didn’t make my cut but it may very well make yours.  

Beauty & the Beast should be on the list because I’m not embarrassed to admit I’m a sucker for a musical but having watched the trailer and seen Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts the teapot in the trailer, I’m not so sure! What I am sure about is that I’ve forgotten movies that will come to me as soon as I hit the publish button. I’ll smack my forehead and call myself an idiot. Or feel free to do the name calling for me. Seriously, let me know what you think.

That being said ...

Here for now, my top ten list of movies based on books:

January 13: Live by Night
It's Ben Affleck's fourth time in the director's chair, this time he also cowrites & stars as Joe Coughlin, the son of a policeman who succeeds in a life of organized crime. Set in the 1920’s era of prohibition, the film was shot by renowned Robert Richardson, with music by Harry Gregson Williams (The Martian). Affleck's has solid cast includes Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper & Brendan Gleeson. Watch the Live By Night trailer.

February 24:  Tulip Fever (moved from 2016)
Set in 17th Holland, an artist falls for a young married woman he’s hired to paint. Stars Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell and Cara Delivigne. Directed by Justin Chadwick from a script by the acclaimed Tom Stoppard. Here’s my take on the book, Tulip Fever, by Deborah Moggach. Spoiler Alert: I didn't much care for the book but the movie looks great. Watch the Tulip Fever trailer.

March 31:The Zookeepers Wife
Set in 1939 war-torn Poland, Jessica Chastain stars as Antonina Żabiński, who helped her husband Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh) run the Warswaw Zoo. As the country is invaded by Nazis & Jews are ripped from their homes, Antonina convinces her husband to use the zoo to hide escaped Jews. Their mission becomes more dangerous under the suspicious eye of the Reich’s  chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl). Watch the trailer.

 April 21; The Lost City of Z 
The Lost City of Z stars Charlie Hunnam as British explorer Percy Fawcett who set off into the Amazon jungle searching for the Lost City & never returned. Based on the book by David Grann, the cast includes Robert Pattinson as Fawcett’s fellow explorer Henry Costin with Sienna Miller as his wife Nina. Tom Holland, getting lots of attention as the new Spiderman, plays his brother Jack with the adorable young Daniel Huttlestone as his son. Watch The Lost City of Z trailer.

April 28: The Circle 
Tom Hanks stars in the Dave Eggers adaptation, directed by James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now). Emma Watson replaced Alicia Vikander in the role of the woman who lands a job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, where she becomes involved with a mysterious man. The film al8so stars John Boyega (Star Wars) Bill Paxton and Patton Oswalt. Loved the book. Here's my take on Dave Egger's The Circle. Watch the trailer for The Circle.

October 6: Blade Runner 2
The main reason this made my list is my fanship for Ryan Gosling who takes the lead in this sequel to the first Blade Runner film based on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  The second reason is my respect for the director Denis Villeneuve who gave us the luminous Arrival. You've probably heard that Harrison Ford is back as Rick Deckard. No one knows much beyond that as the film is based on an original idea by Hampton Fancher who cowrote the first screen adaptation.

October 20: The Mountain Between Us
Anyone want to see a romantic drama teaming Kate Winslet with Idris Elba. Besides me-me-me?! The Mountain Between Us based on the book by Charles Martin about a pair who survive a plane crash in the mountains where they are forced to trust each other and find safety while badly injured. It sounds a little Nicolas Sparksy to me but knowing both actors I have complete confidence it will be deeply moving not sickly sweet.

TBD: Rebel in the Rye
The story of J.D. Salinger just as he was on the verge of writing the classic Catcher in the Rye. Nicholas Hoult is starring as Salinger with Zooey Deutch as Eugene O'Neill's daughter Oona who had a scandalous relationship with the author. More scandalous still she went on to marry Charlie Chaplin when he was 36 years her senior. Maybe we should be writing books and making movies about her too? The movie, based on J. D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski, also stars Kevin Spacey and Sarah Paulson, check the Rebel in the Rye post post for more details.

TBD: On Chesil Beach
One of my favorite books by Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach tore me up.Starring Saoirse Ronan as the virginal violinist Florence and newcomer Billy Howe as her bridegroom Edward this won't be an easy one to bring to the screen. It’s directed by Dominic Cooke, an acclaimed theater director with next to nothing in terms of tv & film credits. The credit he does have (The Hollow Crown) was received really well. Check out this On Chesil Beach post for more info.


TBD: Untitled A.A. Milne project
This is one of those semi-cheat inclusions. Not exactly based on any one book, it is about such an iconic figure in the literary world I can’t resist including. Sometimes referred to as Goodbye Christopher Robin, the film is inspired by the relationship between Milne and his young son, Christopher, the little boy made famous in the Winnie the Pooh stories. Domhnall Gleeson stars as Milne with Margot Robbie as his wife. The real Christopher Robin felt his childhood was robbed by his father's work while for his part A.A. Milne felt the rest of his own work was completely overshadowed by Winnie the Pooh’s success. What is a beloved part of most of our childhood is seen from a very different perspective.

And a bonus: A television series, so technically NOT a movie based on a book...

February: Big Little Lies
Things take a dark turn for a group of moms whose perfect lives begin to unravel. Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman produce and also star along with Shailene Woodley in this black comedy originally set in Australia. Headed to HBOas a series. Jean Marc-Vallee who directed Witherspoon in Wild, directs with writing credit for the adaptation based on Liane Moriarty’s book going to David E. Kelly. I absolutely loved this book; it got me started on a Liane Moriarty jag, followed by a contemporary Australian writers jag. So excited for this series which also stars Alexander Skarsgaard, Adam Scott and Laura Dern. Here's the Big Little Lies trailer.