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Movies Based on Books 2017

Coming to the screen in 2017!  

Updated: June 7, 2017 
I've moved My Cousin Rachel up to June 9th.

Over 30 (and counting!) movies based on books.
We’ve got big splashy Hollywood adaptations of classics like Beauty & the Beast and television series based on beloved characters like Anne of Green Gables. We’ve got sexy black comedies like Big Little Lies and dark psychological dramas like the adaptation Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace. And I’m 100% sure there’s more to come. I’ve listed the adaptations below roughly in order of appearance. 
What are you most looking forward to seeing? 
What’d I miss?

FILMS with an * following the title are directed by a woman like the can't wait iteration of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaids Tale directed by Reed Morano.

January 6 : A Monster Calls
Based on the book by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls is about boy (Lewis MacDougall) who seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom's terminal illness. Rogue One's Felicity Jones plays his mum, with Sigourney Weaver as his grandmother. Liam Neeson is not in the movie except as the voice of the tree. Listen to Neeson read the opening chapter of Ness' book. Ness also wrote the screenplay.

January 19-29 : Rebel in the Rye
Premiering at Sundance. The story of J.D. Salinger just as he was on the verge of writing the classic Catcher in the Rye. Nicholas Hoult plays 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 & making movies about her too? The movie, based on J. D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski, also stars Kevin Spacey & Sarah Paulson, check the Rebel in the Rye post post for more details.

January 19-29: The Yellow Birds
Also premiering at Sundance. An anti-war movie based on the eponymous book by Kevin Powers , The Yellow Birds stars Alden Ehrenreich, Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Jennifer Aniston & Toni Collette. Two young soldiers, Bartle (21) and Murph (18) navigate the terrors of the Iraq war under the command of the older, troubled Sergeant Sterling. All the while, Bartle is tortured by a promise he made to Murph's mother before their deployment

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 10: A United Kingdom *
The story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana who marries a white clerical worker from London in the late 1940s. Let's just say it wasn't cheered by all as a match made in heaven but the African king perservered. The film stars Rosamund Pike as Ruth Williams, David Oyelowo plays the king. Happily the film is directed by a woman; Amma Asante. I'm going to let the trailer for A United Kingdom speak for itself. It's that powerful. A United Kingdom was released in the United Kingdom last year, we are just seeing it now.

Feb19: 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.

February 24:  Tulip Fever
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 3: Before I Fall *
Based on the YA book by Lauren Oliver, the movie stars Zoey Deutch and Jennifer Beals. Directed by Ry Russo-Young *
“February 12 is just another day in Sam's charmed life until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she's in danger of losing.’’

March 10: Trainspotting 2
The boys are back in town! Ewan McGregor and all the original actors from Trainspotting along with director Danny Boyle are reuniting for the sequel looseley based on John Hodges novel Porno, which has the guys meet up again 20 years later. From the looks of things, life isn't all that much better.  Watch the Trainspotting 2 trailer.


March 10: The Sense of an Ending
The story of a man coming to terms with the past. Jim Broadbent stars as Tony Webster suddenly confronted with truths from his past he's long forgotten.The always excellent Charlotte Rampling is Webster's wife. Based on the 201 book by Julian Barnes, the novel is said to be "laced with his trademark precision, dexterity and insight." The cast includes Michelle Dockery as Websters daughter, Joe Alwyn as Webster's younger self and Emily Mortimer as his young love who betrayed him with his best friend. Watch The Sense of an Ending trailer.


March17 : Beauty and the Beast
The classic tale of Belle and the monster she falls in love with. The adaptation of the French fairy tale set to music ala the Broadway production with Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Ewan McGregor as  Lumiere, Ian McKelland as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts. 


March 24: Their Finest  *
Based on Lissa Evans WWII period novel about a British copy writer drafted into the Ministry of Information to help write women into propaganda films for the war. Something that apparently men are not very good at. The point is to convince American women to enthusiastically support England's war effort. The movie stars Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin thrown together to work on a film about Dunkirk with Bill Nighy starring in it. Watch the trailer for Their Finest. Directed by Lone Scherfig *

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. Directed by Niki Caro. *


April 14; 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. Tom Holland, getting lots of attention as the new Spiderman, plays his brother Jack with the adorable 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.

April 26: The Handmaid's Tale  *
Set in a dystopian future a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. A TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel that feels a little too relevant today. Elizabeth Moss stars as Offred.  Watch the trailer for The Handmaid's Tale. 3 episodes directed by Reed Morano *


May 5: The Dinner
The Wall Street Journal called The Dinner by Herman Koch "a European Gone Girl". Two couples meet over dinner, behind the polite surface chatter is the fact that the couples both have 15 year old sons who have committed a horrendous crime. Over the course of the evening the dinner devolves illuminating just how far parents will go to protect their own children. The film stars Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, Rebecca Hall, Chloë Sevigny, and Charlie Plummer. No poster yet so I’m sharing this shot of Richard Gere. You’re welcome!

May 12: Arthur: The Legend of the Sword
The Sword in the Stone, retold, again. We love Arthur and Merlin and all that magic, don't we? Guy Ritchie is behind this iteration of the legendary tale Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. Charlie Hunnam stars as Arthur, the cast includes Jude Law, Eric Bana and Annabelle Wallis.

May 19: Everything, Everything  *
Based on Nicola Yoon's book about a young girl allergic to ... yep ... everything, everything, the movie stars Amandla Stenberg who you may remember as Rue from The Hunger Games. While Maddy has lived a sheltered life, confined to her home, her world changes when a cute boy moves in next door. Awwww. Nick Robinson plays cute boy Olly Bright, the boy next door. Here they are in a shot the author shared from the movie. Directed by Stella Meghie. *

June 9: My Cousin Rachel

Richard Burton won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer when this film based on the novel by Daphne DuMaurier made its debut in 1952. Time for a remake? I'd say. Especially when Burton's part is being taken by Sam Claflin as Philip, for me the very best part about the film Me Before You. Rachel Weisz tackles the Olivia deHavilland role of Rachel Ashley, the widow that Philip can't resist but suspects of murder. Holiday Grainger also stars in the film directed by the man who gave us Notting Hill.

June 23: The Beguiled  *
Some of us ‘girls’ remember the first time around for the Southern gothic story of an injured Union soldier imprisoned in a Confederate girls’ boarding school. As he worms his way into each of the women’s hearts, they begin to turn on each other and eventually on him. In that iteration a sexy 41 year old Clint Eastwood starred as John McBurney with Geraldine Page as the house mother and a bevy of young and beautiful actresses all swoony over the wounded soldier. Directed by Sophia Coppola.*

July 28: The Dark Tower
Based on the Stephen King novel, the first in his The Dark Tower series, gunslinger Roland Deschain roams an Old West-like landscape in search of the dark tower, in the hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world. Deschain is played by I124dris Elba with Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black. I adored Idris Elba in Luther, and McConaughey is alright, alright, alright so I'll give this one a gander. Sequels anyone?

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 13: The Snowman
The Snowman, based on Jo Nesbo’s book, comes via that flurry of interest in Nordic crime lit we had a few years back. The film stars Michael Fassbender as Harry Hole, the Norwegian detective who investigates the disappearance of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman. Rebecca Ferguson costars along with an impressive cast that includes Toby Jones, J.K. Simmons, Chloe Sevigny, Val Kilmer, James Darcy and Charlotte Gainsborough.

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.

April 4: Wonder

The story about a ten year old boy with a facial deformity entering school for the first time in middle school. All he wants is to be the ordinary boy he feels on the inside, on the outside. It's not easy, as the promo says, to blend in when you’re born to stand out. Based on the book by R.J. Palacio, Wonder stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. Watch the book trailer on the Wonder post.

November 22: Murder on the Orient Express
I'm pretty excited about this remake of the Agatha Christie classic. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as Hercule Poirot with a strong cast that includes Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer,  Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Michael Pena, Lucy Boynton, Penelope Cruz, Tom Bateman and Leslie Odom Jr. The 1974 film version earned Albert Finney an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the famed detective, wonder how Branagh will fare?

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.

TBD: Our Souls at Night
Robert Redford and Jane Fonda reunite in this story about a couple of aging people in small town Colorado. Based on Kent Haruf's novel, the lonely widower & widow come together in a story of second chances at love. 

TBD: Crooked House
A wealthy Greek businessman is found dead at his London home… The Leonides were one big happy family living in a sprawling, ramshackle mansion. That was until the head of the household, Aristide, was murdered with a fatal barbiturate injection. Suspicion naturally falls on the old man’s young widow, fifty years his junior. But the murderer has reckoned without the tenacity of Charles Hayward, fiance of the late millionaire’s granddaughter… Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner from a screenplay by Julian Fellowes, Crooked House stars Christina Hendricks, Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close, Terence Stamp and Julian Sands.

Spring: Anne (of Green Gables)
But they're just calling it Anne. The eight-episode drama series is a coming-of-age story about Anne, an orphan and an outsider who fights for her place in the world. Accidentally sent to live with an aging sister and brother, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, the 13-year-old Anne will changes their lives, the lives of the entire town and her own by sheer force of will, pluck and imagination. Amybeth McNulty, cast after a search of thousands of girls is Anne in the Netflix adaptation, said to be a grittier, more real world adaptation of Lucy Maude Montgomery's classic book.

TBD: The Aftermath
Set in postwar Germany in 1946, Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter to be reunited with her husband Lewis, (Jason Clarke) a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an extraordinary decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgaard) and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

TBD: Alias Grace  *
This ought to be good. The adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel will air on CBC in Canada and on Netflix for the rest of us. Sarah Polley  wrote the script and Sarah Gadon stars as Grace Marks, the convicted murderer of her employer and his mistress. Also onboard David Cronenberg possibly as Grace's murdered employer and Anna Paquin as employer’s mistress, Nancy Montgomery.  Directed by Mary Haddon *

TBD: The Mercy
As a big Colin Firth fan, I'm really excited to see The Mercy, based on the nonfiction account, The Last Strange Voyage of Donald Crowhurst. Here's the logline—Yachtsman Donald Crowhurst’s disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race ends up with him creating an outrageous account of traveling the world alone by sea. Rachel Weisz stars as Crowhurst's wife. No trailer or release date yet. Trust me; I'll let you know.