Seeing favorite characters from literature on the big screen never gets old.
Every year a flurry of novels and books make their way to the big screen. While there’s always a degree of trepidation at the thought of a favorite story making the transition to Hollywood, we can’t deny that spark of excitement at the thought of seeing beloved characters come to life on the silver screen. So far, 2019 is shaping up to be brilliant year for adaptations with classic thrillers, quirky romances, and beloved coming-of-age tales making their way to the cinema. Here are several adaptations we’re looking forward to.
The Good Shepherd
C. S. Forester
With a big screen adaptation titled Greyhound from writer and star Tom Hanks due to hit theaters May 8th, this is the perfect time to dive into C.S. Forester’s WWII-era naval thriller. Centering around a U.S. Naval commander’s desperate attempts to escort a convoy of supply ships through German submarine territory, The Good Shepherd is a classic naval warfare novel. And if you want an early peek at Tom Hanks’ writing chops, check out his stellar short story collection, Uncommon Type.
Sweetness in the Belly
Raised in Morocco after the murder of her parents, Lilly begins teaching the Qur’an to children while on a pilgrimage in Ethiopia. Forced to flee the violence of the Ethiopian Civil War, Lilly enters England as a refugee and begins working to aid fellow immigrants and refugees in finding their families. However, a passionate affair with a young doctor in Ethiopia continues to haunt her. Look for a big screen adaptation of this masterpiece starring Dakota Fanning later this year.
Louisa May Alcott
The latest star-studded adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic will arrive later this year. With Greta Gerwig at the helm and the likes of Meryl Streep, Saorise Ronan, and Emma Watson filling out the cast, it’s already generating plenty of buzz. If you’ve never read the beloved coming-of-age tale of four sisters set against the backdrop of nineteenth century New England–or simply need a refresher–there’s no better time than the present to make your way through it.
The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first volume in Patrick Ness’s groundbreaking Chaos Walking series. Set in a dystopian future, the series follows a boy named Todd in world where a mysterious illness killed off all women, leaving only men behind. On the cusp of adulthood, Todd discovers a horrifying secret and is forced to flee only to discover a completely unexpected creature: a girl. How did she survive and what does the mean for the world Todd knows? Look for this feature length adaptation later this year.
All the Bright Places
This New York Times bestseller is a perfect read for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. The story centers around Theodore Finch, a death-obsessed teen, and Violet Markey, a grieving young woman who can’t escape her hometown fast enough. It’s an endearing love story of two broken teenagers finding hope and love while they also find themselves.
Set against the turmoil of post-War Germany, The Aftermath is a tense and emotional historical thriller. Rachael Morgan has plans to join her husband Lewis, a British colonel tasked with leading the rebuilding efforts in Hamburg. She is shocked to discover that they will be sharing a stately manor house with its former owners–an enigmatic German widower and his daughter. What follows is a complex tale of passion, betrayal, and grief. The adaptation starring Kiera Knightly, Jason Clarke, and Alexander Skarsgard will be coming on March 15th.
Originally published as I Heard You Paint Houses, this true crime classic has been a long-time passion project for Martin Scorsese. With a cast that includes Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, odds are it’ll be worth the wait. The Irishman is the story of infamous hitman Frank Sheeran, an enforcer for crime boss Russell Bufalino. With ties to the Mafias, the Teamsters, Jimmy Hoffa, and even the Nixon Adminstration, The Irishman is a must read for true crime fans.
The Sun Is Also a Star
Given the success of Everything, Everything, it was only a matter of time before Nicola Yoon’s follow-up bestseller made its way to the big screen. This complex tale of first love follows Natasha and Daniel, two teens struggling under vastly different family pressures with no time for dreams, fate, or love. But when they stumble across each other on a crowded city street, everything changes. Look for The Sun is Also a Star in theaters on May 17th.
The Last Thing He Wanted
The Last Thing He Wanted is just another example of the brilliance of Joan Didion. This page-turning literary thriller follows Elena McMahon, a Washington Post reporter who walks off her assignment to cover the 1984 Presidential Campaign to care for her father. However, when she unexpectedly inherits her father’s role as a covert arms dealer for the U.S. government, she’s quickly swept up in a world of spies and ever-present danger. An adaptation starring Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck is on the way later this year.
Stargirl was an instant classic and an immediate bestseller when it arrived in 2000. The novel tells the story of ‘Stargirl’ Caraway, who arrives at Mica High School after years of homeschooling. While at first her quirks endear her to the student body, they quickly turn on her leaving her shunned and at a cross-roads–does she stay true to herself and conform to the society she’s found herself thrust into? This big screen adaptation will be premiering later this year.