If Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
can be made into a movie, it seems like just about anything is fair game. As readers, our imaginations are always working on overdrive. It is part of the adventure of reading a book to visualize the characters and the setting, but many of us go so much farther than that. We imagine who'd play each character in a movie version of the book, what the scenes would feel like, how the dialogue would sound, and even things like what songs would be perfect background music to a scene in that hypothetical movie. Today, Catie and I (Flannery) are going to discuss a few of the titles we've read that we would love to see adapted for the big screen or as television series.
So I made a list of books I'd love to see made into movies or television shows...and it was unwieldy. For that reason, I've decided to only include a few books that I believe could actually
be made into successful movies/shows and not just the ones I'd like to see myself. If box office success or steady ratings/audience numbers were not in consideration, I could dream all day long. Don't worry, I'll include the remainder of my list at the bottom of my section so we can discuss. Here goes nothing.
One of my favorite books of the last year or so is Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls
, a somber middle grade book about a boy whose mother fights a losing battle with cancer and that features the seriously amazing artwork of Jim Kay. (check out Jo's interview with Jim Kay
over at Wear the Old Coat) The black, white, and gray of the illustrations completely captures the dark emotional tones of the book. I'd love to see this book made into a movie, and the perfect people to do it are...
Jim Kay's artwork from A Monster Calls
The Monster from Patrick Ness's A Monster Calls, as envisioned by Jim Kay.
Limbo screenshot 1.
Limbo screenshot 2.
Limbo screenshot 3.
The creators of the Limbo
video game . The game has a very similar color scheme and darkness to it and I'd love to see a grayscale cartoon version of the book. Of course, if they could integrate Kay's sketches into the backgrounds and use his overall style, all the better. I think I'd like to hear Neil Gaiman narrate this movie, as I love his voice, but I haven't heard Ness speak so perhaps he'd be better suited to it. Either way, it should be a male British narrator.
. Game, set, match. It hasn't been done and it needs to be done. I am obsessed with "young adult books in space" but I'm on special lookout for a school in space. This television series could be perfect for me. Just think of it--training missions, competitions, romance, aliens, the future. This one has me high on potential, but I don't want it to cross over into the purely camp-zone. If the production level was high enough, this could last for an epic number of seasons. Sort of like Skins
, with cadets graduating and new classes coming in. Plus, I can pretty much guarantee that there are hundreds of storylines/writers out there in fanficdom.
Remember how awesome Groundhog Day
is? Well I definitely do, seeing as I know every word to it. ("Too early for flapjacks?") A book with a similar premise is Replay
by Ken Grimwood, which was actually written prior to GH, in the 1980s. Repla
y finds the protagonist dead in his forties. He keeps replaying a large portion of his life, a tiny bit shorter each time. This would make a perfect television show--sort of a mixture of The Pretender
and Being Erica
. The replayer can basically make new decisions and experience a different life every time. I'm still up in the air about whether I'd want each episode to be a replay or each season. Or it could all just be wrapped up into one kickass movie. Gary Ross can direct it.
Try to even tell me that Jon Hamm doesn't already look the part to play Henry House in the movie. You can try, but you'd be dead wrong. Though I wasn't a huge fan of the book--it was just a three-star read--I think it could be very fun film. The Irresistible Henry House
is about a young charming boy who is raised as a "house baby" at a university for women in home economics classes. The book follows him into adulthood and far from his childhood "home" to visit and/or work in several other cities. I think the movie would have the feel of Mad Men
and portions of Catch Me If You Can
FREEEEEDOOOOOOM! What? Oh, sorry, I was just channeling William Wallace. I might just be being selfish right now, but I truly think that Trinity
as a movie could do for Ireland what Braveheart
did for Scotland. Badass hero? Check. Patriotism? Check. Romance battled with the cause? Check. THOSE ENGLISH BASTARDS? Check. (Note: I am not making light of Northern Ireland's troubles. That's not funny.) But really, Irish guys are hot and the country deserves an epic movie to make everyone remember how amazing their country is. Plus, there are heaps of Irish musicians who can play sad, sad music to make people weep their eyes out while they're watching. Or fill their hearts with utter joy. Thanks, Ireland!
To completely switch gears, I present my next case: Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline. This movie would be like the baby of Tron
, The Wizard
, and Gamer
. However, the amount of name-dropping and proprietary software and copyrighted material (songs and such) that is in this book is staggering. So what I'm saying here is if you're a bigshot movie producer and you're looking for someone to work on attaining rights for all of these things so this movie can reach its kickass potential, you know how to reach me. I'd like to use my powers for as much evil as possible. I'd love to see movie characters transporting to lots of gaming worlds, having virtual parties, and atmosphere of the stacks that human beings are forced to live in in Cline's overcrowded and poor futuristic society. (check out this cool envisioning of the stacks here
) Good news on this front as Warner Bros. bought the rights and Cline was hired to write the first few drafts
of a script. However, I wasn't a fan of Fanboys
, a movie he was involved with, so I hope my hopes aren't slashed this time.
Since I am constantly mourning with my fellow Browncoats about the end of Firefly
, I think a lot of those people would love a television series of either the Veneficas Americana
series by M.K. Hobson or Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax
series. The former is not set in space but it has a similar genre mashup that Firefly
fans would love and that rogue rebellious feeling. Grimspace
is more similar to Firefly
in terms of a ragtag crew, a transport ship, being set in futuristic space, and awkward sexual tension. There's more technology in Grimspace
, though. In my dreams, the entire Firefly
production team would band back together and adapt these series to weekly television shows.
As you can see from the remainders of my lists, I'd love a contemporary YA show set in Australia, a post apoc teen show, a series of Lifetime movies about Susan Elizabeth Phillips books, and a few heartfelt adult movies, among other things.
Movie: The Fault in Our Stars (or any John Green), Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Raw Blue, The Piper's Son, Elantris, Ender's Game, Cinder, Angelfall, Hold Me Closer Necromancer, SEP (Lifetime), Blood Red Road, Stolen, The Long Walk, Little Bee, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, The Maze Runner, Heartsick, In The Woods, Outlander, The Marbury Lens, The Game.
Television Series: Taming the Forest King, Graffiti Moon, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Thursday Next, In Death, I Hunt Killers, Curse Workers, Stray, Galahad, Grant County, Chicagoland, Fever, Immortals, Dairy Queen, Finnikin, Dark Life, Life As We Knew It, Gone series, Vampire Academy, Poison Study, Graceling, Jessica Darling, Ruby Oliver, Stork, Eon, Queen's Thief, Circle of Magic, Uglies series
Thinking about this post today has made me realize that I am an extremely visual person. Almost all of the books that immediately came to mind today are epic in their visual scope - which I love as a reader but which, as a movie-goer, I know can go horribly horribly wrong.
I mean... Cleopatra? Battlefield Earth? Waterworld, FFS? I don't think I need to remind you guys of how horrifically the movie industry is capable of destroying everything we hold dear as readers. Which is why I am only willing for certain people to adapt the books I'm about to suggest.
Suggestion #1: Studio Ghibli, I would like you to meet Plain Kate by Erin Bow.
I think I would spontaneously combust if these two ever really got together. I am a huge Studio Ghibli fangirl and I have worked tirelessly through these past six and a half years to ensure that my girls inherit my obsession. All three of us were psyched when The Secret World of Arrietty came out, and we went to see it on opening weekend here. As the credits opened and the Studio Ghibli logo came up, my then three year old called out, "Mommy!! It's TOTORO!!!" In a world of crappy, repetitive kid's movies, Studio Ghibli is a breath of fresh air.
And I can see every minute of Plain Kate as a Studio Ghibli film - from the seemingly unspectacular heroine with a hidden talent, to the tricky villain with very grey motivations, to the band of gypsies who accompany our girl on her quest, to the talking cat. I think that Studio Ghibli would hit everything about this book just right: the beautiful environment, the intricate detail of Kate's woodworking, and the devastating grief that underlies the whole story.
Suggestion #2: Tim Burton & Co., I would like you to meet China Miéville
I would love to see China Miéville's young adult novels Un Lun Dun and the more recent Railsea as animated films. They are both just so visually inventive and unique; it would be stunning to actually be able to see some of the crazy things that he describes. Although the author does include small illustrations in both stories, they really aren't enough to capture the grand scope of these novels, in my opinion. Railsea would be particularly amazing - an entire world covered in rails and navigated by train, inhabited below by giant killer moles and above by giant killer bird-monsters. And I'd like to see Un Lun Dun for the trash bin ninjas, "extreme" librarians, and the cutest milk carton ever. I think that Tim Burton could really capture at least some of China Miéville's massive imagination in one of his animated films. I love what he did with Coraline and A Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies. And I firmly believe that he could succeed in making a milk carton seem cute.
I can also see Tim Burton & Co. succeeding with a live-action adaptation of Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.
Suggestion #3: Peter Jackson & Co., I'd like you to meet Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
I would LOVE to see this whole trilogy on the big screen (and Mr. Jackson knows his way around a trilogy). These books have just about everything I love: cross-dressing girl heroes, derring-do, witty dialogue, mystery, talking pets, giant flying whale ships (which I didn't even realize were missing from my life until I read these). And the romance! Is so completely sweet and wonderful and the main character never loses herself to magically become a girly-girl. I would love to see these done right, but it would take someone who's completely unafraid of massive special effects. I can already see Andy Serkis in a green suit for the Perspicacious Loris twins.
And my last pick is one that is apparently going to get made. It was recently announced that Paramount is reviving plans to make a film adaptation of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.
Which could either be amazing, or my worst nightmare. This is another epically visual story, which moves in and out of a highly imaginative virtual realm. It's been reported
that Joe Cornish, an English writer/director (Attack of the Block
, The Adventures of Tin Tin
) who I had never previously heard of will be writing the screenplay and directing. I am extremely nervous about this, but I still hope that the project moves forward and that this thing gets made. If nothing else, I will have new fodder for a scathing book vs. movie post in a couple of years.
The possibilities are endless here. It seems that the number of movies being released which are based on books is increasing. We could talk about books we'd love to see translated to television or movies for hours. What would you like to see made? What would the cast look like? Who'd direct? Think your dreams will ever come true?