As usual, 2015 is a busy year for books being adapted into films. The pages of novels and non-fiction books inspire filmmakers, and I enjoy seeing how the world of cinema transforms a story. Sometimes the film improves the plot of a book by widening and enriching its scope, and sometimes the throughline gets lost in translation on the way to the theater. Whatever the result, I look forward to adaptations of existing material even when they seem like they might be reboots. Writers and directors usually bring their own unique touches to the party. The key word there is usually. I’ve perused the long list of films we’ll be getting next year that are based on books, and these are the nine titles I’m most looking forward to watching.
Insurgent: March 20, 2015
Book by Veronica Roth, screenplay by Brian Duffield and Akiva Goldsman
Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy, and the movie will pick back up on the story of Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) as she struggles to survive in a dystopian post-apocalyptic city. It definitely has some similar threads to the story of The Hunger Games, but the characters and the presence of the five factions – Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite – add enough shades of difference. You’ll want to see the first film or read the first book before seeing Insurgent.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2: November 20, 2015
Book by Suzanne Collins, screenplay by Danny Strong and Peter Craig
The fourth and final film in The Hunger Games series is based on the third book, Mockingjay. Yeah, it joined the trend of splitting the last book in half. Part 1 left off with the rescue of Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) from the Capitol and highlighted the continued suffering of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). As we go into Part 2, the rebellion against President Snow kicks into high gear. I suspect the final film will be more action-oriented and just as brutal.
Seventh Son: February 6, 2015
Book by Joseph Delaney, screenplay by Charles Leavitt, Steven Knight, and Matt Greenberg
Based on the book released as The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in the United States, the Seventh Son has magic and dragons. I don’t necessarily expect an epic and sweeping story from this film, but it does look like a fair amount of fun and I have room for all kinds of stories in my heart. Ben Barnes stars as Tom Ward, a young boy who can see beyond what others see because he is the seventh son of a seventh son. His parents apprentice him to Master Gregory, played by Jeff Bridges, so that Tom can learn to fight against “The Dark.” Supporting cast includes Julianne Moore and Kit Harington with John Dykstra on visual effects (Dykstra’s involvement is enough to intrigue me).
The Jungle Book: October 9, 2015
Book by Rudyard Kipling, screenplay by Justin Marks
The 1894 classic about a boy named Mowgli who is raised by animals is headed back to theaters in the form of a live-action/CGI film directed by Jon Favreau. When I say CGI, I mean the photo realistic variety and not the overly cartoon-y stuff. Neel Sethi stars as Mowgli, and the non-human characters are voiced by a powerhouse of talented actors including Bill Murray (Baloo), Christopher Walken (King Louie), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), and Scarlett Johansson (Kaa) among others. It’s a Disney film oriented towards families so it might be more like the 1967 animated movie than I’d like it to be, but it has the potential to be something special.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: 2015
Book by Seth Grahame-Smith, screenplay by David O. Russell and Burr Steers
This zombie-riddled story of the Bennet sisters, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, and co. is an adaptation of the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. The book parody penned by Grahame-Smith is headed to theaters this year and features Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet, Matt Smith as Mr. Collins, and Game of Thrones veterans Lena Headey and Charles Dance in roles that haven’t been announced yet. Regency era dresses and zombies? It sounds just ridiculous enough to be entertaining.
Victor Frankenstein: October 2, 2015
Book by Mary Shelley, screenplay by Max Landis
The latest movie adaptation of the 1818 novel about a scientist named Victor Frankenstein has strong leads lined up. James McAvoy will play Frankenstein, and Daniel Radcliffe stars as Igor. The cast also includes Jessica Brown Findlay (Downtown Abbey) as Lorelei and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) as Dettweiler. This version of the story is told from Igor’s perspective; we’ll learn about his origins and his friendship with Frankenstein.
Do you prefer to read books before they’re adapted into films or vice versa? Which book to film adaptations are you looking forward to in 2015? Let us know in the comments.