The 2015 book/movie relationship has already started off on the right foot with news that Jennifer Lopez’s character in The Boy Next Door (an English teacher) is given a “first edition” of The Iliad by the boy next door. Let’s see if any of these book to movie adaptations can top that.
10. Fifty Shades of Grey (February 13)
Some pertinent facts about Fifty Shades of Grey:
-It’s been rated R for “some unusual behavior.” I’m serious.
-One of the book’s raunchiest moments has been cut, and it wasn’t even considered to make the film, because, says the director, it “served no purpose in furthering the plot”
-For research, Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey, sat in a dungeon and watched a BDSM scene play out, and had this to say: “I think plane spotting is far weirder than S&M. That I really don’t get. I can understand why people are into S&M, but standing outside Heathrow Terminal 5 waiting for Ryanair to come in?”
-It’s 122 minutes long
9. The End of the Tour (TBA 2015)
This adaptation of David Lipsky’s 2010 book about the road trip he took with David Foster Wallace has already ruffled some feathers–most importantly, Wallace’s family has objected, saying: “David would never have agreed that those saved transcripts could later be repurposed as the basis of a movie.” But early reviews out of Sundance are very positive, so who knows. The film follows Wallace (Jason Segal) and Rolling Stone reporter Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) on the last leg of Wallace’s Infinite Jest tour.
8. Carol (TBA 2015)
This book-to-film adaptation has been at least 11 years in the making, but is finally hitting post-production. It’s based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel (also known as The Price of Salt, which she first published under the name Claire Morgan), which was initially banned because 1950s readers couldn’t handle the story of a married woman (played by Cate Blanchett) falling in love with a young girl (played by Rooney Mara). Highsmith books lend themselves particularly well to the big screen (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train), so hopes are high for this one.
7. Beasts of No Nation (TBA 2015)
Beasts of No Nation is based on the novel of the same name by Uzodinma Iweala, a must-read about a boy who gets swept up in his country’s civil war and joins a mercenary unit. The film stars Idris Elba and is directed by Cary Fukunaga–who also directed the 2011 Jane Eyre, but is perhaps most famous for that True Detective shot.
6. The Martian (November 25)
Andy Weir’s novel The Martian came out just last year, and was named one of the best books of 2014 by PW. The story follows an astronaut stuck on Mars with dwindling supplies. Matt Damon will play protagonist Mark Watney, and Ridley Scott will direct.
5. Dark Places (TBA 2015)
For the second straight year audiences will get a Gillian Flynn adaptation–and this one looks just as devious as Gone Girl. Charlize Theron plays a woman who as a child survived the killing of her family, for which her brother was convicted. Decades later, the truth of the incident is explored by a group of amateur investigators, who believe the brother is innocent. Back in our 2009 review of Flynn’s novel, we said, “When the truth emerges, it’s so twisted that even the most astute readers won’t have predicted it.”
4. Paper Towns (June 5)
John Green’s 2008 novel goes to the big screen with the same writers who adapted The Fault in Our Stars. In Paper Towns, Quentin (Nat Wolff, who played Isaac in The Fault in Our Stars) goes on a road trip to find the girl next door, who’s gone missing.
3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (November 20)
For the fourth year in a row, we get to watch Katniss battle evil, in the final installment of Suzanne Collins’s series. Hopefully, Part 2 won’t suffer Peter Jackson Syndrome (defined as “the incessant need to stretch source material to its [unnecessary] limit in order to make more profit”) like Part 1did.
2. In the Heart of the Sea (December 11)
Um…have you seen that trailer? In the Heart of the Sea, directed by Ron Howard, is based on the book of the same name by Nathaniel Philbrick, which is an account of the whaleship Essex‘s journey, a disaster that included being targeted by a vengeful whale, the real-life inspiration forMoby-Dick. This version promises to include 100% less Gregory Peck screaming and 100% moretortoise eating. The film has already been pushed back from March to December, presumably to position it for awards.
1. The Revenant (December 25)
If you’re going by sheer pedigree, the case for The Revenant (based on Michael Punke’s 2003 novel) sells itself: it stars Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio and it’s directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (fresh off Birdman). But perhaps most intriguing is that it’s being shot only in natural light in the Alberta wilderness, which gives only a few workable hours per day for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki–one of the best in the business: he shot The Tree of Life,Gravity, Birdman, Children of Men (remember those long takes?), and a whole bunch of other films crammed with frameable shots like this, and this, and this.
The Revenant is about a fur trapper (DiCaprio) in the 19th century left for dead after being mauled by a grizzly bear–who then survives and battles the elements to exact vengeance on his traitorous former team member (Hardy). Said Inarritu: “It’s a very experimental thing that we’re doing here…I’m now addicted to doing things that can fail horribly or maybe that can give us a surprise. We are all into it.”