Adapting a novel for the screen is a risky business; it either creates history or is panned by book-lovers for eternity.
Go overboard with characters and the literary fandom will shed you to pieces and if you don't show enough character development, the audience will lose interest.
Not every movie can match the excellence of the novels which they are adapted from, the adaptations have to play on just the right chord or else the entire movie falls apart.
Sometimes the actors don't work or if they work the script fails to live up to the novel's intensity.
Even more challenging is changing the plot; some directors twist the ending or alter plot points to make it more desirable and intriguing, case in point, 'The Lord of The Rings', which worked phenomenally for the movie, but other adaptations aren't that lucky, looking at the 'Divergent' series.
With a throng of books being turned into movies, 2019 seems to be the “Year of Novel-to-Movie Adaptation”.
Here are six of the most anticipated adaptations to grace the screen this year:1. Little Women:
© Columbia Pictures
Set in Massachusetts, with the Civil War as the backdrop, the story focusses on the four March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, as they come of age in a new America.
Vividly different than the other, each with their own personalities and ambitions, the girls learn something new about life and themselves, guided by their mother, lovingly called “Marmee”.
Starring Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep among others, this adaptation of the famous novel by Louisa May Alcott is one of the most anticipated movies of 2019.
Emma Watson is taking on the role of the eldest daughter, dreamy and soft-spoken Meg, (after Emma Stone dropped out of the project) which should be a cakewalk for her given her previous roles as Hermione and Belle; strong, resilient characters with a soft but solid disposition. (Though, I would have preferred her to be Jo!)
In a Ladybird reunion of sorts, accent-queen Saoirse will star as the second daughter, headstrong and quick-witted Jo, the creative genius in the family, alongside Timothée Chalamet who will play Laurie (and looks a lot like him), the handsome neighbour who strikes up a friendship with the four girls.
Given that the 1994 version starring Susan Sarandon (Marmee March), Winona Ryder (Jo) and Christian Bale (Laurie), has been the undisputed king of all the adaptations till date, the movie will have to live up to its name; Saoirse and Timothée have some very big shoes to fill!
The casting is the best part of the movie:
Laura Dern as Marmee and Meryl Streep as the cantankerous Aunt March are well-suited to their roles. So are the March sisters; we couldn't have asked for better actors.
The person to look out for would be Eliza Scanlan who plays Beth March, the sweet-natured and innocent March sibling whom everyone loves; a dynamically different role than her manipulative Amma Crelin in Sharp Objects.
Directed by Greta Gerwig of Ladybird fame and its Oscar-nominated cast, it sure is to make its own mark in adaptation history.
Also, an element to look forward to is the plot changes which Greta seems to have made to make the story more relevant.
Date of Release: December 25, 20192. The Woman in the Window:
© 20th Century Fox
Anna Fox is a recluse; a formerly celebrated child psychologist who spends her time drinking wine, watching movies and spying on her neighbours through her window.
Then one night, everything changes when on her spying spree, she witnesses something she wasn't supposed to in the home of her new neighbours, the seemingly-perfect Russells.
Is what she saw true or was she still under the influence of her nectar: the alcohol? Will she be able to prove it?
Dealing with themes of suspense, intrigue and agoraphobia, this A.J Finn thriller novel is set to release
Featuring Amy Adams as the aforementioned woman, and directed by Joe Wright, the psychological thriller movie also stars Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore as the Russells.
The role seems to be right up Amy Adams' alley, since we have seen her play intense, dramatic characters with scarred pasts and secrets, most recently as Camille Preaker in Gillian Flynn's novel's adaptation 'Sharp Objects'.
She is sure to bring Dr Anna's anguish to life with her stellar portrayal.
Date of Release: October 4, 20193. The Rhythm Section:
© Paramount Pictures
When Stephanie Patrick's life is upended after an airplane crash that kills all her loved ones, she turns to drugs and prostitution for solace and as a coping mechanism to stop the unravelling of her life.
Vexed on finding out that the crash wasn't an accident but the work of a terrorist organization, she vows to take revenge.
In order to do that she enlists into a dubious intelligence organization which promises to lead her to the terrorists, if she completes their questionable assignments.
Mark Burnell's novel's lead, Stephanie, is a gritty, no-nonsense, fascinating woman who can go to any lengths to achieve her goal and bring the preparators to justice.
Starring Blake Lively (as Stephanie), Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown among others, and directed by Reed Morano, it's to be seen whether the movie can match the pace of the book.
Date of Release: November 22, 20194. Artemis Fowl:
© Walt Disney Pictures
Teenage genius Artemis Fowl is on a mission to rescue his father from the Russian Mafia and restore his family's fortunes.
The catch? His father is a known criminal.
Starting off as an anti-hero, he captures Holly Short, the head fairy of the LEPrecon (the fairy police), hoping to extort gold from them and becoming rich; as a first step in his quest to his free his father.
He is helped all the way by his trusted bodyguard, Butler, as they embark on more adventures.
Based on Eoin Colfer's novels of the same name, the movie is to adapt the first two novels for the movie version.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Ferdia Shaw, Judi Dench, Lara McDonell, Nonso Anozie and Josh Gad in main roles, this Disney film is bound to be full of spectacular special and visual effects.
A visual delight for sure!
Date of Release: August 9, 20195. The Goldfinch:
© Warner Bros Pictures
Donna Tartt's eponymous novel is set to feature on screen in a movie directed by John Crowley.
Theo Decker is a teenager who has known tragedy very early on in his life. He is a survivor of a terrorist bombing at a museum which sadly claimed his mother. His only solace is the painting his mother loved at the museum, The Goldfinch, which he had secretly taken from the museum after the bombing.
But as he grows up, it is this innocent act of taking the painting that propels his life into a series of adventures which eventually lead him to the underground world of art forgeries and crime. Along with his friend Boris, he embarks on new experiences which don't turn out to be exactly what he had imagined.
Starring Ansel Elgort as the adult Theo and Aneurin Barnard as Boris, the movie is sure to be a good adaptation, given the actors chosen to portray the characters. Nicole Kidman and Luke Wilson also star in supporting roles as socialite Mrs Barbour and Larry Decker (Theo's idler father) respectively.
Date of Release: October 11. 20196. Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
© Annapurna Pictures
Based on the novel by Maria Semple, Bernadette is an agoraphobic mother of a 15-year old daughter, Bee Branch, who hates everybody around her, especially her neighbour, Audrey. Though Bernadette wasn't always like this, she has now become a housebound recluse, a far departure from her once successful career as a feted architect.
One fine day, a few days before a planned Antarctica tour which was to be Bee's gift, Bernadette goes missing and now Bee must take on the difficult task of finding her mother before it's too late.
Cate Blanchett will star as Bernadette Fox, with Emma Nelson as Bee, along with Judy Greer as Dr Kurtz and Kristen Wiig as the annoying neighbour, Audrey.
Given the comedic elements of the book, Cate is Blanchett is sure to nail the character's idiosyncrasies and with Kristen Wiig as Audrey, it is bound to be a laugh riot. Judy Greer as Dr Kurtz is the perfect choice for the role and so is Billy Crudup as Bee's genius father, Elgin Branch.
Let's hope the mystery behind Bernadette's disappearance is as intriguing as it is in the novel.
Date of Release: August 9, 2019
Which one are you most excited for?