2020 Adaptations: From Book to Screen

Books are increasingly becoming Hollywood’s most treasured manna–the star-stuff that inspires the year’s buzziest television films and movies. Here are some books and series coming to screens big and small this year:

Let’s start with adaptations with Northwest ties!

Another film based on Frank Herbert’s Dune will be released by director  Denis Villeneuve, who previously directed “Arrival,” which was based on local author Ted Chiang’s short story “The Story of Your Life.” The cast will include Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, and Oscar Isaac. It should be mentioned that Tacoma recently anointed the Dune Peninsula and Frank Herbert Trail at Point Defiance Park.

Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country will be an HBO mini-series executive produced by Jordan Peele and J. J. Abrams is a Lovecraftian look at Jim Crow America and the horrors of racism starring Jonathan Majors and Michael K. Williams.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, which is based on the true story of a gorilla who lived in a shopping mall, will be a film directed by Thea Sharrock, starring Angelina Jolie and Sam Rockwell.

Now, on to adaptations by authors further afield:

Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity will be a Hulu TV series with a gender-flipped main character played by Zoë Kravitz, whose mother Lisa Bonet starred in the original, about the life and romantic entanglements of a record store owner.

Jane Austen is never out of style and a fresh revival of Emma by director Autumn de Wilde with a screenplay by Booker Prize-winner Eleanor Catton should bring this match-maker a new audience.

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton is a debut that will be directed by George Clooney, starring George Clooney and Felicity Jones. My colleague Kara  called it a “beautiful page-turner” and described the set-up: “Two narrators: One in space and one in the Arctic; a female astronaut and an aging Astronomer, both coming to terms with the fact that something has happened that has cut off communication.”

Philip Roth’s bestselling alternate history The Plot Against America, starring Winona Ryder and Zoe Kazan, posits the isolationist and anti-Semitic Charles A. Lindbergh as winning the Presidential election instead of Franklin Roosevelt.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng about a big shake up in the suburbs is also being adapted as a Hulu series by Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Cherry by Nico Walker, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Tom Holland, is an autobiographical novel about the currently incarcerated author’s life as an Army veteran who becomes addicted to opioids.

Sally Rooney’s buzzy Normal People, starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, features a complex love story between two Irish youth.

What adaptations are you excited to see this year? What did you read that you would love to see on the screen?

A couple of sources that list even more adaptations to be aware of are these articles from LitHub and BookRiot.

~posted by Misha

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