Recent and upcoming Book-to-Screen Adaptations

It’s easy to wonder sometimes if there are any new ideas in Hollywood, as so many movies and TV series are adapted from books, plays, comics, etc. But the best adaptations make the original content feel fresh and new, drawing audiences back to the source material. Continuing our tradition of books-to-screen posts, here are some of the latest options for this year’s Book Bingo book-to-screen category.

Several classics have been adapted (again) recently from Jane Austen’s Emma, to Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock, to Shakespeare’s Macbeth (in a film directed by none other than Joel Cohen). In July, Austen’s Persuasion receives a similar treatment as Autumn de Wilde’s 2020 film Emma, a fresh, cheeky, pastel-infused take on one of Austen’s most problematic heroines starring Anya Taylor-Joy. The latest of many adaptations, Carrie Cracknell’s Persuasion premieres on Netflix on July 15th, and features Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, and Henry Golding in yet another rich, dashing romantic lead. Also worth watching/reading in the classics/historical category is Gentleman Jack, an HBO series adapted from the memoir The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister, or ParkChan-Wook’s 2016 film The Handmaiden, adapted from Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel Fingersmith

Paul Gallico’s charming 1957 novel Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, about a London charwoman who falls in love with a client’s Dior dress and decides she simply must have one of her own, is getting a big-screen movie release this year that features Lesley Manville and Isabelle Hupert. This feel-good story is perfect for fans of Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day, based on the timeless novel by Winifred Watson.

Several dark and dramatic stories have made the jump from page to screen recently as well. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, is a difficult but compelling tale about murder and Mormon fundamentalism that released earlier this year and stars Andrew Garfield. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, another dark tale of murder and obsession (but also time-travel!) made the jump as a limited series that stars Elizabeth Moss. More murder is to be found in the movie adaptation of Delia Owens’ best-selling novel Where the Crawdads Sing, which releases July 15th in theaters and stars Daisy Edgar-Jones, who is having a huge moment in book-to-screen adaptations with Under the Banner of Heaven, an adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People, and the recent French adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in her credits list. (Rooney’s first novel, Conversations with Friends, also has just been released as a limited series on Hulu).  

It’d be a travesty not to include some of the best recent romance adaptations, such as Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper and Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series (which, if you love regency romances, be sure to read then watch Mr. Malcom’s List). This summer watch out for The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, a sweet story of first love and that one perfect summer, and Jennifer E. Smith’s Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between, a love-story about high school sweethearts who reminisce about their time together before heading off to college. Readers of the beloved novel The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Nefenegger seem to be enjoying the new TV series adaptation (as opposed to the lack-luster 2009 film); perhaps Doctor Who alumni director Stephen Moffat has just the right timey-wimey touch needed for this book.  

Sci-fi/fantasy fans can fill the void left by Stranger Things in July with Paper Girls, adapted from Brian K. Vaughn’s incredible graphic novel series. April saw the release of a new limited series adaptation of Walter Tevis’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomi Simpson, an update to the classic 1976 film adaptation that starred the iconic David Bowie. And just in time to close out this year’s Book Bingo, a brand new film adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot will creep into movie theaters on September 9th.

     ~ Posted by Veronica H.

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