There is this idea that the book will always be better than the film, but perhaps they are just different. A book is an idea that a film can grow from, and a film can bring life to the written word; It is a marriage of creative mediums that serve each other. There is something exciting about your favourite book being turned into a film, and similarly a film can inspire you to delve deeper and read the book that inspired it!
Let’s take a look at some recent book to film adaptations…
The novel was written by André Aciman and published in 2007. 10 years later in 2017 it was adapted into a film (of the same name) directed by Luca Guadagnino and is the third and final installment in Guadagnino’s self-described Desire trilogy.
Set in Northern Italy in the 1980s, Call Me by Your Name chronicles the romantic relationship between Elio Perlman, a 17-year-old living in Italy, and his father’s 24-year-old American assistant, Oliver.
Despite being a literary adaptation, many scenes in the film play out wordlessly. “Words are part of what’s going on, but it’s not necessarily what’s going on underneath. I think this film celebrates the underneath,” said Guadagnino. The film has been receiving outstanding reviews and numerous award nominations and wins, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Aciman had the following to say about the process of creating a film from his novel: Cinema can be an entirely magical medium. What I do as a writer, and what Guadagnino does as a film director, is more than speak two different languages. What I do is chisel a statue down to its finest, most elusive details. What a film director does is make the statue move.
Ready Player One
Published in 2011 Ready Player One is a LitRPG science fiction novel, and the debut novel of American author Ernest Cline.
The story, set in a dystopian 2044, follows protagonist Wade Watts on his search for an Easter egg in a worldwide virtual reality game, the discovery of which will lead him to inherit the game creator’s fortune.
The film rights to the book were sold before it was even published and in 2018 it hit the big screen. Cline co-wrote the screenplay for the film (of the same name) which was directed by Steven Spielberg. Although it received some criticism for it’s lack of character development and portrayal of pop culture fans, it has generally been getting positive reviews from critics and is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2018 so far.
Cline’s second book Armada is currently being turned into a film by Universal Pictures, and he is working on the novel sequel to Ready Player One, which he also hopes will serve as the basis for a second film.
A young adult dystopian science fiction series originally written by James Dashner and later adapted into a film trilogy of the same name(s).
Sixteen-year-old Thomas who awakens in a rusty elevator with no memory of who he is, only to learn he’s been delivered to the middle of an intricate maze, along with a large number of other boys, who have been trying to find their way out of the ever-changing labyrinth — all while establishing a functioning society in what they call the Glade.
While the first film, released in 2014, was fairly true to the book (published 2009), there has been some criticism about the direction it takes for the second (The Scorch Trials) and third (The Death Cure) installments. Fans of the book series note that the films remove a lot of elements present in the original story and leave a lot to be desired. Having said that they are entertaining works in and of themselves, and without the comparison of the book one might have much less to critique.
Dashner has also written two prequel novels, The Kill Order (2012) and The Fever Code (2016), as well as a companion book titled The Maze Runner Files (2013).
Published in 2013, Red Sparrow is a spy/thriller novel written by former C.I.A operative, Jason Matthews.
Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to ‘Sparrow School,’ a Russian intelligence service where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. Her first mission, targeting a C.I.A. agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.
Matthews was brought on board as technical adviser for the film adaptation of his work so that he could supervise the accuracy and depiction of the espionage and make it more authentically C.I.A.
The film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton and Matthias Schoenaert, and directed by Francis Lawrence premiered in 2018 and received mixed reviews. Lawrence began working on adapting Matthews’ book in 2015 and has said that at the time, he had reservations about the timeliness of a Cold War story. In the transition between book and film the number of narrators and shifting perspectives in the novel were reduced choosing instead to focus the story more on Dominika.
Originally a horror novel written by Stephen King, published in 1986. The novel won the British Fantasy Award in 1987, and received nominations for the Locus and World Fantasy Awards that same year. Publishers Weekly listed It as the best-selling book in the United States in 1986.
In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shapeshifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.
In 1990 the novel was adapted into a television miniseries and later (in 2017) into a feature film. The 2017 film was directed by Andy Muschietti and has received positive reviews, with many calling it one of the best Stephen King adaptations.
The original novel is told through alternating narratives between two periods in time. However the film has been adapted to focus solely on the sections of the novel that feature the children. A sequel, It: Chapter Two, which is due for release in late 2019, will adapt the ‘adult’ portions of the story.