Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Guest Post: Books to Movies in 2015

We welcome again our guest writer Spencer Blohm, as he reflects on upcoming movies this year that are derived from books.  There's more than one on this list that I have on my bookshelf at home to read, hopefully before I catch them in the theater or on Blu-ray!

Five of the potentially most popular movies set for release in 2015 have two things in common. The first is that they've got excellent connections--to successful books, previously successful movies, or both. The second is that they all address the fight against tyranny, whether by the state, society, or the laws of nature.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

Based on Suzanne Collin’s popular Hunger Games trilogy, is set for release on November 20th, 2015. The film brings back the franchises stars; Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore and Josh Hutcherson. The book sold 450,000 copies the first week of its release in August, 2010. In this sequel, heroine Katniss Everdeen, symbol of unity and leader of a growing rebellion against a tyrannical state, continues her quest, even as it threatens the life of her beloved Peeta, who is being held captive in the Capitol.

Child 44

Directed by Daniel Espinosa, is set to be released on April 17th, 2015. It stars Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, and Swedish actress Noomi Rapace. Written by British writer Tom Rob Smith, the book won 7 awards, including the 2008 Galaxy Book Award for best new writer. Smith had three film offers within two weeks of the book being offered for sale to publishers. Based on the crimes of convicted serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, the main character, a policeman, must find the killer while facing official denial that crime even exists.


Based on the book written by Veronica Roth and the sequel to last summer's hit Divergent, which is now widely available on movie channels (check here for details), is set for release on March 20th, 2015. Specialization is taken to extremes in this sci-fi thriller starring Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet and Naomi Watts. The result is a society in which people are categorized according to their talents and virtues. Those who don’t fit neatly into a single category are considered a danger to society, and dealt with accordingly. Based on Shailene Woodley's stellar performance in Divergent, as well as the special effects, are sure to make this an enjoyable sequel.

The Martian

The film, based on the book by Andy Weir, is tentatively scheduled for release on November 25th, 2015, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels and Jessica Chastain. This story of an individual’s struggle for survival after being abandoned on Mars is a testament to human ingenuity in the face of adversity. The same can be said of the author himself. Unable to find an agent willing to represent him, Weir self-published the novel in 2011, one chapter at a time. After selling 35,000 copies, Crown Publishing purchased the rights to the book and re-released it in March, 2014. It debuted on the New York Times bestseller list at number twelve.

Paper Towns

The book by John Green, author of The Fault In Our Stars, debuted on the New York Times best-seller list at #5 as well as winning the Edgar Award for best Young Adult Mystery. Directed by Jake Schreier and starring Cara Delevingne, Nat Wolff, and Halston Sage, it has a release date of June 5th, 2015. In this story, the characters explore the themes of personal identity versus public image, the effects of social cruelty-- and revenge. Green’s relationship with Hollywood has been a rocky one, and this is a movie that almost wasn't. When asked if there was going to be a movie his response was “No, probably not… They felt the first draft was 'literary'…”. It’s that very literary quality that produced the memorable lines that made The Fault In Our Stars so popular. Fans can thank screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for their work in making this film possible.

As you can see, Hollywood is still in love with YA novels in particular and the legions of fans they bring into theaters. At this point it’s not really a question of if a popular YA book will be made into a film but, rather, when it will be made. Of course there have been some disastrous adaptations in the past, but with more and more authors getting involved in the process I’d expect the bad reputation that film adaptations have gotten to fall to the waist side. Keep your eyes peeled for even more film adaptation announcements this year, it’s only going to grow from here.

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