BY CARMELA FERRO
Most of Hollywood’s biggest money making stories have leaped out of books and on to the big screen. Franchises like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games and pretty much any Nicholas Sparks novel are prime examples of successful films adapted from books.
Apparently these days Hollywood heads are all out of fresh ideas and are turning the pages looking for the next big hit. In the past couple years books like The Help, Moneyball, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Vow, Cosmopolis, Pitch Perfect, The Perks of Wallflower, Rust and Bone and Anna Karenina have all been adapted into films. However, you can’t really blame them for wanting to bring some amazing stories to life.
Here are five books that you should read before seeing them on the big screen:
5) CLOUD ATLAS
This award winning book was adapted for film by Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) so we know the story is in good hands. It’s a complex book consisting of six stories that take you from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a distant post-apocalyptic future. The story weaves through time and space exploring how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future. The film premiered on October 26th, so if you start reading now there’s a chance you can see it before it leaves theatres.
Based on the book by: David Mitchell
Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Bae Doona, James D’Arcy, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon
4) LIFE OF PI
Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel about a young boy that is leaving India to live in Canada with his family after they sell their zoo. A few days out to sea a storm hits and Pi wakes up stranded on a small lifeboat in the Pacific with a Bengal tiger, a spotted hyena, an injured zebra and an orangutan. Directed by Ang Lee, this film looks like a stunning visual adaptation of this warm and graceful tale. Life of Pi has just been released so when you’re done reading it, head on over to the theatre.
Based on the book by: Yann Martel
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Gerard Depardieu, Rafe Spall
3) ON THE ROAD
There is so much to be said about this book! It’s considered a defining book of the Beat Generation and one of the best English novels of the 20th century. It is based on the real life travels of author Jack Kerouac and his friends as they cross America. The book reads fast as the characters hop through big cities, dark jazz clubs, dirt roads and back and forth across America in the late ’40s. This book is more than just crazy stories from lively characters, it’s about longing for meaning and purpose in life and simply finding your way. On the Road found its way to the big screen after all these years and received positive press after premiering at Cannes and TIFF this past year.
Based on the book by: Jack Kerouac
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams
2) THE HOBBIT
Before the Lord of the Rings saga, way back in 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien published the fantasy children’s novel The Hobbit that began it all. The story follows Bilbo Baggins on his quest to win a share of the treasure that is guarded by the dragon Smaug. Bilbo goes on the journey of a lifetime encountering many other creatures, friends and foe in his episodic quest. Peter Jackson returns to direct the first of the 3-part epic production hitting theaters on December 14th.
Based on the book by: J.R.R. Tolkien
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood and many more to reprise their roles.
1) THE GREAT GATSBY
This literary classic is widely considered a Great American Novel and its cover is one of the most celebrated pieces of jacket art in American literature. The Great Gatsby takes place during the Roaring Twenties and the era of prohibition. The story follows Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate and World War I veteran who takes a job in New York during the summer of 1922. His eventful summer begins after he attends an extravagant party hosted by his mysterious millionaire neighbour, Jay Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Australia) brings to life this insightful story of the American nouveau riche in the 1920s. If you weren’t forced to read this in high school, do yourself a favour and read it now. It’s been pushed back to release in May 2013, so you’ve got quite a bit of time.
Based on the book by: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher
Here are a few more books that are hitting the big screen in the next year! Les Miserables, Carrie, Warm Bodies, WWZ, The Devil in the White City, The Woman in Black, The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society and A Confederacy of Dunces.
Are there any of your favourite books you’d like to see made into a film? Let us know in the comments below!