Great books coming to the big screen

As you may have guessed I enjoy books and movies very much and so when I hear that a book I loved is getting the film treatment I’m filled with excitement and apprehension as to whether it will live up to the imagery in my head.

Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series were both spot on, Paycheck was very much off the mark.

Here’s a few in the pipeline or already released elsewhere but yet to hit the UK.

Stardust (2007)Stardust at Amazon

One of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, wrote a grown-up fairy-tale about a star that falls to Earth (a little like 10th Kingdom but with less comedy).

Much of the cast, the directory and writing team are all English although the ‘star’ role goes to the very lovely American Sienna Miller. The film is scheduled for an October 19th release here in the UK and is already out stateside.

Neil also has Beowulf and Coraline coming out in 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Northern Lights / The Golden Compass (2007)

The Golden Compass at Amazon

The first book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series will no doubt be compared to Harry Potter in that it is a series aimed at children, features magic and has a strong female character in the lead. The similarities extend to the first book in the series having a different name in the USA and England but thankfully end there.

Whilst the casting of the film looks good abandoning the religious aspects is worrying – why DO the directors and film companies feel the need to excise or alter important parts of source material that has already proven a commercial success?

Cross your fingers and hope it hasn’t lost too much for the UK release on December 7th.

I Am Legend (2007)

I Am Legend at Amazon

Will Smith is leading the role as the last human being alive on the planet after a condition turns the rest of the population into vampires. He goes hunting by day whilst they sleep and ensures his home is fortified for the nightly onslaught when they wake.

Richard Matheson penned the novella in 1954, any novel still in print 50+ years after it was written signals to me the book must be good.

One worry is that Hollywood will turn this into a massive in-your-face action flick instead of the brooding horror of the book. The trivia at IMDB notes large budgets, sets and military vehicles/extras so this is a very distinct possibility. Hollywood have done this several times with Philip K Dick’s books and just not getting the point that his stories show ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

We will find out here in the UK January 4th and Mr Matheson has The Box and The Incredible Shrinking Man due out in 2008.

The Golden Man / Next (2007)

Second Variety (Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Vol. 3) at Amazon

Philip K Dick’s book is the story of a golden man, the next evolution of humanity, who can see into the near future and his attempt at escaping his pursuers (kind of like the escape scene in Minority Report).

Not technically forthcoming as it hit the UK shores in April but I missed it being that it had a totally different name to the book. Being that the guy who can see into the future is now a Las Vegas magician played by Nicholas Cage I’m not sure I’ll bother.

If there was a point to the book about how we will react to our own evolution it’s lost. Perhaps Hollywood think that’s been covered enough by the X-Men franchise.

Altered Carbon (2009 ?)

Altered Carbon at Amazon

Richard K. Morgan writes the story of one Takeshi Kovacks, an ex-military elite soldier in a future where your body is easily replaced providing the metal backup device implanted in the base of your skull is in tact. Kovacks is egotistical, violent and methodical in his new job as a private investigator seeking out why his rich client apparently committed suicide (and was promptly restored from backup but lost some essential hours).

The book is gritty and certainly not aimed at children. Would Hollywood pay the big bucks required to get the imagery right for such a grand undertaking of a film that would be limited to an adult/18 category is unlikely but somebody has the rights and is penning in a 2009 release date.

If the film is a success there are two more books in the series which will demand grander sets and even larger budgets.

Rendezvous with Rama (2009 ?)

Rendezvous with Rama

Morgan Freeman picked up the rights to Arthur C. Clarke’s fantastic novel about a large cylindrical object that enters our solar system briefly and the subsequent exploration of it’s interior but has seemingly done little since.

There used to be a web site with some renders and notes but that has long since gone and the ‘producers are still working on the adaptation’ and Morgan’s schedule seems to indicate he is rather busy on other projects.

Morgan claims that part of the delay is getting a studio on board that doesn’t want to turn it into an action movie (great news and can be a success as Contact shows) and that they are still working on the script (get David Peoples on the case).

Whilst the film is on a grand scale it would probably be relatively cheap to film as most of it could be green-screened against rendered backgrounds being that everything inside Rama is not man-made anyway.


1 responses

  1. Avatar for tom

    Ack, I keep forgetting to watch Stardust! I swear I made a note to watch it back when it came out, but for some reason I have yet to actually do so. Aaaarg!!! Curse my forgetfulness!!!! :/

    tom November 27, 2008