Adapting books into film is the hottest new trend in Hollywood. With so many novels in publication, there is an unlimited resource for screenwriters and directors to pull from when they are out of original ideas. Here are three examples of books that would certainly turn into awesome movies.
1) American Gods by Neil Gaiman
One of my favorite writers, Neil Gaiman never disappoints with each new novel or short story that he publishes. The fantastical worlds that he creates are ultimately reflections of human nature, whether dark or even humorous. American Gods follows ex-convict, Shadow, as he travels across America as a bodyguard to an eccentric con-man named Mr. Wednesday. Along the way, they meet an interesting cast of characters who all play a part in the deep mythology of Gaiman’s America. The main idea of the novel is that the gods in this mythology only exist by the grace of what people believe in, and new gods (those of technology, the media, drugs, and fame) pop up everywhere to overtake the gods of the old worlds. The possibilities of filming locations at various places around America would make this book a great story for a movie. The surreal quality of the novel would lend itself well to the screen, and it would be even better if Gaiman himself adapted his own book for the script. He’s had experience writing screenplays before, with co-writing credits on Beowulf, Mirrormask, and Princess Mononoke. An ideal director would be Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan. His visually stunning work on The Company of Wolves (a gothic fairytale) was groundbreaking and perfect for the conceptual fantasy of American Gods. To play the lead part of Shadow, a good casting choice might be Jason Statham, because he is muscular enough to pull off the part of a bodyguard. Scottish actor Brian Cox would be a great Mr. Wednesday, and Paul Bettany would bring just the right brand of humor to the movie as the trickster Loki.
Check out Neil Gaiman’s website for more information about this book and his other amazing work: www.neilgaiman.com
2) The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
One of the few Stephen King novels that hasn’t already been turned into a movie, TheEyes of the Dragon is a true page turner from the opening line. Reading this book, a classic fantasy, is just like a watching a movie, with its fast chapters, clever writing, and interesting plot twists. The Eyes of the Dragon tells the story of two young princes in a fictional kingdom who must overcome the conniving machinations of the court magician to take over the throne after the king dies. When one of the brothers is locked away as a prisoner in the tower, his escape plan is creative and suspenseful. The clear-cut theme of good versus evil is central to the plot and is a wholly satisfying novel. This book would play well as an animated feature rather than a live-action movie. The filmmakers could push more boundaries in animation than they could if real actors were playing their parts against a green screen. A great director for the big screen adaptation would be Henry Selick, using his trademark stop-motion animation. His keen eye for nuanced visual effects would be perfect for this production. Andy Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of the Rings) would make an awesome voice for the despicable magician, and any number of child actors could embody the roles of the princes.
Check out Stephen King’s website for more details about this book and others: www.stephenking.com
3) Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
The first book in the In Death series written by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) is an addictive romance novel about a female detective, Eve Dallas, in the year 2058, solving a high-profile murder mystery. She falls in love with the main suspect, a billionaire businessman simply named Roarke. Following Eve as she gathers evidence to put the pieces together as to the true identity of the killer is completely engrossing; it makes for a great screenplay. Because the story takes place in the future, the setting is unique and different, and it would be fascinating to see how it could be presented on film. A good choice for director would be Karyn Kusama who could easily handle the aspect of romantic science fiction. Her work on Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body proves that she can juggle visually conceptual sci-fi with the wit and humor of complicated human relationships. Actress Milla Jovovich would make an interesting Eve Dallas, because she is a strong, action-oriented woman. Casting Roarke would be slightly more difficult, since fans are rabidly committed to upholding the image of the hero in romance novels. That said, Irish actor Colin Farrell could play the part of Roarke with the cool exterior and romantic undertones necessary for the character. Adapting this book could easily turn into a film franchise, because there are several additional novels that follow.
Check out J.D. Robb’s website for more information on this book and her other In Death novels: www.jdrobb.com