One of the most rewarding feelings for a reader is to criticize a movie based on a book he/she just read. Sometimes a fun and emotional experience, many times a great disappointment. Either way, it’s a great sensation to say “I just read that book”.
While it’s extremely difficult for producers and directors to squeeze and entire novel into a two hour movie and to please every reader’s preferences on specific characters, chapters and wild imaginations, the plot should take readers and viewers through bits of world history, action and suspense, love stories and fantastic landscapes. Books that teach us something in funny ways are also very successful.
The top three books that must be turned into a movie are:
“Married to a Legend, Don Pepe” written by Henrietta Boggs McGuire. It’s a fascinating true story of a young southern woman from Alabama that follows a postcard invitation from her uncle to travel to the tinny Central American country of Costa Rica in the early 1940s. She falls in love with a local young coffee farmer turned activist and then politician who lead a movement against a corruptive government, abolished the army and established the bases of what is today an exemplary peaceful and environmentally responsible paradise. According to a 2009 independent research group in Britain, Costa Rica is the happiest place in the world “centered on people and the environment.”
Through the eyes of a strong young woman, this book portraits the political circumstance of Central America in the 40s and 50s, answers the question “why is Costa Rica so different from its neighboring territories” and takes readers through extraordinary landscapes.
The main characters of “Married to a Legend” should be played by Cate Blanchet and Gael Garcia Bernal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Producers like Scott Steindorff and director Mike Newell should also take a closer look at this fascinating true story following their beautiful production of “Love in Time of Cholera”
“Ines of My Soul” by Isabel Allende is certainly one of her best novels yet and a must have on your bookshelves. According to the New York Times a “Riveting…A colorful and clear-eyed portrait…” With perfect movie settings and plots, this astonishing story takes readers to the 1500’s in a journey from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean to South America and the founding of Santiago, Chile. Every chapter was written with the magical descriptive passion of Allende’s books, immediately transporting readers to magnificent sceneries that will make magic on the big screens.
“The House of the Spirits”, one of Allende’s first books, was made into a successful movie in 1983, with an outstanding cast featuring Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Winona Ryder, and Antonio Banderas. Producer Bernd Eichinger and director Bille August won several of awards for “La Casa de Los Espíritus” such as the Robert Festival, the Bavarian Film Awards and German Film Awards, among others.
The cast of “Ines of My Soul” should include strong international female actresses such as Penelope Cruz or Isabella Rossellini and to successfully depict the wild panoramic views and violent context of the Spanish conquest; it should be produced by Ridley Scott or Mel Gibson.
Another book that would make a successful comedy is “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” by John Gray. Several articles mention the planning of a movie based on this well-liked book; however, no producing company has come publicly announcing it yet.
While offering valuable analysis and suggestions for men-women relationships, the context of this popular book can be presented in very funny ways attracting millions of couples across the globe. One of Gray’s explanations for the differences between men and women is the point system where men rate their contributions by larger point blocks (20 and 40) while women rate contributions in single digits. The cave and the wave also describe the way women and men handle stress in a completely different way.
Director Nancy Meyers can give a spin to her 2009 movie “It’s Complicated” maintaining a similar cast including Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin.