Hollywood has been making movies from books for years because a story and plot are already developed. The studio simply has to hire a hungry screenwriter to adapt the novel, comic book, or short story into a 120 page script. Cast some stars and you have a perfect formula with a built in fan base to make several million dollars. Here are the top three books that need to be made into movies now:
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman – A story written by accomplished author Jon Krakauer concerning the real life story of a man who turned down a multi-million dollar NFL contract to serve in the Armed Forces after the 9/11 attacks. Krakauer is known for tackling morality issues that catch Hollywood’s eye, such as Into the Wild directed by Sean Penn that was recently made into a movie that garnered Oscar attention. This story is no different in that the author takes a complex man and a controversial decision and writes a compelling story chronicling the outcome.
I can’t help but to see Brad Pitt playing Pat Tillman in a moving adaptation of the novel. The back of the book shows a picture of the athletic square jawed Tillman and he bears an uncanny resemblance to Pitt. This story is what America needs at this time, a reminder of what it means to follow your ideals no matter what others say. Hollywood could present this focusing on the controversy in a style similar to A Few Good Men.
American Gods – Neil Gaiman is perhaps best known for his work in comic books but lately his novels have been gaining a lot of attention. A few years ago Stardust and a star studded cast were brought to the big screen with plenty of good reviews. Gaiman writes the kind of novels that require excellent special effects and this book is no different with its blend of mythology and fantasy. The book is wonderfully written with the main character being an ex-convict named Shadow who accompanies Odin on a trip to rally the “old gods” to battle the “new gods”
The story weaves in and out of mystery and deception and lends itself very well to adaptation. Shadow could be played by Mickey Rourke and the Gods could be an all-star cast as most of the characters are cameos.
Freakonomics: A Rouge Economists Explores the Hidden Side of Everything – This is a stretch and would be very hard to adapt to a movie form as the book is mostly about unconventional economics in the conventional sense. However a loose interpretation of the book could lead to a movie that shows the interesting side of humanity while focusing on economics principles. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner are the authors that tackle such issues as corporate McDonalds operating like a Chicago land crack gang and why swimming pools are more dangerous than handguns when considering child safety.
The full length feature film would most likely involve a single character experiencing a life full of these non obvious principles of economics. The director and the screenwriter would have to envision a non-linear non-traditional movie. Think American Beauty meets Magnolia with excellent narration and the main actor would be Ewan McGregor. Or you could just make this a documentary which would be much less adventurous.