10 Books Bound for the Big Screen this Year

Editor on September 27, 2018
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Book lovers and movie-goers have a lot to look forward to in these latter months of the year, with some top-quality titles making the leap from page to screen. There’s something for everyone: riveting history, challenging memoirs, strange worlds, and intriguing new takes on stone-cold classics. Here are 10 movies with literary roots coming soon to a theater near you. (This article was originally published on Amazon Charts on September 26, 2018.)


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James R. Hansen’s 2005 biography of Neil Armstrong makes one giant leap to the big screen this fall. Ryan Gosling ( La La Land) steps into the boots of the legendary astronaut to deliver a “thoughtfully internalized performance,” per The Hollywood Reporter. Hansen’s biography chronicles Armstrong’s incredible life and career, from combat missions as a naval aviator to the historic Apollo 11 moon landing and beyond, sourced in part from over 50 hours of interviews Hansen conducted with Armstrong himself. Armstrong wasn’t usually much of a talker, which makes Hansen’s book one of the rare ways to hear this incredible life story straight from the source. First Man lands in theaters on October 12.


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By all accounts, David Sheff’s son, Nic, was a smart, charming, and funny kid with a bright future ahead of him. Addiction changed all that in Nic, turning him into a person in which his parents couldn’t see much of their beautiful son — but his parents were determined to not give up on him. Oscar nominees Steve Carell ( Foxcatcher) and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) play father and son in the film adaptation of their dual memoirs (David’s being Beautiful Boy, Nic’s being Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines) that Collider says is “one of the most essential films that could exist right now.” Beautiful Boy is in theaters October 12.


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How do you update a classic? Looking at director Luca Guadagnino’s ( Call Me By Your Name) approach to his take on the 1977 cult classic film Suspiria, the approach seems to be such: stay true to the spirit and amplify the strengths. Dakota Johnson ( 50 Shades series) and Tilda Swinton ( Dr. Strange) star in this visually stunning tale of a world-renowned German dance company home to a coven of witches. The original film is loosely based on Suspiria de Profundis, an 1845 literary work by English essayist Thomas De Quincey found in his collection Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Read the historical work, white-knuckle through the 1977 film, and get ready for an intense new experience when Suspiria hits select theaters on October 26 and opens everywhere on November 2. Note: this one is not for the faint of heart.


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Garrard Conley grew up as the only child in a devoutly Baptist family in small-town Arkansas. At age 19, he was outed to his parents as gay and given a heartbreaking choice: subject himself to “conversion therapy” or be disowned by his family. He chose to attend treatment. “I had too much invested in my current life to leave it behind,” he writes in his memoir, Boy Erased, “in my family and in the increasingly blurry God I’d known since I was a toddler.” Nicole Kidman ( Paddington), Russell Crowe ( Les Misérables), and Lucas Hedges ( Moonrise Kingdom) bring Conley’s intense story of love, family, and self-acceptance to the silver screen on November 2.


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Stieg Larsen’s Nordic noir series (“Noirdic,” if you will) returns to the big screen in November, with Claire Foy — fresh off her Emmy win for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown — stepping into the iconic role of Lisbeth Salander and Sverrir Gudnason ( Borg vs McEnroe) as journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Larsen completed the first three books in the series before his passing in 2004, all of which received movie adaptations of their own. Swedish journalist David Lagercrantz picked up the mantle to pen two additional titles in the series, starting with 2015’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web. In it, Salander and Blomkvist investigate a lead from an unknown source who claims to have information critical to the United States. If you’re worried about the series being in the hands of a different author, fear not: as of this writing, Spider’s Web enjoys a 4.0 average star rating from over 10,000 customer reviews. Venture to the land of ice and snow when Salander and Blomkvist return to theaters on November 9.


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If The Girl in the Spider’s Web is not your cup of glögg, consider another book adaptation also coming to theaters on November 9: Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch. The greenie meanie is back in an all-new way to enjoy this classic Christmas tale of a grump whose heart grows three sizes in one day and somehow doesn’t require medical attention. Benedict Cumberbatch ( Dr. Strange) voices the foul one in this animated adaptation of the beloved book How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Stuff this book in a well-protected stocking before the Grinch swipes it in an elaborate holiday heist.


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Can you tell an aethonon from a thestral? Or a niffler from a hippogriff? Best to catch up on your magical zoology and history ahead of the next film set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The film — written by Rowling herself — follows magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) as they try to put a stop to the sinister wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), who has broken out of custody and begun amassing followers for his dark plans. Before you watch, study up on the Hogwarts Library Collection featuring three books of major importance to round out your magical education, including the landmark textbook on magical creatures written by Scamander: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. You’ll be an expert right in time for when Fantastic Beasts hits theaters on November 16.


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History comes alive this winter when the film adaptation of John Guy’s acclaimed biography Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart hits theaters. Mary Stuart led a turbulent, fascinating life: she acceded to the throne at a mere six days old and spent her upbringing abroad while regents ruled in her place, had a tuft with Queen Elizabeth I about which of the two was the rightful ruler of England, found herself suspected of murder, ended up imprisoned twice, and eventually convicted of treason. Little wonder that the New York Times called Guy’s book “as enthralling as a detective story.” A talented cast promises to bring this story to vivid life, including Saoirse Ronan ( Brooklyn) as the titular queen and Margot Robbie ( I, Tonya) as rival Elizabeth I. Look for Mary, Queen of Scots in theaters on December 7.


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The world of Mortal Engines is unlike any you’ve seen before. The planet is running low on resources after a devastating war, and a large part of humanity is forced to survive aboard mobile Traction Cities (also known as “Predator Cities”) designed to capture and “eat” the resources of other cities. London is the biggest city on the block, and London is hungry. Author Philip Reeve’s four-part series is full of absolute page-turners, with Amazon readers calling the first “highly inventive” and “a marvelous adventure.” After years of effort by many — including co-producer and co-writer Peter Jackson ( The Lord of the Rings) — the first book in the series finally makes the leap to the big screen on December 14.


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Standing at the ready with spoonfuls of sugar, it’s Mary Poppins, y’all! In the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns, the Banks children may all be grown up (and have kiddos of their own) but could still use some help from the world’s most magical nanny. The star-studded cast features Emily Blunt ( The Girl on the Train), Lin-Manuel Miranda ( Hamilton), and Dick Van Dyke ( Mary Poppins), all ready to put a touch of magic in your winter when the movie releases on December 19. In the meantime, sink into the wonderful world of Poppins by reacquainting yourself with (or introducing to a miniature loved one) the classic novels by P.L. Travers, starting with the 1934 original Mary Poppins.


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