Many upcoming films are adaptations of popular books, a large portion of which are based on young adult literature. From 2013 to 2014, at least a dozen movies coming out are adaptations of novels, both new and old. Based on popular books, the films will be sure to have fans of the original novels filling up seats.
One highly anticipated film adaptation is based on Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a novel about a woman who disappears on her wedding anniversary. A thriller, the book was number one on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list for eight weeks, and at other rankings for even longer. It has sold over two million copies both in print and ebook format, and the production company paid $1.5 million for the screen rights. The film will star Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck.
One of the most popular books read in elementary schools, Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel The Giver has sold more than 5.3 million copies. The film adaptation, set for release in August 2014, will star Jeff Bridges as the Giver, alongside Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Swift. Called a classic by the Huffington Post, the dystopian novel has also received the Newbery Medal, the most distinguished award given for American literature for children.
A more recent novel to be turned into a film, also geared toward young audiences, is John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars—it was number one on the New York Times Bestseller list for childre’s chapter books for seven weeks, and as of January 2013, nearly a million copies were in print. Set for release for June 6, 2014, the film will star Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Mike Birbiglia, Willem Dafoe and Laura Dern. The film also cast real teen cancer survivors to play parts in the support group that the main character attends in the story. Green’s book was also named the number one fiction book of 2012 by Time, so the film has a lot to live up to!
Also on the New York Times Bestseller list for a substantial amount of time, the movie version of Veronica Roth’s Divergent is scheduled to hit theaters on March 21, 2014. Like The Fault in Our Stars, it will also star Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, along with Kate Winslet, Theo James and Zoe Kravitz. Summit Entertainment has already revealed that a sequel, based on Roth’s Insurgent, is already in the works.
Other young adult books turned into films are The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, The Hunger Games series, Ender’s Game, The Hobbit, Delirium, Beautiful Creatures, and The Host. Choosing books for films has always been a popular decision among production companies, and it seems many readers—especially fans of young adult novels—will be excited to see their favorite books on screen.
Did You Know?
Movies adapted from YA novels—or rather any novel—have big shoes to fill. Usually, by the time a book hits the big screen, the writing has gathered a large following, looking for the movie to stay true to the original intent of the author. One of the most important components is ensuring that the movie maintains the emotional resonance found in the writing. Part of this lies in casting actors that portray character personalities and appearance, and finding a director passionate about the story is arguably equally as important. Before the advent of the Internet, there was much more mystery involved in adaptations. Films were made in a vacuum of sorts, where fans didn’t have access to details about the film until it was about to be released. Nowadays, moviegoers and book fans can view trailers, research the cast and read interviews before the movie is finished. This opens up the film to criticism, preferences and comments while still in production, forcing filmmakers to listen to their expectations while trying to remain true to their own artistry. Movie creators have to be even more creative and skillful as they attempt to aptly translate a book into a major motion picture.
In some cases, such as with Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower, the book’s author will adapt his or her own writing into a screenplay. In this case, the movie was released thirteen years after the book was published. Chbosky wanted the film to appeal to the demographics of both those who read the book when it was first released, and those who read it when the movie came out. Chbosky had to self-edit and cut back on scenes that didn’t focus on central characters, balancing the emotion of the writing while remaining subjective. He called the process “the most gratifying and challenging work” he had ever done professionally, and his hard work certainly paid off when fans fell in love with his coming-of-age story all over again. (DYK by Emeli Warren)