Film adaptations of popular books have been in the spotlight in the last twelve months. Emily Donoghue’s Room and late-bloomer Michael Punke’s The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge were both made into films that received major Oscar attention, the latter even helping to get Leo DiCaprio that long-coveted Oscar. Despite these successes, booklovers famously fret over film adaptations of beloved works of literature. It has been noted time again how many important things are lost in translation when a beloved novel gets adapted for the big screen, and despite celebrated source material, books-turned-films can flop.
The highly anticipated film adaption of bloomer Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave is a classic example. (Before becoming a full-time writer, Yancey worked for the IRS and penned screenplays in his spare time.) When The 5th Wave, the first book in Yancey’s popular sci-fi trilogy, was published back in 2014, it was quickly likened to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Brian Truitt of USA Today even predicted that it would do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires. This year, the story of the gutsy Cassie Sullivan and her journey through alien-decimated America finally made it to the big screen in a film adaption starring Chloe Grace Moretz as Yancey’s protagonist. The film received mixed reviews after its premier this past January. Despite the film’s rocky reception, Yancey published The Last Star, the last novel in his trilogy this May, finally giving his fans the ending they had been waiting for.
Despite the sometimes-problematic nature of the book-to-film adaptation, there are a few coming up this year that we we’re excited about.. HBO recently revealed its plans for a mini series based on bloomer Karen Joy Fowler’s celebrated novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, starring Natalie Portman as protagonist Rosemary. Fowler published her first novel, Sarah Canary, at age 41 after focusing on raising her children. No stranger to film adaptations, Fowler’s earlier novel, The Jane Austen Book Club, was also made into a film, starring Emily Blunt, Hugh Dancy, and Maggie Grace back in 2007.
Paula Hawkins, a relatively late bloomer, was 34 when she published her debut novel back in 2006. This year, her mystery novel, The Girl On the Train, is being made into a highly anticipated Hollywood thriller, also starring Emily Blunt, as well as Justin Theroux. The film is set to premier October 7th.
While thrillers, aliens, and the fantastic all seem to lend themselves to film so well, the parts of the world explored in nonfiction can be just as fantastic and cinematic. David Graan’s The Lost City of Z tells the true-life story of Percy Fawcett who got lost in the Amazon while searching for an ancient civilization in 1925. The film adaptation of Graan’s book, starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, and Sienna Miller, doesn’t have a release date yet, but is set to hit theaters sometime in 2016. Graan was a regular contributor to the New Yorker for years before finally publishing The Lost City of Z, his first book, at age 42.
Another adaptation just a few short months from hitting theaters is Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, adapted from bloomer Ben Fountain’s award winning novel of the same name. Fountain practiced real estate law before becoming a full-time writer, publishing his debut collection of stories, Brief Encounters With Che Guevara, at age 48. His latest tells the story of a young Iraqi war hero and the trauma he’s forced to deal with amidst the glamor of his homecoming ceremony. Ang Lee, celebrated director and a bloomer himself, is directing the film. Many will remember Lee as the man who brought bloomer Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain to life in the 2005 film starring Heath Leger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Lee was 38 when he directed his first film, Pushing Hands. No stranger to film adaptations of famous works of literature, Lee made his American directorial debut at age 41 with Sense and Sensibility. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is set to premier this fall. Check out the trailer here. Can’t wait until the leaves change? You can pass the time by reading our feature on Ben Fountain from 2013 here.
In other news this month, bloomer Tessa Hadley’s latest short story, “Dido’s Lament,” was just featured in the New Yorker. Hadley, a regular New Yorker contributor, published her first novel in 2002 at age 46. Like so much of her work, “Dido’s Lament” focuses on the tiny dramas and terrible uncertainties of everyday life as experienced through a middle-aged woman. You can listen to her read it here and read Deborah Treisman’s interview with Hadley here.
Meanwhile, bloomer Diana Athill spoke with the good people at the Guardian to weigh in on the changing role of the book editor in 2016. Read the article here and then check out our feature on Athill here!
As August comes to a close, we at Bloom ask you to try and enjoy your last few days in the sun. Still, what a comfort it is to know that as the weather starts to cool, they’ll be good books and good films in abundance to curl up with!
Cara Dempsey teaches in Brooklyn and writes anywhere that will let her use the WiFi. Her fiction has been featured or is forthcoming in Hobart, MonkeyBicycle, and Paper Darts.
Homepage photocredit: The Happy Aspie via photopin