This year has already regaled moviegoers with incredible films such as “Avengers: Endgame,” “Us” and “Captain Marvel,” just to name a few. There’s no denying the power of films and the way they transport audiences into a new world or a different time. Although any imaginative film is great in my book, as a reader, I get particularly excited for a well-thought, properly written book-to-film adaptation. And this summer, there are quite a few that stand out that range from children’s book to older audiences.
It’s a tricky thing to get right, adapting books, and to please audiences that expect the most if they’ve read the book before. Every reader has an idea of what a character is meant to look like, how scenes are meant to play out and, perhaps, what the soundtrack ought to sound like. And although the book is sometimes better than the movie, there’s a lot to say about the experience of seeing a book come to life.
Here are three books that will be gracing our screens this summer — consider picking them up for a read, too, and supporting the authors!
1. “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”
Our first book to film adaptation is Shirley Jackson’s 1962 novel “We Have Always Lived In The Castle.” This title has already been subject to a variety of interpretations due to its mysterious family, occult protagonists and the theme of isolation in a wealthy household. In 1966, in fact, Hugh Wheeler wrote a play based on the novel and there was even a musical performed at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven.
The story is told in the first-person perspective of Marricat Blackwood, an 18-year-old girl whose parents were poisoned, which has led the rest of her small family to regard her suspiciously. She believes in casting spells to protect the family and has a much stronger presence than her older sister, Constance.
On May 17, Brainstorm Media will release a film adaptation starring Taissa Farmiga, known for her various roles in Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story,” as Merricat Blackwood. In addition, the film will feature Alexandra Daddario as Constance Blackwood, Crispin Glover as Uncle Julian and Sebastian Stan as the attractive cousin, who comes to pry a little too much into family secrets.
Director Stacie Passon told Entertainment Weekly that, when she first read novel in high school, she found the it “smart, suspenseful, dark satire.” The trailer provides but a glimpse into the Blackwood family secrets — murder, anyone? — and the unraveling of all the tightly wrapped wounds that have already begun to fester.
If this hasn’t convinced you to head over and buy yourself a ticket, consider the fact that Merricat’s believes she should have been a born a werewolf, as her middle and index fingers are the same length.
2. “Good Omens”
Much like Shirley Jackson, the great Neil Gaiman is no stranger to seeing his writing leap from page to screen.
“Stardust,” “Coraline” and “How To Talk to Girls At Parties” are all now popular films. Additionally, the more current adaptation of the 2001 novel “American Gods” is doing incredibly well on the network Starz.
Clearly, Gaiman is a goldmine for exciting filming material, and if you’ve never read any of his books, you’re in for a surprise. This summer, “Good Omens,” one of his most beloved novels, co-authored by the late Sir Terry Pratchett, will premiere as a TV show on Amazon Prime. It’s the book-to-TV adaptation you didn’t know you needed until now.
If you haven’t heard of the book, it’s a comedic tale about the end of the world. That’s right — an end-of-the-world comedy with angels, demons, Atlantians, a missing-child antichrist named Adam and a dog named … Dog. Overall, it’s a fun, wacky story with unlikely characters coming together to make sure that the next weekend isn’t the last weekend.
The demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale serve at the main characters, played by David Tennant and Michael Sheen. As for the TV show formatting, Gaiman revealed that it is meant to honor Pratchett’s wishes. The letter written to Gaiman stated that “[Gaiman is] the only other person out there with the same love and understanding and passion for this that [Pratchett has]” and this was Pratchett’s wish to see it come to life.
Unfortunately, Pratchett passed in March 2015. In his honor, let’s celebrate “Good Omens” as one of the most exciting adaptations to come this summer.
3. “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”
Last but never least is Maria Semple’s 2012 novel, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” Much like the titular protagonist, the trailer is mysterious and quirky, as it follows a mother who has run away from her seemingly perfect life in Seattle.
In the novel, 15-year-old Bee Branch is the narrator. Right before a trip to Antarctica, her eccentric mother, Bernadette Fox, goes missing, and the search for her reveals a hidden past through old letters, emails and memos.
The recognizable character’s severe cut and large black glasses is an exciting one to see appear on-screen, especially since she’ll be portrayed by the incomparable Cate Blanchett.
Of the character, Blanchett says how complicated it was to “find” Bernadette’s voice. “It wasn’t just how complex and painfully absurd her life is,” she says. “In the end, the trickiest thing was tone” because of how differently Bernadette would be in the film compared to how she’s portrayed in the novel.
Joining her are Emma Nelson, who will play daughter Bee, Kristen Wiig, Troian Bellisario and Lawrence Fishburne. This book-to-film adaptation has a suspected August release date.