A new year brings new resolutions, friends, life opportunities and goodbyes. More importantly, it also brings new books and new movies coming to entertain us, like Disney’s “Aladdin,” “Avengers: Endgame” and “Star Wars: Episode IX.” However, because these major motion pictures are already incredibly popular, there’s really no need for me to say much more about them.
Some smaller films, though, such as these 2019 book adaptations, might not garner the same press as their blockbuster brethren, but they should. This year in particular, an unprecedented number of A-list actors, directors and producers have come together to bring some of literature’s favorite black-inked letters to life.
So, here are seven under-the-radar book adaptations coming to theaters in the next few months.
1. The Rhythm Section – Feb. 22
Based on the best-selling novel by Mark Burnell, “The Rhythm Section” follows Stephanie Patrick as she figures out the multiple identities she created to survive after her family died in a plane crash. Stephanie takes on the identity of an assassin to discover who was responsible for the crash, which wasn’t an accident.
The novel stresses the growth of the protagonist rather than focus on her quest for revenge or the book’s thriller aspects, though her journey does revolve around those themes. With such abstract concepts, the actors will have a lot to convey, as the book adaptation will probably not include voiceover.
It will be exciting to see the multiple identities Stephanie takes on and how she copes when someone important falls in love with one of her personas. The film, which will be directed by Reed Morano, stars Blake Lively as Stephanie Patrick, as well as features Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown and Daniel Mays.
2. Chaos Walking – Mar. 1
Originally titled “The Knife of Never Letting Go,” the film adaptation of Patrick Ness’ 2008 novel focuses on a science-fiction world called the New World, a planet where a germ killed all women and unleashed a phenomenon called The Noise. People and creatures communicate through thought, which leaves protagonist Todd Hewitt in a world cluttered with noise. That is — until he meets a girl named Viola and hears silence for the first time. Together, they learn more about the New World and try to save the planet.
While science fiction might not have succeeded with past films like “Mortal Engines” and “Pacific Rim Uprising,” this book adaptation will surely take the cake with stars like Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley at the front. The film also has the interesting “noise” concept that will be a challenge to re-imagine on screen. Whatever that may be, there is sure to be an abundance of futuristic technologies and aesthetic visuals.
3. “Greyhound” – March 22
Greyhound is based on C.S. Forester’s novel “The Good Shepherd,” which was published in 1955. Both the novel and film follow hero Commander Krause, who has become the captain of a destroyer called Keeling, but his new title causes him to doubt his capabilities, even as German U-boats threaten them.
Aaron Schneider, director of Oscar-winning short film “Two Soldiers,” directs Tom Hanks, who wrote the screenplay for the war picture. Much like “Sully,” which Tom Hanks also acted in, the adaptation will take on a similar tone and higher stakes, as all war films do.
4. “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” – March 22
Published in 2012 under the same name, author Maria Semple tells the story of an acrophobic mother, Bernadette Fox, who disappeared after a trip to Antarctica. Her daughter, Bee Branch, the narrator and her family try to discover her whereabouts.
The comedic motion picture features Cate Blanchett as Bernadette Fox, alongside Kristen Wiig and Judy Greer. The plot has mystery written all over it and could be a serious drama, so its comedy label is intriguing to me.
5. “Artemis Fowl” – Aug. 9
This science fiction novel by Eoin Colfer features a 12-year-old genius named Artemis Fowl who captures an underground fairy to get information about his lost father. Artemis embarks on a battle with the fairies, who are most likely behind the disappearance of his dad.
The story sounds like something Warner Bros. might be interested in adapting, so to know Disney garnered the adaptation almost 20 years after Miramax Films acquired the rights to it is something magical. The film takes on new actor Ferdia Shaw as Artemis Fowl II, and will also star Judi Dench, Josh Gad and Hong Chau. The movie will offer a thrilling journey, enough to make up for the long wait.
6. “It: Chapter 2” – Sept. 6
In 2019, the follow-up film to Stephen King’s original horror masterpiece will focus on the more mature Losers’ Club, who are now all successful adults. They return to Derry after almost 27 years to combat their long-awaited and familiar nightmare demon.
After the success of “It,” audiences are excited to see how the most anticipated story of the year will end. Notable actors include Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, James McAvoy, Bill Skarsgård and more. They have a lot to live up to, considering the young actors who personalized the characters were stellar.
7. “Little Women” – Dec. 25
“Little Women” centers around a family during the Civil War period, and features the March sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy) and their mother, Marmee March. These ladies go about their days fatherless, due to his role as pastor in the war.
Academy-award nominated director Greta Gerwig rounded up a bunch of famous actors, some of whom were nominated in the Academy Awards, including Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet and, my personal favorite, Emma Watson. There have only been eight adaptations of this famous novel, two of which were silent films, but none in the new age of female empowerment.