Some of the best films ever made are not wholly original. Some are based on theatre plays, some take their inspiration from real life and some translate the richly written worlds of novels onto the big screen.
In fact, every year the Oscar for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ is one of the most hotly-contested gongs at the Academy Award. 2017 looks set to offer yet another twelve months of expertly adapted stories, taking tales from the page to the projector. But which novels should you be reading before you see the films?
The Lost City of Z, by David Grann
In 2009, journalist David Grann wrote The Lost City of Z. Not a novel, but a non-fiction book, this story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, and his attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon rainforest, is a gripping read – and charts Grann’s own journey to ‘Z’.
April will see the release of a film of the same name, starring Charlie Hunman and Robert Pattinson as 1920s explorers plunging into the Brazilian jungle.
The Circle, by David Eggers
A story steeped in the morality and potential pitfalls of our modern, tech-obsessed world, David Eggers’ tenth novel charts the story of a powerful internet company that begins to fall apart at the seams.
This dramatic, page-turning tale will be released as a film in April, with an eclectic cast including Tom Hanks, John Bodega, Emma Watson and Karen Gillan. Expect sub-plots to be cut for the screen, so do your homework and you’ll enrich the experience with further knowledge.
The Dark Tower, by Stephen King
You can’t go wrong with King – and his eight-strong Dark Tower series is no exception. Incorporating themes from multiple genres – including science fiction, horror, fantasy and western – the series will see itself adapted in a roundabout way this July in a star-studded motion picture.
Although the film, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey amongst others, is being touted as a sequel of sorts to the series, why not get reading to up your understanding of the plot? But we’d get moving – six months isn’t that much time to tackle eight King behemoths.
The Coldest City, by Antony Johnston
The film adaptation of Antony Johnson’s celebrated 2012 graphic novel, The Coldest City, is set to star Charlize Theron, James McAvoy and Toby Jones when it is released in July. Described as ‘a high-stakes, global action-thriller,’ the story sees spies scrambling to find a list of double agents in the days before the Berlin Wall is pulled down.
Shot on location in Germany, the film promises to be just as visually impressive as Johnston’s original novel – which is well worth a read before the tale takes to the big screen.
Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
If you’re not already au fait with the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie, then you must go out immediately and buy up a good number – chief amongst these being the Hercule Poirot adventure Murder on the Orient Express.
Opulent, dramatic and with one of the best whodunnit twists in the genre, Kenneth Branagh will bring the Belgian detective to life this November when his adaptation is released. Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Derek Jacobi and Willem Dafoe have also boarded – expect fireworks.