In recent years, Hollywood has adapted many of our favorite books for the big screen. Adaptions can be horrible or glorious. While Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was met with mixed reviews, the film version of Michael Lewis’ The Big Short was awarded multiple Oscars. Given the success of many such films (yes, we know, the books are always better), here’s a list of ten books that we’d like to see get adapted for the big screen in the upcoming years.
The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Following the release of The Great Gatsby and given America’s fascination with the jazz age and the roaring twenties, it seems only natural Fitzgerald’s second novel should get the Hollywood treatment. Inspired by Fitzgerald’s relationship with his wife Zelda, the story is very telling. The book is not as popular as Fitzgerald’s opus, but those who have read it often claim to prefer it to the author’s more popular works. The Beautiful and Damned has actually been adapted twice; once as a silent film in 1922 and again in 2010. The underwhelming success of the 2010 film, despite the brilliant story means it’s time for a big budget adaptation of the book.
Of all the books that have never been made into movies, this is likely the most surprising. During his lifetime, Salinger turned down copious amounts of money from some of Hollywood’s top directors, refusing to sell the rights to his book. It is likely that he did not want to sell out to the “Hollywood phonies” that Holden Caulfield rails against. It’s not hard to see why Salinger wouldn’t let Hollywood have a shot at adapting his classic novel for the big screen, but many readers who loved the book, myself included, often wished he would. If done right, such a film adaption could sweep the award ceremonies.
This novel isn’t as well known as Slaughterhouse-Five, but it’s arguably funnier. This title character, Eliot Rosewater, is an eccentric millionaire with a social conscience. The plot is rich and complex, detailing Eliot’s adventures throughout various small towns and his relationships with people he meets along the way. This book never got an adaptation, so it’s high time someone rectify that problem.
Before its mainstream success, A Confederacy of Dunces was a cult classic. This book is one of the most thoroughly entertaining works I have ever read. Ignatius J. Riley, the protagonist, is an educated but lazy man in his 30’s who still lives with his mother. He goes on various adventures (and misadventures) with eccentric, colorful characters in his home city of New Orleans. There are many who have been waiting for a film adaption of this book. I could definitely see Zach Galifianakis in the leading role. Nick Offerman played Ignatius in a theater version, but we’d love to see it on the big screen!
The fact that this modern bestseller has yet to make it to the big screen has shocked many critics and journalists. Franzen tells the story of a modern day family. This book is humorous while still being heartfelt. At the same time, it contains a considerable amount of truth and themes that most of us can relate to. We almost saw it on HBO a few years ago, but nothing came to pass. It’s a shame. There are many who would love to see this book come to life with a cinematic production.
Given the impressive success of the film adaptation of Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick, I find it surprising that we haven’t seen more big screen versions of his works. This novel in particular, is ripe for the cinema, as it deals with popular themes such as debating the existence of God, indecent attraction and forbidden feelings. This book strikes me as the type of literary work that could be adapted into a highly acclaimed film if done correctly.
This work of nonfiction was adapted for the screen in 1964 though it achieved very little success. The book is Griffin’s journalistic account of his travels through the Deep South disguised as an African-American man in a time of extreme racial segregation. What he experienced and learned throughout this journey astounds readers to this day. By far the most important, and possibly controversial book on this list, Black Like Me deserves a silver screen triumph.
One of the best-known war stories ever written, O’Brien’s account of his days of service in the Vietnam war is truly mesmerizing. War movies, such as “The Deer Hunter” and “Saving Private Ryan” are some of America’s favorites and often win Oscars. A low budget picture, loosely based on O’Brien’s work, was produced in 2011, but it achieved no success and hardly followed the plot of the stories. If Steven Spielberg is looking to direct another war drama in the spirit of “Saving Private Ryan”, The Things They Carried would be an excellent choice.
Everyone loves a good underdog story. Bestselling sportswriter Mike Lupica’s first Young Adult novel tells the tale of Danny Walker, a small middle schooler who’s entire world revolves around basketball. His glory fades, however, when he is cut from the very travel team that his father, a local sports hero, led to a championship many years ago. Given America’s love for underdog sports stories and the success of the book upon its release, I’m surprised there hasn’t been ad adaption yet!
This Young Adult classic was adapted for the silver screen in 1957, but it is undoubtably due for a remake. Named for its title character, the book tells of a young apprentice silversmith who finds himself caught up in all the most important events of the Revolutionary War. Along the way, he witnesses victory, tragedy, and pivotal historic moments. One of the best children’s novels of its day, this book has endured throughout the ages. A well-made film adaptation certainly would as well.