Collage by Beth Gonzales
“A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us,” author Franz Kafka said.
In the world of technology and streaming, one is often overloaded with options to consume. This year, many new TV shows and movies are based either exactly or loosely on their novel counterparts. Some new actors and adapted stories have already hit the screen, and some new beloved tales are coming soon.
Released in mid-June, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before ” author Jenny Han served as the executive producer for her older book series “The Summer I Turned Pretty” on Amazon Prime. This show adequately follows the books and showcases protagonist Belly Conklin’s coming of age as well as the whimsical escape to an endless summer in Cousin’s Beach.
This incredibly breezy teenage show is a stand-out due to the cast of fresh faces. This cast includes Lola Tung, playing Belly, and Christopher Briney and Gavin Casalegno playing the “dreamy” Fisher brothers that form a love triangle with their childhood best friend. The show is widely known for its music direction by Liza Richardson and featured songs such as “When The Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish and “Can’t Do Better” by Kim Petras.
Also on Amazon, “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” debuted Sept. 1. The new series is the first television adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s famous story. The series will be set in the Second Age of Middle Earth and will serve as a prequel to the events in the major motion pictures.
Other new shows in the action/sci-fi realm include Netflix’s “Anatomy of a Scandal” and “The Sandman.” The television adaptation of Sarah Vaughan’s popular mystery novel “Anatomy of a Scandal” stars Sienna Miller and Michelle Dockery and follows the plot of an aristocratic British woman whose life is sent into a frenzy when she finds out her husband’s biggest secret.
“The Sandman” series follows the 1989-1996 comic book series by “Coraline” author Neil Gaiman. Although the series received mixed reviews such as “boring” and “not being able to bring Gaiman’s world to life,” one must understand that some fanatical worlds come across best in our mind.
Page-to-screen might not always work, but according to Frontier Economics, films adapted from books generate 53% more revenue than original screenplays, and 70% of the world’s Top Grossing films are based on books.
Netflix and HBO Max also released LGBTQ+ drama “Heartstopper” and crime drama “Tokyo Vice” this year. “Heartstopper” is a four-volume comic book series written by Alice Oseman who also wrote the debut TV show. This story follows the love, loyalty and friendship of Charlie and Nick who meet one fortunate day in class.
“Tokyo Vice,” starring “The Fault In Our Stars” actor Ansel Elgort, follows the true tale of newspaper noir and Japanese crime from an American investigative journalist who desires to “pull back the curtain.”
In terms of major motion pictures, recent book adaptations include July’s “Where The Crawdads Sing,” based on a young woman living alone in the North Carolina marshes who is accused of killing her former love. While the overall story remains loyal to the book, some small changes were made for the cinematic big screen — yet the twist remains the same.
“Bullet Train” and “The Black Phone” also made their way into the theaters this year, both dark thrillers and action-packed book-to-screen experiences. “The Black Phone” written by Stephen King’s son who goes by pen name “Joe Hill,” received a high score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes and told the story of finding inner confidence for young boy, Finney, while maintaining a horror theme. “Bullet Train” racked in some big stars such as Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock. Written originally in Japanese, the film is loosely based on the original plot — the 2010 novel “Maria Beetle,” by Kōtarō Isaka.
In terms of films one can look forward to, Michael Grandage’s LGBTQ+ love story, “My Policeman” starring superstar Harry Styles comes out Oct. 21. The film is based on the 2012 novel by Bethan Roberts in which two lovers are torn apart, and three lives are destroyed. This will be Styles’ second film of the year following his Sep. 23 “Don’t Worry Darling” release, starring alongside the experienced Florence Pugh.
Pugh is also starring in psychological thriller and period piece “The Wonder,” releasing on Netflix this month. The film is based on Emma Donoghue‘s book surrounding the real-life phenomenon between the 16th and 20th centuries called the “Fasting Girls,” about an 11-year-old girl who stops eating but remains alive and well.
Netflix will also release “Blonde” Sept. 16, based on Joyce Carol Oates’s 2000 novel which is a fictional telling of icon Marylin Monroe’s life. Ana De Armas plays Monroe, and while the film stunned with a 14-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, many fans are upset by its NC-17 rating — due to the over-sexualization of a star who has not been able to live, or rest, in peace.
Stories such as “Where The Crawdads Sing” and “The Summer I Turned Pretty” have come to screen — and films such as “My Policeman” and “The Wonder” are ones to look forward to. With many new stories on the horizon, whether a book or film, it is one’s imagination that brings stories to life. Some may argue that high, can be found nowhere else at all.
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