From pages to the silver screen

Books have always been a great source for the movies since forever. In 2021, there was Adam Driver making for a dapper Gucci heir in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci , an adaptation of Sara Gay Forden’s The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed . Driver was equally commanding as the possibly rakish medieval knight in another Scott adaptation, The Last Duel , of Eric Jager’s The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France .

Adarsh Gourav was riveting as Balram in the adaptation of Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger . Nomadland , which won three Oscars including Best Picture,is based on Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.

The Dig, based on John Preston’s eponymous novel featured Ralph Fiennes playing a self- taught excavator who correctly identifies the burial mounds in Sutton Hoo as Anglo Saxon rather than Viking. Benedict Cumberbatch is incandescent as the closeted rancher in Jane Campion’s adaptation of Thomas Savage’s The Power of the Dog . Then there was Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune , long considered unfilmable.

The Lost Daughter was a propitious start to 2022. Based on anonymous author Elena Ferrante’s eponymous book, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut is a delicately savage meditation of motherhood. Olivia Colman as the middle-aged professor, Leda, gives form to Ferrante’s words. Incidentally, the last book of Ferrante’s extraordinary Neapolitan Quartet, 2015’s The Story of the Lost Child , poignantly details the fallout of the loss of a little girl.

With Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth dropping on Apple TV +, 2022 seems set for a round of jolly page to screen adaptations.

Graham Swift’s slim, evocative novel, Mothering Sunday , about a single day, March 30, 1924, and its repercussions on the life of a young woman, Jane, sees its celluloid avatar. Eva Husson directs with Odessa Young playing Jane Fairchild, the orphan maid having a secret affair with a wealthy neighbour, Paul, played by Josh O’Connor, who we all know as Prince Charles in the gorgeous Netflix production, The Crown . Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Elizabeth in the series, also stars with Colin Firth. It would be interesting to see how well Swift’s lean novel which deals with weighty issues of class and gender translates on screen.

While Netflix has announced the release date for the second season of Bridgerton, the streaming platform is also adapting the real Regency deal, with Persuasion . Jane Austen’s final novel is directed by Carrie Cracknell and features Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot, who after being ‘persuaded’ to break off her engagement with the dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth is getting a second chance.

Don DeLillo’s breakout 1985 novel, White Noise , also gets the screen treatment this year. The postmodern novel set in the world of academia tells of a professor of Hitler studies, Jack Gladney and his obsessive fear of death with ‘The Airborne Toxic Event’ being the tipping point. Directed by Noah Baumbach ( Marriage Story ), White Noise stars Driver as Gladney and Greta Gerwig as his wife, Babette. Martin Scorsese turns to American journalist David Grann’s non-fiction book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI for his next film, which looks at the deep-rooted conspiracy and murder of the Osage tribe in the 1920s. Killers of the Flower Moon stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Ernest Burkhart, marking his sixth collaboration with Scorsese while Robert De Niro, in his tenth collaboration with Scorsese, plays the antagonist William Hale.

Not all adaptations are from high literature though. Stephen King’s second novel Salem’s Lot, (1975) about an author who returns to his hometown for inspiration and finds vampires instead, is being adapted to film by Gary Dauberman, who has cut his horror movie teeth in The Conjuring universe. Then there is Kenneth Branagh as the magnificently moustachioed Hercule Poirot in the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile . The 1937 novel sees Poirot investigate the death of an heiress on her honeymoon aboard the luxury steamer, Karnak.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 11:48:08 am |