10 Novels That Should Be Adapted into Films!

Having just finished reading a novel I couldn€™t put down, I began to think of how great a film it would make - something I seem to be doing more and more of lately. I often find myself imagining how I would adapt what I€™m reading, which director would I put on it, who would I cast, what would I adapt/what would I cut. Even going so far as to thinking about the poster design! Obviously Hollywood takes literary work as the basis for many of it€™s productions and should a novel prove a runaway hit, you can pretty much assume the movie version will soon follow. However, in my opinion, there€™s a number of works that would surely make exciting, engaging and impressive films, but have yet to be adapted. Read on to discover the 10 novels I think should be on the big screen and pronto!

10. ENID BLYTON€™S THE SECRET SEVEN

The Plot: When a mystery occurs, The Secret Seven is sure to solve it! Consisting of Peter (the society's leader), Janet (Peter's sister), Jack, Barbara, George, Pam and Colin, whether it€™s theft, arson or suspicious goings on, the gang are ready to get investigating€ Whilst working their socks off on a case, Jack's sister Susie and her best friend Binkie delight in playing tricks on the Seven, designed to humiliate them, but secretly want to belong to the gang themselves! Why?: If there€™s nothing kids like better than to snoop around and get involved in mysteries, in the hopes of catching bad guys and sticking middle fingers up at adults, the Secret Seven novels are testimony to that. Having read the series as a child, I can honestly say that the mysteries have stayed with me and there€™s also the propensity to update these stories and make them more high-tech (and therefore accessible to modern young audiences), whilst retaining the spirit and core mystery at the heart of Enid Blyton€™s novels. The fact that there is a series of 15 books would also mean that a studio could make a huge amount of profit from them, if they€™re made well and prove popular with the youth of today (I suddenly feel old after writing that sentence!) and can pick and choose the best plot points to adapt into a trilogy.

09. JAMES ROLLINS€™ EXCAVATION

The Plot: High in the Andes, Dr. Henry Conklin uncovers a 500-year-old mummy that shouldn€™t be there. At the same time, deep in the South American jungle, Conklin's nephew Sam discovers an incredible site hidden between two towering peaks €“ a spot unseen by human eyes for thousands of years. A series of inventive traps have been set to catch the careless and unsuspecting, but treasure beyond belief could lay ahead for those courageous enough to face the terrible dangers. None could anticipate the horrors at the end of this perilous journey though, or the secrets that await the adventurers. Something created by Man, but not humanly possible: something wondrous€something terrifying€ Why?: Whilst I would never suggest that this could potentially lead to a new archaeology based series as popular as the Indiana Jones franchise, it certainly could be an interesting take on this subgenre of action cinema. The tropical setting would lead way to some beautiful cinematography under the direction of the right filmmakers. The novel moves along at a fast pace that could ultimately translate exceptionally well on screen. With its mix of ancient history, science and mystery, Excavation has a narrative that would surely appeal to a mainstream market: think National Treasure meets Indiana Jones! Potentially, Rollins€™ body of work could fill the gap of archaeology action films in the wake of both these franchises (neither of which seem to be producing another entry for fans at the moment) and this is something that a vast number of audiences would undoubtedly enjoy!

08. ORSON SCOTT CARDER€™S ENDER€™S GAME

The Plot: Set in Earth's future, an imperiled humanity has only just survived two wars with the insectoid alien race, the Formics (also known as the €˜Buggers€™). Anticipating a third invasion, an international fleet of warriors run a school in search of future fleet commanders and train these youngsters up. The world's most talented children, including protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are brought to the school at a very young age, where they begin intense training. The teachers introduce them to the arts of war through a series of increasingly difficult games, including those undertaken in zero gravity conditions in the Battle Room. It is here where Ender's tactical genius will be revealed€ Why?: Ok, so news broke at the end of April that the film version of this sci-fi novel may finally be moving into pre-production, with Gavin Hood (of X-Men Origins: Wolverine fame) attached to direct at Summit Entertainment, the studio behind Twilight. The role of Ender Wiggin, the main protagonist, would provide a meaty action hero part for a young actor and the further books in the series would allow them to really grow and develop. There€™s enough violence to keep teen audiences engrossed, whilst the potential for political allegory could prove entertaining for older sci fi fans. Essentially, Ender€™s Game is a brilliant source for fictionalised, fantastical worlds, a race of hideous alien villains and an action hero that could prove as cool as Han Solo or Rick Deckard (sheer coincidence they€™re both Harrison Ford!!)€

07. ISAAC ASIMOV€™S THE CAVES OF STEEL

The Plot: Set three thousand years in the future, humans live in completely enclosed underground cities on Earth, whilst their robot servants work in various mines and farms in the open country. The Spacers (also humans) live in outer space and other planets outside the Solar System. In this futuristic world, people have 350-year life spans and are free from disease. So when Roj Sarton is killed in a Spacer colony just outside New York City, Elijah Baley €“ a human detective from New York €“ is assigned to investigate the case. Much to Baley's annoyance, the Spacers insist that he partner up with an android, R. Daneel Olivaw, on the case. Can human and android put aside their differences to discover the murderer and maybe even become friends in the process? Why?: The 1964 TV adaptation and Radio 4 dramatisation both proved very popular, which makes it a mystery why a big screen version has never seen the light of day. The interesting blend of a science fiction/detective narrative means that a film version could slot nicely between these two genres and be made in a distinct future noir style that would appeal to a variety of audiences. The novel€™s plot would also open up a wide fantasy world that could include some exceptional special effects if made on a sizeable budget. The fantasy element would draw in another target audience, which means a film adaptation could easily appeal to a much wider group of viewers than just those interested in sci fi. The murder mystery central to the plot would make a film that is rife with tension and suspense, whilst the futuristic setting and advances in technology within the fictional worlds would ensure that it was also action-packed and exciting. It seems a sure-fired winner, which coupled with the success of the previous small adaptations, makes it strange that this novel hasn€™t been seen on the big screen yet.

06. EOIN COLFER€™S ARTEMIS FOWL

The Plot: Artemis Fowl is a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind! Due to his father€™s mix up with the Russian Mafia, the family have all but lost their billionaire fortune entirely. Now, Artemis is forced to conjure up a scheme ingenious enough to regain the lost money and decides to steal gold from the fairy people... He then manages to trick a sprite into showing him a copy of €˜The Book€™, a sacred scripture that all fairies must abide by. With information from €˜The Book€™, Artemis manages to kidnap Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon police squad, ransoming her for a fortune in fairy gold€ Why?: Colfer€™s epic series does become slightly convoluted and bizarre as it progresses, but the fact remains that rumours of a big screen version of this first episode have been buzzing for years. Why it hasn€™t yet been made is something quite incomprehensible €“ especially as the series of books have been so popular €“ but perhaps it is the fact that follow-up projects may be more difficult to achieve that€™s halting this one. Either way, this is a very filmable book that if adapted well and made into a big, blockbuster film would surely appeal to the core audience demographic with its teen protagonist. Perhaps the screen version is still a possibility, if it can crawl out of developmental hell€

05. HOMER€™S THE ODYSSEY

The Plot: The epic poem of Odysseus€™s voyage home begins ten years after the capture of Troy, in Ithaca, his homeland. In his palace a large group of suitors have arrived and taken up residence to court Penelope, his wife. She, however, does not wish to remarry and makes them wait while her son Telemachus searches for just cause and a good reason to banish them from their home. All the while, Antinous plots to kill Telemachus and remove his opposition in the palace. Odysseus and his men struggle on with their voyage, encountering a number of mythical villains €“ including a cyclops, nymphs, the wrath of Poseidon and the possessive Calypso €“ each throwing a number of oppositions in the way of his journey home. Will Odysseus be able to return before his son is killed and his wife is forced to choose a suitor? Why?: Ok, so this is a slight cheat in that it has already been adapted for the small screen on a number of occasions, but a big screen, all-out adaptation has yet to be attempted (although IMDb does have a rather ambiguous entry for a film called The Odyssey, but it€™s characterised as €˜in development€™ and doesn€™t even have a potential year of release assigned to it). Certainly the original plan at Warner Bros for The Odyssey was for it to be a spin-off sequel to the 2004 epic Troy with Sean Bean carrying over as Odysseus along with director Wolfgang Petersen but when that movie failed to reach it's domestic budget in the U.S. ($133 million from a $175 million budget - though it managed almost $500 million worldwide) those plans were scrapped. There was also a bizarre story in October 2008 that Brad Pitt was teaming up with director George Miller to make an Odyssey movie.... set in Space. Smarter heads seemingly prevailed. This epic tale would certainly suit the current trend of splitting source material into multiple films to increase revenue, plus recent similar historical adventures (such as Clash of the Titans) have proved popular at the box office, even if they haven€™t been considered critical successes. In a time of economic strife and the all too real possibility of terrorist attacks in most countries, an historical epic provides action in a way that is accessible to a wide audience and is not likely to cause offence. It also hits the spot for action junkies, historical drama fans and those who enjoy mythology or fantasy. It€™s also a classic tale that should appeal to a wide array of viewers and if made on a grand scale, could be the highlight of the blockbuster season.

04. MITCH ALBON€™S THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN

The Plot: On his 83rd birthday, Eddie, a war veteran and weary maintenance worker at the Ruby Pier amusement park, dies while trying to save a girl who is sitting under a falling ride. When he awakens in the afterlife he encounters five people with ties to his earthly existence, who help him to understand the true meaning of his life€ Why?: This is another cheat, in that a made for TV movie was produced based on this novel, but a story with such power deserves a full theatrical release and the backing of a major studio to turn it into a film that€™s as memorable and touching as classics like It€™s a Wonderful Life. It€™s a truly poignant tale that has €˜Oscar winner€™ written all over it! With a cast of top-notch actors €“ perhaps somebody who€™s got a real lovable personality on screen for the title role of Eddie €“ it could be the source for a number of outstanding performances. The book is a very emotional read (especially if read after someone you love has died €“ just like I did! Thanks Dad!) and could easily be turned into a heartfelt and tender film that would be perfect for the nostalgic and sentimental Christmas period in particular. By all accounts the television film produced by the Hallmark channel was very good, but I can€™t help but feel that a novel as outstanding as this deserves a much bigger production.

03. AGATHA CHRISTIE€™S AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

The Plot: Ten people are invited for a weekend to the island of Mr U. N. Own and his wife, but neither appears to actually be present on the island. At dinner a record is played, accusing all of the guests of murder. Each guest begins to be murdered, leaving those left alive second guessing who the killer may be€and just who Mr. U. N. Own and his wife really are€ Why?: Virtually all of Agatha Christie€™s works have been adapted into some sort of visual media and indeed there is a very little-known 1945 film based on this story. However, it€™s been a long time since an Agatha Christie adaptation has been released to a cinema audience and the only creations from the author that we see are the indelible small screen productions of Poirot or Miss Marple. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, big screen versions of Christie€™s tales were box office hits. Murder mysteries remain a popular genre on the small screen, as well as when they occasionally appear in a theatrical release - Gosford Park, for example. An updated adaptation of And Then There Were None would be an opportunity to gather an all-star cast and produce a big budget, extravagant epic. The extremely clever and convoluted mystery at the heart of the novel would translate well on the screen and offer audiences something a little different from the most recognised crime writer of the 20th century. The fact that Poirot and Miss Marple are no where to be seen would also help a screen version of this novel to appeal to a wider (and probably younger) audience.

02. CLIVE BARKER€™S COLDHEART CANYON

The Plot: The story begins in Romania during the 1920s, where poverty and disease run rampant. American talent agent Willem Zeffer and the Romanian-born actress he represents, Katya Lupi, have travelled there in order to visit Katya's relatives. Zeffer visits an old medieval castle which has been turned into a monastery and decides to buy a unique work of art, a series of sculpted and painted tiles depicting, in a grotesque and obscene manner, the local legend of a Count who was cursed to haunt the nearby wilderness for all eternity. The second part of the story begins in the year 2000, with failing movie star Todd Pickett deciding to undergo plastic surgery in order to make himself look younger and engineer a comeback. Something goes wrong during the surgery, and Todd, now disfigured, is forced to go into hiding during his recovery. His agent selects Katya Lupi's former home, an abandoned house in Coldheart Canyon, a secluded area outside Hollywood, where Todd soon discovers that Katya and her "subjects" still hold court€ Why?: A perverse Hollywood-set ghost story would be created from Barker€™s a novel: an opportunity to combine gothic fantasy with horror, all wrapped in the exaggerated glamour of the film industry. As the scribe behind such films as Hellraiser (1987, which he also directed) and the source material behind the Candyman films, Coldheart Canyon is an extremely filmable novel. It€™s rather grand in scale, but a solid adaptation (perhaps by the author himself) could prove extremely popular, particularly in today€™s age of dark humour and drama€™s popularity. The novel explores the darker sides of sex, madness, courage and generosity and would be an excellent source for a psychologically fuelled horror/thriller. The role of Todd is substantial and could call for a middle-aged actor with unique talents, such as Johnny Deep, whilst the beautiful Katya €“ an ageless goddess, of sorts €“ could be played by an actress with gumption and the possibility of a distinct Eastern European look (perhaps Megan Fox could pull it off?). Either way, the book is gripping and complex, suggesting a deep and visually striking film could be produced from it.

01. MARY MCNAMARA OSCAR SEASON

The Plot: Juliette Greyson is the director of public relations at the luxurious Pinnacle Hotel. She€™s tirelessly preparing for another manic Oscar season (the month between the nominations announcement and the awards ceremony) when someone murders her ex-husband, the nominated screenwriter Josh Singer. With a reporter and a young starlet nominated for best actress already dead, Greyson and the cancer-ridden superstar Michael O'Connor €“ whom she is looking after between hotel duties €“ join forces to uncover the mastermind behind what the media is calling an Oscar curse€ Why?: It€™s essentially a story about a conspiracy surrounding the Academy Awards €“ what could be turned into a more satirical and critiquing film on Hollywood!? The characters are very well developed and they would translate extremely well on to the big screen. An actress with clout €“ perhaps someone along the lines of Hilary Swank €“ could tackle the lead role of Juliette, a woman with spunk and determination. It would also be a fantastic opportunity for some amusing cameos from some of the industry€™s biggest stars €“ people such as Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise are all name-dropped! The plot is a perfect mix of mystery, suspense, action and drama, a sure-fired recipe for success on screen. A more tongue-in-cheek approach to the narrative could also be adopted, generating more comedy and satire within a film version. As so many of us are in love with the idea of Hollywood and the endless cycle of false images of glamour, an adaptation of this novel would be an exciting watch, as the layers of falsity are stripped away from our dreamlike impressions of the industry to reveal a far shadier and sordid underworld! McNamara has also penned a follow up novel called The Starlet, which also has the same central character: perhaps a series of films could be born? This list is obviously very personal to me, and my personal taste in books! I€™m sure that you all have something you€™d like to be adapted for the big screen, so let us know by leaving a comment below €“ we€™d love to hear!

Create Content and Get Paid


 
Posted On: 
Contributor

Stuart Cummins hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.