2012 is turning out to be a huge year for movie adaptations of amazing books! The first half of the year saw the release of the movie version of contemporary favorite The Hunger Games, and this fall and winter will see the release of film adaptations to seven really great books — although I must admit I have read only five of them. Read on for trailers, release dates, casting info, and my thoughts!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, book by Stephen Chbosky
Release date: Sept. 14
Director: Stephen Chbosky
- Charlie: Logan Lerman
- Sam: Emma Watson
- Patrick: Ezra Miller
My thoughts: I know I’m not alone in saying that this coming-of-age novel was one of my favorite books in high school. That said, I have mixed feelings about the film; I’m a little apprehensive because it is so rare that a movie lives up to a great book, in my eyes, but I think the trailer looks great! It really captures Sam and Patrick’s wild lust for life, but also their brokenness. And how fantastic is Patrick?! He looks perfect for the role, and I’m crazy about him even after just a two-minute trailer. Emma Watson isn’t how I imagined Sam, but I think she’ll do a good job; I just hope she can pull of the American accent!
Anna Karenina, book by Leo Tolstoy
Release date: Nov. 9
Director: Joe Wright
- Anna Karenina: Keira Knightley
- Alexei Karenin: Jude Law
- Count Vronsky: Aaron Johnson
My thoughts: Setting the entire film inside a theater is an interesting concept, and I’m interested to see how that will play out. I’m also curious to see how Levin’s storyline will fit into the movie; it’s such a long book to convert into a two-and-a-half-hour film that I wonder how Wright will express both stories. One thing is for certain, though; the cinematography is gorgeous!
Life of Pi, book by Yann Martel
Release date: Nov. 21
Director: Ang Lee
- Pi Patel: Suraj Sharma
My thoughts: What a visually stunning trailer! I wish some of the CGI was more realistic, but I really like the dreamy, surreal setting, and I think it fits well with the way the book is written. I’m interested to see how the film will turn out, since so much of the story is internal to Pi. He’s stranded in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with no one to talk to but a tiger and himself, so it will be interested to see how the plot/internal narration of the book will be handled on-screen.
Les Miserables, book by Victor Hugo
Release date: Dec. 14
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: (I haven’t read this book or seen the play, so I don’t know which are the most major characters; I’m just listing the top five billed on IMDB)
- Fantine: Anne Hathaway
- Cosette: Amanda Seyfried
- Javert: Russel Crowe
- Jean Valjean: Hugh Jackman
- Madame Thenardier: Helena Bonham Carter
My thoughts: Not being familiar with the story, I don’t really know enough to speculate about this particular movie. All I can really say is that the music is beautiful and that the cast list is impressive!
The Hobbit, book by J.R.R Tolkien
Release date: Dec. 14
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: (Once again, I haven’t read this book, so I’m listing a few characters I know from the LotR movies)
- Bilbo Baggins: Martin Freeman
- Frodo Baggins: Elijah Wood
- Gandalf: Ian McKellan
My thoughts: Again, I haven’t read the book, so I can’t make any predictions about how the film will hold up, but I did enjoy the LotR movies and will probably see this!
The Great Gatsby, book by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Release date: Dec. 25
Director: Baz Luhrmann
- Nick Carroway: Toby Maguire
- Jay Gatsby: Leonardo DiCaprio
- Daisy: Carey Mulligan
- Tom Buchanon: Joel Edgerton
My thoughts: I’m pretty happy with the casting; Leo is the perfect choice for Gatsby, and I think Toby Maguire will do well as Nick. I know there’s some controversy about Toby in the role, but I think it’s actually a really good fit. Nick is kind of bland and doesn’t really do anything but hang around and observe things; who better to play him than Toby Maguire, a kind of bland, guy-next-door actor? But let’s move on so I can talk about how crazy opulent and extravagant everything is! Because, whoa, Baz Luhrmann sure knows how to film a dazzling party! I think we’ll really get a feel for the excess of the era, but I’m a little concerned about how prevalent the partying might be. The Great Gatsby is such a quiet, subtle book, and I wonder how well that will translate to film, especially when the majority of the trailer involves girls swinging from chandeliers and dancing in cars. With all of that in mind, this is the adaptation I’m most looking forward to this winter.
On the Road, book by Jack Kerouac
Release date: TBA
Director: Walter Salles
- Sal Paradise: Sam Riley
- Dean Moriarty: Garrett Hedlund
- Marylou: Kristen Stewart
- Camille: Kirsten Dunst
My thoughts: I am somewhat less than excited for this one. Kristen Stewart seems like an odd choice of actress, and I’m not just saying that because her acting skills aren’t up to par; she’s such a teenybopper sensation that it seems strange to cast her in an adaptation of a Jack Kerouac novel. I’m a little in doubt as to whether most Twilight/Kristen Stewart fans are even aware of the Beat Generation. Maybe she was brought in to broaden the movie’s appeal? Another qualm I have with this adaptation is that I don’t think the best thing about the book will translate to the screen. What I love most about On the Road is the writing; it is full of beautiful, shiver-inducing sentences. I don’t need to physically see Sal wandering through the late-night streets of San Francisco when Kerouac’s words describing his thoughts are more powerful than I think any image could be. I probably won’t see this, but I’ll definitely be happy if some kids go to the movie to see Kristen Stewart and end up reading (and loving) On the Road because of it.
Cloud Atlas, book by David Mitchell
Release date: Oct. 26
Director: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski
Starring: (Again, I’m just going by top billed on IMDB)
- Dr. Henry Goose – Tom Hanks
- Robert Frobisher – Ben Wishaw
- Adam Ewing/Hae-Joo Im – Jim Sterguss
- Louisa Rey/Meronym – Halle Berry
- Alberto Grimaldi/Cannibal – Hugh Grant
My thoughts: I don’t really know anything about Clout Atlas, but this trailer has convinced me that I desperately need to read it. This looks totally odd and intriguing and I need to know the story!
What are your thoughts on these adaptations, based on their trailers or casts? Any upcoming book-to-movie adaptations I’m missing? (Please don’t tell me I left out The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2; that was 100% intentional.)