While I usually go into a book-to-film adaptation with the caveat that “the book is better,” I’m always hopeful that the movie will do the book justice.
Here are the adaptations I managed to see this year:
Big Little Lies
Book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
How I Watched: HBO On Demand
- While I didn’t actually read this book, I read two other books by Moriarty, so I felt like I knew this would be another mystery thriller with lots of characters and storylines intertwining. This mini-series was fantastic – I mean, the cast alone knocked my socks off: Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Zoë Kravitz, just to name a few. Each episode, I thought a different person was the killer and the victim! It kept me guessing all the way to the end. I highly recommend this one (but for grown-ups! Even though Zoe and Shailene are in this one, this is NOT a YA series).
Book: The Circle by Dave Eggers
How I Watched: Amazon Prime, Kindle Fire
- I read the book and watched the movie shortly after. I was a little disappointed by the film, because I was hoping it would more clearly illustrate the dangers of social media giants and privacy rights. The movie wasn’t quite creepy enough or as satirical as the book. The book brings up important questions that we’ll have to answer as we become more and more reliant on technology: Where do you draw the line between keeping people safe and allowing people to remain free? Where do you draw the line between endless amounts of data and being able to quantify it and really use it for good? Where do you draw the line between public and private? The movie didn’t feel quite as thought-provoking, and I’m not sure why that was.
Book: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
How I Watched: HBO
- This movie stays pretty true to the book. It even figured out how to film conversations where the characters aren’t even in the same room in interesting and artsy ways. I even liked how the film cut out a part that I found unnecessary in the book! I’d tell you what part it is, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. So, if you liked the book, I think you’ll like the movie, too.
Crazy Rich Asians
Book: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
How I Watched: In the movie theater *gasp* with my husband!
- Again, I haven’t read the book yet, but the movie was so delightful that I plan on reading this series in the future. The movie was just so cute and highly enjoyable. I loved Henry Golding as Nick Young – I can’t wait to see him in more movies. It’s hard to believe that this was his first movie. I also loved seeing Michelle Yeoh from the Memoirs of a Geisha movie. She’s so stunning and regal in this film. What surprised me the most about this film was the music. There were well-known pop songs, but some parts were sung in Chinese, among other languages. I just love multicultural inclusiveness! In one scene, a bride walked down the most dreamy aisle to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and it was gorgeous. I highly recommend this film and hope there will be a sequel.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Book: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
How I Watched: Netflix (thanks to my sister)
- Ok, so I’ve been a fan of this series for a long time – even creating my own casting suggestions way back in 2015. I also gushed about the books here. And here. So I was bummed when the movie skipped the theaters and went to Netflix because I don’t have Netflix! Frustrating! Luckily, my sister has an account, so I finally got to watch the movie in September. The film was not as light and bubbly as the books. Lara Jean was more serious than I imagined her, and she didn’t do near enough baking. But the actor chosen to play Peter Kavinsky did a better job than I expected, and I adored John Corbett as the dad. So, I was personally a tiny bit disappointed, but also happy that so many other people loved it.
Book: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
How I Watched: HBO On Demand
- I read this book years ago, because like many others, I read Gone Girl and had to read all of Gillian Flynn’s other novels, too. Flynn is a smart, crazy writer, so if her name is attached to a project, you know you’re in for quality work with twists and darkness. The mini-series was just as creepy and chilling as I remembered, but felt much too slow and disjointed. I just wanted everything to happen faster. Since I’d read the story so many years ago, I actually couldn’t remember “whodunit,” so the series was just as suspenseful for me as the first time around.
Did you see any of these adaptations? What were your thoughts?
I’m not ready to give up on yesterday’s Jenny Han love-fest! Today, I want to talk about the future To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before movie. Yes, there’s going to be a movie!
Two years ago, I posted that the book had been optioned for film by Overbrook Entertainment (Will Smith’s production company). I even offered up some casting suggestions, in which I did my best to come up with actresses who had Korean backgrounds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anyone in casting made note of my suggestions!
Here’s what I’ve been able to learn about the film:
- Wikipedia states that filming began on July 6, 2017. The director of the film is Susan Johnson and Sofia Alvarez wrote the screenplay. The film was shot in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. Production wrapped up August 4, 2017 (which seems really short! Only a month to shoot? Is that normal?).
- Lana Condor, a twenty-year old actress adopted from Vietnam who has already acted in X-Men: Apocalypse, will play the lead role of Lara Jean Covey. In this article by NBC News, she explains how she remembers Jenny Han “telling me how easily whitewashed this movie could have been…Because the beautiful thing is that Lara Jean is not written as a stereotypical Asian character. She’s just the girl-next-door. And it’d be easy for Hollywood to cast white girls to play the Covey sisters.” Janel Parrish of Pretty Little Liars will play Lara Jean’s big sister Margot, and Anna Cathcart from Odd Squad will play younger sister, Kitty. Han was pleased with the casting choices, posting, “That is truly groundbreaking. I haven’t seen Asian American women centered on the screen since Joy Luck Club, which was nearly 25 years ago.”
- Visit this EW.com link to see Jenny Han’s pictures from when she visited the TATBILB set. Han sure looks like she had a great time, so that makes me hopeful about the finished product.
- So who was cast to play Peter Kavinsky? Josh? Lara Jean’s dad? Check out the full cast and crew from this IMDB link. Be sure to check out a few pictures from the film, too.
- I’m a bit underwhelmed by the actor chosen to play Peter. I guess I pictured him a bit more all-American boy – like a blonde hair, blue-eyed, big goofy athletic type.
- I’m super excited about who will play Lara Jean’s dad, though: John Corbett! I always enjoyed him in Raising Helen, Sex in the City, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He’s got a good voice and I think he’ll make a good “dad.”
- There is not a release date yet for this movie (correct me if I’m wrong), but I sure am looking forward to it.
Will you be looking forward to seeing To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before on the big screen?
Jandy Nelson’s Young Adult novel I’ll Give You the Sun is just the sort of book that would be great as a movie. It offers both a male and female teenage lead, a cute British love interest, an eccentric mother, a grumpy tortured artist, a ghost grandma, plus a whole lot of teen angst and drama. Read this post to hear me gush about the novel some more. Hollywood is already buzzing about this movie. As of yet, a Gossip Girl writer and two producers from If I Stay are signed on to the project.
In summary, the novel focuses on twins Noah and Jude as they navigate their early teenage years dealing with sexuality, sex, love, their futures, and their parents’ possible divorce. Jude is beautiful and popular. She’s daring and can surf as well as any of the boys. She fights with her mother about how she dresses and parties, yet strives for her mother’s love and attention. Noah is the weird one. He is a loner and sees the world as works of art. He wants to attend a prestigious arts school. He is also questioning his sexuality, which has him worried because he thinks his macho, sports-loving dad won’t understand. An unexpected turn of events throws their world into turmoil. Suddenly, Jude is the loner, trapped in her guilt and grief, while Noah becomes the daring, social butterfly and stops painting. Can a ghost grandma, tortured artist, and British bad boy get the twins back on track with their lives?
Would you go see this film?
~ Visit the Dream Cast page to see more of my book to film casting ideas.
Entry #20 – Wish list: What books are on your current wish list to read next?
I’m sure you’ve all experienced this feeling too: there’s just never enough time to read everything I want to read! While I think I read quite a bit, the list of books I want to read just keeps getting longer and longer. Here are the eight books I’m hoping to read in the near future:
- The Fault in Our Stars
- The Monuments Men
- Ender’s Game
- If I Stay
- The Spectacular Now
- Under the Never Sky
My wish list this summer was based on a post a librarian friend of mine shared on facebook: 14 Books to Read before They Become Movies. I tried my best to tackle the BuzzFeed list. Unfortunately, these were super popular books, so I wasn’t always able to get my hands on them at the library. I only made my way through five of the books on the list! I’ve been on the waiting list for The Monuments Men for several months. The movie has already opened and I haven’t read the book. Five of the books on the list are on my current wish list. I picked up If I Stay at the Half Price Bookstore recently, so hopefully I’ll be able to cross that one off my list soon. The 14 Books list has now been updated to 16 Books to Read before They Become Movies. I’ve read six of the books on this list, but the lists overlap. How am I supposed to read all the books I want to read when there are so many good books being published all the time?! Maybe Joseph Joubert had it right when he said, “The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”
What books are on your reading wish list?