From the Book to the Big Screen

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).

The Circle

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.

 

Everything, Everything

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.

Sharp Objects

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?

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TATBILB: A Movie Update

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?

Always and Forever, a Jenny Han Fan

I finished up the third and final book in Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series last night. Han’s books are pure sugar – sweet and a bit addicting. I read through them quickly and eagerly. Like most of Han’s fans, I was glad to see the TATBILB story continued past the first book. The first book was originally a stand alone book, and then, surprise! There was a sequel for us to enjoy. Then, surprise! Another book in the series!

Always and Forever, Lara Jean picks up with our main character, high school senior Lara Jean Covey, adorably in love with Peter Kavinsky. They went through some drama in book two, but now they are back and better than ever. Lara Jean works on baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie, Kitty is Kitty (though she wasn’t featured as much in this book as I had wanted), Peter has an athletic scholarship to nearby UVA, Margot has a new boyfriend, and her dad is happily dating the next door neighbor. The conflict ensues as Lara Jean and Peter contemplate their futures. College is just around the corner – will they stay together? Should they stay together?

The entire book reminded me of that last week of high school, when you’re feeling both excited for the next chapter of your life, but also nostalgic. Everything feels like the last time you’ll do something, so you know you’re supposed to cherish it. The book felt like a long, drawn out goodbye. It seemed like Han was saying goodbye to these characters, too. While the ending was certainly left open to possibilities (how could it not when our main characters are 18 years old and about to head off to college?), I like that we can imagine the possibilities for ourselves.   

In a post from two years ago, I wrote that TATBILB was, “like a young adult romantic comedy. Han’s writing style is approachable and believable. You’ll smile as you read this book.” But it’s not so much about it being believable or relatable, but rather that it’s a bit fantastical. It’s more that we as readers (some of us, at least) love the idea of being the nerdy girl who is dating the most popular and handsome guy in school. He’s the guy everyone loves – his friends, his teammates, the teachers – and yet he is head over heels for you – the girl no one really saw or paid attention to before. And she didn’t even have to pretend to be cool or sexy or give up any of her nerdy obsessions. He actually likes her for her.

How refreshing.

I think that’s why I’ll continue to be a Jenny Han fan. TATBILB might be wrapped up with Always and Forever, Lara Jean, but I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing what Han will write next.

Any Jenny Han fans out there? What book of hers has been your favorite so far?

 

Casting To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

So you just finished reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and you’re wondering if there’s going to be a movie version of this adorable book? Well, according to a March 21, 2018, article on Variety.com, Netflix has acquired the rights to Awesomeness Films and Overbrook Entertainment’s film adaptation.

If you want to find out more about the film – like find out who will play Lara Jean and see some pictures from Jenny Han’s day on set – check out my post TATBILB: A Movie Update. If you want to see the dream cast I created in 2015, keep scrolling!

According to a blog post from October 2014 on If List, Jenny Han’s novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has been optioned for film by Overbrook Entertainment. Overbrook Entertainment is Will Smith’s production company. I wonder what drew him and his partner to this novel. It doesn’t seem like a big blockbuster opportunity like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, or even a stand-alone novel like The Fault in Our Stars. What do you think? Would To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before make a great movie?

Lara Jean Song Covey has been in love before…it’s just that none of her crushes have ever known about it – until now. Lara Jean spilled all of her feelings into love letters, sealed them, and hid them in a box. Somehow, those letters get mailed out and Lara Jean has to live with the consequences. When she finds out that one of the boys (who also happens to be her older sister’s ex) has feelings for her, she freaks out and pretends to be in a relationship with another one of her crushes. But Lara Jean is surprised when this fake relationship starts to turn into something more. Will Lara Jean trust in her feelings or let her insecurities get the best of her?

I thought this was a really cute book. It’s like a young adult romantic comedy. Han’s writing style is approachable and believable. You’ll smile as you read this book. When you’re finished reading this book, Lara Jean’s story continues in P.S. I Still Love You. And if you find that you’ve become a fan of Jenny Han’s writing, I’d also recommend the Burn for Burn trilogy, which she co-wrote with Siobhan Vivian.

Here are some of my casting suggestions in case Will needs some help!toalltheboys_dreamcast