10 Books To Read Before They’re Movies

There are lots of great movies in development right now, or close to being released, but if you want to get the drop on your friends... here are 10 excellent books coming to a cinema near you soon...
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1. ‘It’s What I Do: A Photographers Life of War’ by Lynsey Addario.

Warner Bros. is teaming up with Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Lawrence to adapt this war photographer’s harrowing memoir. Addario’s book, published in 2015, tells the story of her life as a photojournalist before getting her break documenting life as a woman under the Taliban (a story which gained more prominence post 9/11). She subsequently reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, the Congo, and Libya. In 2011, she was one of the four journalists kidnapped while working in Libya by Gaddafi’s army; her driver killed, she was threatened with murder and rape. After her kidnap, she returned home and started a family but later faced criticism at being a mother and a war photographer.

Working Title were working on getting the rights for Reese Witherspoon. Darren Aronofsky wanted to direct Natalie Portman in it, while The Weinstein Company was bidding for George Clooney and Grant Heslov. Currently, Lawrence is the only actress attached.

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2. ‘The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon’ by David Grann.

This is a non-fiction book by US author David Grann. Written in 2009, it tells the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett. who disappeared in 1925 with his son, while looking for an ancient lost city in the Brazilian Pantanal. For decades after, explorers have been trying to find evidence of his party and this Lost City of Z. Over 100 people have perished or became unaccounted for while searching for the explorer. The mystery was unresolved for years until Grann became obsessed with the story and travelled to the Amazon jungle in 2004 to search for answers.

The film, directed by James Gray (The Immigrant, Blood Ties), will star Sons of Anarchy actor Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett, with Sienna Miller as his wife, and Robert Pattinson as fellow explorer Henry Costin. It also co-stars the new Spider-Man, Tom Holland, and Braveheart’s Angus Macfadyen

Originally, Gray was hired by Paramount Pictures and Plan B to write and direct the film, but it has been sat in development since 2009. The project went through numerous casting changes; first set to star Brad Pitt as Fawcett, also producing, but he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Benedict Cumberbatch later came on board for the role of the explorer, but also dropped out.

The film will have its world premiere as closing night film on October 15, 2016, at the New York Film Festival and will be released in the spring of 2017.

Buy on Amazon UK.
Buy from Amazon.

3. ‘Home is Burning’ by Dan Marshall.

New Line brought the rights to Dan Marshall’s novel earlier this year, with Miles Teller attached to star and Jonathan Levine directing. As well as acting, this will be Teller’s second producing effort after The Life and Times of the Stopwatch Gang. The novel recounts Marshall returning home to help out after his mother faced a cancer relapse and his father is diagnosed with ALS. Marshall, a recent college graduate, and his four colourful siblings form Team Terminal, as they help their parents battle their illnesses.

The memoir (referred to as the literary love child of Dave Eggers and David Sedaris), jokes about everything from the cruelty of ALS to the brutal side effects of his mother’s cancer treatments, with added sibling rivalry and deeply religious Mormon neighbours. Director Levine has dealt with the similar dark humour in his cancer comedy 50/50 and the author himself will be adapting the book for the screenplay.

Buy on Amazon UK.
Buy from Amazon.

4. ‘The Billionaire’s Vinegar’ by Benjamin Wallace.

Matthew McConaughey will star in this Sony Pictures drama about one of the world’s most infamous wine frauds. The films rights were sold in 2008 before it was even published, and the screenplay is currently being written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (creators of Chicago Fire and writers of 3:10 to Yuma and Wanted). The film will be produced by Todd Black, James Lassiter, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch, and Will Smith,who previously teamed up on The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds. The film was originally set to star Brad Pitt.

Wallace’s non-fiction novel investigates the story of a 1787 bottle Chateau Lafitte Bordeaux, which was auctioned at Christie’s in 1985 for $150,000. The bottle was presented as once being owned by Thomas Jefferson. The late publishers Malcolm Forbes paid $156,450 for the 1787 Lafite in the 1985 auction, a single-bottle auction record that remains unsurpassed, and US billionaire Bill Koch paid $311,804 for four other bottles, also supposedly once belonging to Jefferson. But, later, when demanding provenance, he could find no verification. Koch hired a private investigator to look into who had brought the wine to auction (played by McConaughey), the bottles were chemically tested and found to only date from 1962. Koch dedicated great time and expense into crusading against various wine frauds but only won back $12m back in damages. After the book was published Christie’s auctioneer Michael Broadbent was paid damages after he contested his portrayal. The title comes from the fact collectors will spend huge amounts of money for wine that they will never drink or open again.

live by night
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5. ‘Live by Night’ by Dennis Lehane.

Ben Affleck is set to write, direct and co-direct this crime movie based on Dennis Lehane’s 2012 novel. Set in the 1920’s and 1930’s, Joe Coughlin (Affleck) is the prodigal son of a Boston police captain (played by Brendan Gleeson) who moves to Florida to become a bootlegger, rum-runner, and a notorious gangster. Sienna Miller will play his love interest, joined by Zoe Saldana and Elle Fanning. Chris Messina, Chris Cooper, and Anthony Michael Hall are also set to star.

Live by Night is the second in a trilogy. The first, The Given Day, was set-up as a Sam Raimi vehicle for Columbia Pictures, but after the rights lapsed Warner Bros. brought the entire trilogy. Affleck, who brought Lehane’s Gone Baby Gone to the big screen, has been attached since 2012. His role in Batman v Superman delayed the film’s production for a whole year. Much like The Da Vinci Code, despite being the middle of the trilogy, Live by Night is best known by audiences, so it’s unknown if the first or third in the series will also be adapted. Delayed from an original 2015 release year, it will now arrive on 13 January 2017.

Buy from Amazon UK.
Buy from Amazon.

6. ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeleine L’Engle.

Disney announced in 2010 that they have retained the rights to the L’Engle’s classic 1963 novel, following the success of Alice in Wonderland. They hired Jeff Stockwell to write the screenplay for Cary Granat (Bridge to Terabithia), and in 2014 Frozen’s Jennifer Lee was announced as the new screenwriter with Ava Duvernay (Selma) directing.

The plot follows Meg Murry (12 Years a Slave’s Storm Reid), her young prodigious brother Charles, and her loyal friend Calvin, as they embark on an inter-dimensional journey across the universe, in search of Meg and Charles’ missing scientist father. Reese Witherspoon will play the celestial Mrs. Whatsit, who can read minds. Witherspoon is joined by Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey, as Mrs. Which and Mrs. Who, both celestial beings who transport the siblings through the universe by a tesseract. Despite the original character’s being caucasian, this adaptation will portray the Murry’s as mixed race and the Duvernay is seeking a non-white actor for the role of Calvin. Amy Adams and Kevin Hart are rumoured to be in talks for roles in the film.

The Californian director Duvernay was the first black female director to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars and is the first to make a movie with a $100m budget.

Buy from Amazon UK.
Buy from Amazon.

7. ‘Silence’ by Shusaku Endo.

Martin Scorsese’s latest project is an adaptation of Shusaku Enfo’s 1966 novel. The historical drama centres around two Jesuit Portugese Catholic Priests in 1639 (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver), who face violent persecution after they travel to Japan to spread the teachings of Christianity. They find the local Christian population has been driven underground and those found in public are forced to trample on a crudely carved image of Christ. Tadanobu Asano (47 Ronin) will play the priest’s translator and Liam Neeson their mentor.

The film is considered one of Scorsese’s passion projects and has been in development since 1991. In 2009 the project jumped off the ground with Daniel Day-Lewis, Benicio del Toro, and Gael García Bernal in negotiations to star. Scorsese was sued in 2012 over a breach of contract in regards to Silence after the film wasn’t produced. It wasn’t until 2013 that pre-production started on the film. The film is set to be released on 23 December.

Buy from Amazon UK.
Buy from Amazon.

8. ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers.

Writer-director James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) has adapted Dave Egger’s 2013 science fiction satirical novel for the big screen. It stars Tom Hanks (who recently starred in the adaptation of Egger’s A Hologram of a King) Emma Watson, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Patton Oswalt, and Bill Paxton.

Watson will play Mae Holland, a recent graduate who starts to work at The Circle. This tech company offers employees dorm-style housing and regular campus parties, but also insist they interact 100 times a day on social media. The company unifies each employee’s identities by linking all their social media and purchasing activities onto a universal operating system. This includes her sickly father’s (Paxton) medical records and insurance. Hanks is expected to star as one of the company’s ‘three wise men’ owners and John Boyega will play the mysterious rogue Kalden. The film is expected to be released next year.

Buy from Amazon UK.
Buy from Amazon.

9. ‘Tony and Susan’ by Austin Wright.

Tom Ford (A Single Man) is bringing Tony and Susan to the bring screen as Nocturnal Animals. Wright’s novel presents itself as a story-within-a-story. Susan Wright receives a manuscript for a novel called Nocturnal Animals from her ex-husband; a novel about a maths teacher called Tony who’s driving with his family (a family eerily similar to Susan’s own) to their summer house. Susan’s life starts to mirror the sadistic novel written and dedicated to her.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher will play the couple within the manuscript, while Amy Adams and Armie Hammer play their real life counterparts. Written by Ford and Wright, it also stars Ellie Bamber, Michael Sheen, Laura Linney, and Andrea Riseborough. The film has already won the Grand Jury Prize and the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. It is scheduled to be released on 18 November.

Buy from Amazon UK.
Buy from Amazon.

10. ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ by Ben Fountain.

Fountain’s novel, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, is the story of Billy Lynn, an Iraq veteran whose unit returns to the US as heroes but soon discover that weren’t expected to return. The novel centres around Lynn’s disillusionment with the public’s treatment of him and his squad as he travels on a victory tour across the country. Ang Lee is directing the big screen adaption, which stars newcomer Joe Alwyn as Billy alongside Kristen Stewart as his sister, Garrett Hedlund, Steve Martin, Vin Diesel, and Chris Tucker.

The Life of Pi director has shot the film in 4k and native 3D, at an accelerated rate of 120 frames per second, to make the image more crisp and realistic. The film will have its world premiere at the 54th New York Film Festival on 14 October 2016.

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