7 Books that Would Make Killer Movies
I love a good movie adaptation, but it never seems that the books I love are turned into movies. For an adaptation to be good, the source material must also be good. These books are some of my all-time favorites, and I think they’d make for some pretty killer movies with the right director attached.
The Marriage Plot Directed by Ang Lee
Jeffrey Eugenides’ most recent novel (and my favorite book) about a doomed love triangle of brainy college students in the 80’s would fair well under the deft, character-driven hand that helmed contemporary cinematic classics like Brokeback Mountain and The Wedding Banquet. His films often center around repressed and hidden emotions, experience which would pair well with Leonard’s depression, Madeleine’s uncertainty, and Mitchell’s confused (and disappointed) heart.
A couple of years ago, just after the novel’s release, there was talk of Greg Mottola, director of movies like Superbad and Adventureland and shows like Arrested Development and Undeclared, taking on the adaptation, but as of now, the project is still on hiatus.
The Interestings Directed by Richard Linklater
Centered around six teenagers who meet at summer camp for the arts, Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings spans decades as the bounds of friendship are tested by money problems, career envy, legal troubles, and—most of all—years-old secrets. Such a sprawling novel deserves a director that understands how to capture and convey the subtleties of the small, incremental evolution that is growing up.
And yes, I know that Amazon made a pilot of The Interestings, which I loved and voted for to be brought to series, but I still think a nice three-hour movie might be a more fitting choice.
The Seas Directed by Terry Gilliam
Such a surreal novel requires a director with real vision and a unique cinematic voice. The director of awe-causing hallucinatory goodies like Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and Tideland seems a suitable choice. Always creating otherworldly yet oh so human atmospheres, Gilliam excels in making fantasy from emotional turmoil and persistent psychological distress. And I’m not quite sure how else to describe Samantha Hunt’s jarring yet beautiful tale of a despondent, lonely young woman in denial over her father’s death with a dying seaside town crumbling in the backdrop.
Talking to Girls about Duran Duran Directed by Sofia Coppola
The things I didn’t like about Coppola’s Marie Antoinette biopic—bright, brash colors and a thumping soundtrack comprised of New Wave and post-punk—are exactly why I think Coppola should tackle music journalist Rob Sheffield’s 2010 memoir about being a music-loving teenager in the 80’s. Suburban boredom. Surviving high school. Chasing girls. Long days spent cruising in a beat-up car vibing out to Bowie and hair metal. Each song a time machine to a memory.
The Girls Directed by Cary Fukunaga
Moving back and forth from present day mid-life and a fateful summer spent as one of the many girls in a Manson Family-esque cult, Emma Kline’s 2016 hit covers a lot of ground aesthetically and emotionally. Hazy, drug-laden communal living. B.O. and marijuana. Divorced moms and new step-dads. Guitar strings and bonfires. Bellbottoms and bottles of whiskey.
With Jane Eyre and season one of HBO’s True Detective Fukunaga proved he has the range to handle period pieces, jarring plot twists, and the crushing loss of innocence. Plus, he’s got the whole portraying a terrifying leader thing down that The Girls’ adaptation would need to really bring it to life. Did you see Idris Elba’s unnerving yet commanding portrayal of a child soldier commander in Beasts of No Nation?
Black Water Directed by David Fincher
The king of on-the-edge-of-your-seat sexy but dark thrillers would for sure deliver an interesting take on Joyce Carol Oates’ haunting novel about Kelly Kelleher, a naïve twenty-six-year-old who leaves a Fourth of July party with a distinguished, powerful Senator. One car ride stretched out over pages, a slow but taut burn, Fincher would bring Oates’ surreal nightmare about power, lust, and truth to unflinching life.
Ugly Man Directed by Harmony Korine
I don’t think Dennis Cooper would mind me calling his work raunchy, graphic, and delightfully depraved because it’s the rawness of his work that pulls us in to the page and keeps us there. But there’s also a lot of heart behind all that style. I would say the same about Korine’s work. There’s something about how both explore the sensationalism of brutality in their works that makes this seem like a dream movie adaptation pairing.
There’s no shortage of good books that would make for an excellent adaptation or two.