As much as we love to complain about it, there is something magical about seeing a book you have read turned into a film. Suddenly the images that lived only in your head are alive in ways you never thought possible. Get an adaptation right and it’s so right (To Kill a Mockingbird, Atonement, Interview With the Vampire). Get it wrong and you try to forget the film version exists (Eragon, The Da Vinci Code). Here are some books that I believe should be made into (good) films. All of them have been talked about/in production/attached to a director at one point or another, but nothing ever happened from there. Here I give my reasons as to why they should be turned into films and who I pick to would star.
1.) The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, and The Sweet Far Thing) by Libba Bray
Plot: The three books revolve around 16 year old Gemma Doyle, a girl who often has visions that later come true. When she leaves her home in India to attend boarding school at Spence Academy in England, Gemma begins to learn about a secret society of women with similar visions to her own-and the powers that come with them. At Spence a magical world reveals itself to Gemma in a place called the Realms. There she and her friends Ann, Felicity, and Pippa can escape from the rules and structure of their own lives. Of course magic comes with a price. There are people who want to stop Gemma and there are dangers her powers bring. Plus she also has to navigate the intense politics of class and gender that come with the the 19th century. The series stretches across the girls’ loves, lives, and ever changing relationships with each other and the world around them.
Why it would make a good film: This series has everything that would make for a great film and I honestly don’t know why the books aren’t more popular. I was obsessed with them growing up. The Gemma Doyle trilogy has history, adventure, romance, and magic, but most importantly it is a story about strong females who challenge the society they were born into while remaining true to themselves and each other. The right director could do some seriously cool things with the magical world of the Realms, the creatures that inhabit it, and battles that take place there.
Dream cast: This is one film I would have a very hard time casting because I have such strong opinions on what the characters should look like. I don’t know who should play Gemma, but I have always imagined her a ginger the way she is on the book’s cover.
- I could see a younger Emilia Clarke as Felicity, Gemma’s blonde and haughty friend with a thirst for power. Plus we already know how good Clarke looks blonde.
- Jessica Brown Findlay as Pippa, described as the most beautiful of the four girls and the one who yearns for romance. (I am very proud of myself for thinking of this one.)
- Natalie Dormer as Mary Dowd, a very important character in the Order who we learn about in flashbacks (yeah I know I already cast two people from Game of Thrones in my movie and I don’t even watch the show).
- Suraj Sharma from Life of Pi could be a good Kartik, Gemma’s love interest who is also a member of another secret society for males who is sent to spy on Gemma and to prevent her from learning about her powers. I also don’t know very many Indian actors sadly so I’m sure there is some Bollywood star who is equally good for the part.
2.) Artemis Fowl Series by Eion Colfer
Plot: Artemis is a teenage genius who uses his intelligence for criminal activities. In the first novel of the 8 book series he uses his smarts to capture a fairy named Holly and uses her for ransom in order to restore his family’s fortune. As the series progresses the reader is brought deeper into the world of the Fairy People and the mind of young sometimes anti-hero Artemis.
Why it would make a good film: Three words: Science fiction, fantasy, and action. It reads like a magical Ocean’s Eleven or James Bond. There are heists, mysteries to solve, and bad guys to thwart. Artemis’ inventions combined with the Fairy technology could allow a director to really get inventive and have fun with the film. There is really no limit to what could be done with these books.Plus the characters are downright funny, there’s a little bit of romance, and the books a full of tons of awesome creatures from elves to centaurs to pixies.
- Young Asa Butterfield was born to play Artemis. He has the look, the emotional depth (see: Hugo), and personality that could definitely launch a franchise (I’m ignoring Ender’s Game here). Too bad he’s too old now. Not like that’s ever stopped a studio.
- Jason Statham as Butler, Artemis’ manservant, bodyguard, and loyal friend. Basically an awesome character who kicks butt. Easy choice.
- Danny Devito has not only the right look, but the right attitude and voice to play Mulch Diggums. (Just think Phil from Hercules.) Much is the kleptomaniac dwarf who is know for his powerful…flatulence. Come on, what 10 year old boy wouldn’t love that character?
3.) The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Plot: 13 year old Charlotte is crossing from England to America when she inadvertently stumbles across a mutiny plot. She must decide where her loyalties lie: with the charming but fearsome Captain Jaggery or the crew who does not respect or trust her because of her proper upbringing.
Why it would make a good film: I could not even tell you how many times I took this book out of my school’s library. It is another historically based story featuring a strong female heroine, but it is much different than the previously mentioned trilogy. Charlotte comes aboard the ship as a very sheltered young girl and has her eyes opened by her experiences on the ship. It is a story about choosing your own beliefs, growing up, and finding your strength. Plus there’s murder, adventure on the high seas, and discussions on race and gender. Who wouldn’t want to see that?
- Hailee Steinfeld as Charlotte. I haven’t actually seen her in anything, but I like her look and I feel like she would fit the part. Or Maisie Williams because she’s equal parts cute and fierce and has the British thing going for her.
- Ralph Finnes as Captain Jaggery. He is equal parts charming and cunning and would look damn fine in a Captain’s uniform.
- Dayo Okeniyi as Zachariah, an African sailor and Charlotte’s love interest. I mean just look at him. Plus we all know he can act as our second favorite District 11 tribute. We would have to forget that Charlotte is 13 in the book to make this relationship seem less creepy since he’s 25 in real life.
There are plenty of other books I would love to see made into films, but the three listed here all played major roles in my childhood. I loved them all and would love to see them gain the same popularity as other more recent series. Obviously the books should be read before the films come out. (If they ever do come out. Forget the films, just read the books any way.)