In classic Hollywood style, everything old is new again. They say the book is always better than the movie, but we’re of the mind that nothing’s better than experiencing your favorite stories first on the page and again on the big screen. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and check out these eleven books before their hotly anticipated adaptations arrive at a theater near you.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Gillian Flynn’s mega-bestseller Gone Girl was adapted into one of the most talked-about films of 2014, and now her second novel is getting the Hollywood treatment. If you thought Amy was an unreliable narrator, just wait until you meet Charlize Theron’s Libby . . .
Paper Towns by John Green
John Green’s second book to hit theaters is more mystery than tearjerker, but don’t rule out a repeat of the swoon-worthy scenes that made last summer’s The Fault in Our Stars so beloved.
Black Mass by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill
What happens when an infamous mobster spends years as a secret informant for the FBI? Drug dealing, racketeering, and murder—and that’s just the beginning. Starring Johnny Depp as the deliciously slimy Whitey Bulger, Black Mass is heavy on action and corruption.
Into Thin Air Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer’s been through the book-to-film process before (2007’s Into the Wild garnered substantial acclaim and award-season buzz), but this time, it’s personal. Into Thin Air details his presence on Mount Everest during the 1996 storm that left eight climbers dead and stranded several others. Adapted under the name Everest and starring Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley, and Jake Gyllenhaal, it promises to brings the harrowing disaster to life.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Stuck on Mars after a space mission gone awry, astronaut Mark Watney makes a desperate bid to survive despite near-impossible odds. The adaptation stars Matt Damon, who has some experience with stranded spacemen—he was in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar just last year. But don’t get the two tales confused: according to Damon himself, The Martian is “totally f****** different.”
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
A duo attempts to trek the Appalachian Trail in Bill Bryson’s hilarious memoir, meeting an assortment of hikers and black bears on the way. Robert Redford produces and stars; no word yet on who’s playing the bears.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
This adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s phenomenal bestseller stars Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan, Jeff Daniels, and, most importantly, Michael Fassbender as the enigmatic and divisive Apple co-founder who revolutionized life in the digital age.
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Acclaimed character actress Saoirse Ronan takes center stage as Eilis Lacey, a young woman who abandons small-town Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the anonymous shores of New York City. In Brooklyn, she finds a city in flux—a city where immigrants from Ireland and Poland live amongst Jewish and black communities—and just as she is beginning to fall in love with a young man, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her new life.
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
Call her Lili, and call this an Oscars shoo-in. Eddie Redmayne plays Lili Elbe, the first recorded person in history to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. If director Tom Hooper’s previous films The King’s Speech and Les Misérables are any indicators, this drama promises to be just as moving as its ink-and-paper counterpart.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Adapting a child narrator for the screen could make a screenwriter’s life hell—but the author herself penned the script in this case, so there’s hope that the book’s celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child will have the adaptation it deserves.
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
Based on the true events that inspired Moby Dick, Ron Howard’s latest project follows a sunken whale ship whose crew is stranded at sea for ninety days, in a story of incredible courage—and unthinkable sacrifice. Chris Hemsworth puts aside Thor to play a different kind of superhero: the ship’s captain who refuses to give up.
*Previously published on OfftheShelf.com