Books on Film

Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

If you’ve so far resisted reading even just one of author Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novels, now is probably the time to give in and give over to the twisted charms of any of Flynn’s three books and get sucked into her cleverly engineered worlds, especially since you’re about to be inundated with all sorts of material from the David Fincher-directed take on her most recent novel, “Gone Girl.” Fincher’s version of Gone Girl features an interesting and varied cast of talents (which is a nice way of saying that I’m not entirely sold on a few of his picks), including Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Missi Pyle, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Casey Wilson, Patrick Fugit, Scoot McNairy, and Carrie Coon, and it attempts to translate Flynn’s complicated story of a young wife (Pike) who goes missing and what that means for her embattled husband (Affleck). As is the case with all of Flynn’s works, it’s difficult to truly explain what the film is about without giving a whole mess of stuff away. It’s best to spout off a common-sounding storyline, and pair it up with the assurance that it’s only a tiny bit of a big, dark, winding, insane iceberg. Basically, Gone Girl sounds like a TV movie – and it’s not. This is pure Fincher territory. The new film also boasts a script from Flynn herself – one that the author has apparently already sliced and diced up into something new, making her old third act disappear right along […]

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Burial Rites

If you’ve ever lived in a city that has an active public transportation system, you may be able to sympathize with a growing issue I have been facing lately – the overwhelming and keen possibility that I am going to miss my subway or bus stop because I have my nose buried in a book so engrossing that I have significant, measureable trouble putting back in my bag when it’s time to move about like a normal person. Published back in September, “Burial Rites” is Aussie Hannah Kent’s first novel, a historically based tale of murder and mystery in isolated Iceland that may sound dry and wonky, but is one of the most enthralling novels I’ve read all year. Based entirely on my personal experiences reading it slack-jawed on the 6 train, it’s entirely unsurprising that Kent snapped up a hearty seven-figure deal from Little, Brown for the book (seven figures! That’s like movie money!) and that it’s now set to hit a movie theater near you with some big name talents attached.

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Bridget Jones

The clues were laid out way back in May, thanks to the release of both a new title and a first cover image from Brit chick lit author Helen Fielding’s upcoming “Bridget Jones: Man About the Boy.” The cover featured not only that head-scratching title (what boy, Bridget?) but also the first of apparently many dating tips from Bridget – this one advising “Do Not Text When Drunk” and reading, “You see, this is the trouble with the modern world. If it was the days of letter-writing, I would never even have started to find his address, a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope, a stamp, and gone outside at 11.30 p.m. to find a postbox. A text is gone at the brush of a fingertip, like a nuclear bomb or Exocet missile.” For fans of Fielding’s books and the accompanying two Renee Zellweger-starring films about her goofy, doofy, hilarious, and utterly nutty heroine, the news that Jones would be mad about a “boy” and worrying about text messages was worrying indeed. We were right to worry. A new article from the UK’s Sunday Times lays it plain – Bridget is indeed texting a “boy,” because the consistent romantic heroine from both the books and the films, Mark Darcy (played by Colin Firth in the films), is dead. Hilarious. The paper doesn’t mince words, leading off the article with a firm proclamation: “Mark Darcy is dead; Bridget Jones is a widow. The long-awaited third diary of the world’s most famous singleton […]

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Jessica Darling series

There are no vampires in Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series. There are no werewolves or half-angels or demons or talking owls or flying dragons. There’s high school, and then college, and then “real life.” There are teens that talk like teens, and parents who just don’t get it, and friends who might not be as lifelong as they seemed back in middle school. There is humor and wit and sharp observations. There are crushes and fumbled kisses. There is realism and relatability. And there is Jessica Darling herself – whipsmart and sarcastic and brilliant and very often lonely and confused. A real girl, a real girl with real problems. Even better, there are six entire books about her, and not one of them requires any sort of suspension of disbelief or an interest in cross-species love affairs. You want a fresh, funny YA heroine to make multiple movies about? Here’s one.

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Gillian Flynn

Bestselling author Gillian Flynn is a unique position – while she’s only penned three novels in her relatively short career (and, man, are all three of those novels damn good), all three of her books are currently in active movie development. Flynn could knock off her novel-writing career now and still be way ahead the curb, but let’s hope she doesn’t. If there’s anything both books and movies need right now, it’s truly thrilling works that rest on the shoulders of extremely complicated leading ladies. The three upcoming Flynn adaptations – Dark Places, Sharp Objects, and Gone Girl – are all coming to us from very different talent teams and studios, but there are plenty of common threads between each novel to make them just a wee bit confusing to readers and watchers (I’ve often gone searching for the Flynn book “Dark Objects” on the Internet, obviously to no avail). So what’s the difference between Gone Girl and Dark Places and Sharp Objects? We’ll tell you.

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Mortal Instruments

One of the most anticipated (and packed) panels during this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was the “Mortal Instruments on Page & Screen” which featured the author of The Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare, and the director of the upcoming The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones film, Harald Zwart, to expand on the process of bringing this beloved novel to life. Moderated by Los Angeles Times movie writer Nicole Sperling, Clare and Zwart explained the challenges and differences between writing a novel and creating a film, how they collaborated with one another, and what fans (and non-fans) can expect from the movie. Sperling began the panel by asking Clare about the process of turning her book into a film and Clare explained that the big question was, “Who do you sell your rights to?” And then, once those rights are sold, it becomes a process of letting go. Clare was shopping her book before the Twilight and The Hunger Games films had been released, so studios were mainly concerned with taking on a property that had a girl for the main character because it had not yet been proven that films with female heroines could become successful franchises.

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Alien and Prometheus Movie Books

Tired of hearing about Prometheus? If your answer is yes, consider moving on. If you’re still coming to grips with the film or if you’re a huge fan of the Alien universe, then read on, because we get our dirty little mitts on three books that will take you deeper into the movies than ever before. From Titan Books, Ridley Scott’s newest, Prometheus, gets a wonderful hardcover “The Art of the Film” treatment from author Mark Salisbury, while the original film is highlighted in the recently re-published The Book of Alien. Space Marines, form up, as the stars of James Cameron’s installment are highlighted in the re-published Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual.

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