Read it before you see it 2021: Part 3

Hayley breaks down the movies and TV series based on books due to hit screens in the coming months.

Black Widow

Black Widow

Fourteen months after it was originally set for release, Marvel’s already long overdue Black Widow movie is finally arriving. The studio’s first female superhero made her debut a decade ago in Iron Man 2, and is only just getting her own solo movie, now that she’s – spoiler, but we’ve all seen Endgame right? – dead. Does it feel a bit like an afterthought? Maybe. Will I be seeing it regardless? Absolutely. The movie uncovers Natasha Romanoff's activity between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and doesn’t seem to be based on any particular comic from the Marvel catalogue, but you can read further into the character in Nathan Edmondson’s Black Widow series.

The Last Letter From Your Lover

The Last Letter From your Lover

Fans of Me Before You will be happy to know that another Jojo Moyes romance has been plucked for adaptation, this time by Netflix. And just like her previous adaptation, The Last Letter From Your Lover will undoubtedly get the tears flowing, focusing on two different love stories intertwining the 1960s and the present. On the French Riviera in 1965, Shailene Woodley stars as an unhappily married woman engaging in a passionate affair, while Felicity Jones, in current-day London, plays a journalist who finds the love letters shared between the couple, and becomes involved in her own romance with an archivist. Fetch the tissues and snuggle up on the couch, this is going to be a cozy one.

Fear Street trilogy

Betrayal

Beloved author R. L. Stine has been horrifying children for decades, and now his YA series Fear Street is getting the Netflix treatment. In three separate movies releasing in three consecutive weeks, this trilogy unfolds the history of Shadyside, a town plagued by an ancient evil, responsible for gruesome murders spanning across centuries. Each film takes place in a different year, starting in 1994 and rewinding to 1978, then 1666, tracing the origin of Shadyside’s curse. You won’t find horror that’s been watered-down for kids though – the series is rated R, fully embracing the gore that was ramped up by Stine for a teenage readership.

The Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love

Originally screened by the BBC in the UK, The Pursuit of Love will soon come to Amazon Prime Video, brought to life by British national treasure Emily Mortimer in her directorial debut (she also writes and stars). Set in England between the first and second World Wars, the story is reportedly a semi-autobiographical profile of Mitford's own family, following the adventures of Linda Radlett and her cousin and best friend Fanny as they navigate the world of love in 1920s aristocracy. Starring Lily James, Emily Beecham, Dominic West and Andrew Scott, this short series of three episodes looks like a lavish romp, heartfelt and romantic but also a ton of fun.

Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers

With audiences loving Big Little Lies so much they managed to grant it an off-book second season, an adaptation of another twisty Liane Moriarty novel was inevitable. Showrunner David E. Kelley returns alongside Nicole Kidman (the pair also collaborated on last year's The Undoing), who stars as the enigmatic host of a luxurious but unorthodox wellness retreat, bringing together nine stressed-out city-dwellers who end up getting more than they bargained for. The series boasts an impressive cast alongside Kidman, with Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Regina Hall and Samara Weaving also joining your latest TV addiction.

Dune

Dune

It was only a matter of time before Hollywood decided to take another stab at Frank Herbert’s gargantuan science fiction classic Dune, after the beautiful disaster that was the 1984 flop helmed by David Lynch. It’s something of a passion project for director Denis Villeneuve, whose sci-fi cred has been boosted with his two previous critical darlings, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. There isn’t really a concise way to describe the vast plot, so just know that it’s a political space opera involving a precious spice, feuding houses, massive sandworms and Timothée Chalamet. This year’s release covers just half of the source material, with the latter half hinging on its success.

Foundation

Foundation

As if one sci-fi juggernaut wasn’t enough, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation is also making its way to screens, for the first ever time. The adaptation rights have been tossed around from studio to studio since the late 90s, with intentions to translate it to both film and TV, eventually landing in the newly-minted hands of Apple TV+ and the screenwriter of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, David S. Goyer. The plot would have huge influence on Star Wars, centring on a man who gathers the greatest minds of the Galactic Empire to preserve them from the collapse he sees in its future. With a broad, diverse cast and a slick, cinematic look, the series is sure to please both sci-fi nerds and fans of prestige TV.

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