Hayley breaks down the movies and TV series based on books due to hit screens in the following months.
My Best Friend's Exorcism
Grady Hendrix has been killing the horror fiction scene since his debut Horrorstör in 2014, and he makes his way to the screen for the first time with an adaptation of his sophomore novel, My Best Friend’s Exorcism. Amiah Miller and Eighth Grade breakout Elsie Fisher star as 15-year-olds Gretchen and Abby, whose close friendship is tested after a night of lake swimming and ouija boards goes horribly wrong and Gretchen winds up needing an exorcism. Might as well add demonic possession to the list of things teenage girls have to deal with, right? This is sure to be a riot, chock full of cheesy ‘80s nostalgia, and showcasing the power of female friendship in conquering the devil himself.
Mr. Harrigan's Phone
It wouldn’t be a “Read It Before You See It” post without another Stephen King adaptation; this time it’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, based on the short story of the same name from his collection of four novellas, If It Bleeds. The film’s lead actors Jaeden Martell and Donald Sutherland are both returning for another crack at the king of horror, having respectively starred in 2017’s It and the 2004 miniseries Salem’s Lot. Martell plays Craig, a teen who befriends a reclusive billionaire, Sutherland’s Mr. Harrigan. When the older man dies, Craig begins to communicate with him through the smartphone he slipped in Harrigan’s pocket at the funeral. Not to be confused with Joe Hill's The Black Phone—that King family sure does love their supernatural phones.
The Good Nurse
Netflix continues to branch out from documentaries in their self-assigned quest to satiate true crime fanatics around the world, offering a dramatisation of the murders committed by nurse Charles Cullen with The Good Nurse. Eddie Redmayne stars as Cullen, estimated to have intravenously killed 400 victims at nine different hospitals during his sixteen years in the profession, while Jessica Chastain leads the film as a fellow nurse on his unit who fights to uncover the truth about what is happening to their patients. Save for Charles Graeber’s book, the case has been relatively absent from true crime media due to the mysteries that still remain around the extent of Cullen’s crimes, and the intent behind them.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Remaking a classic of the Hollywood golden age that won Best Picture at the 1930 Oscars is a pretty bold move, but Netflix is going there. The new version of Erich Maria Remarque’s literary powerhouse All Quiet on the Western Front will be their first all-German language film, following the popularity of their mind-bending thriller series Dark. The anti-war epic centres on a young German soldier who eagerly enlists to serve in the First World War, his patriotism disintegrating once he comes face to face with the horrors of the front line. Having already impressed at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, the film has been selected as Germany’s submission for the Best International Feature award at the 2023 Oscars.
It’s been a weird month for Harry Styles. Following his first foray into acting with 2017's Dunkirk, the pop star has two headlining roles this year, and while Don’t Worry Darling has been enveloped in a never-ending swirl of juicy promotional drama (you can’t convince me that he didn’t spit on Chris Pine), My Policeman has slipped away unscathed following a comparatively subdued premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Styles stars as that titular policeman, a young man who engages in a passionate and forbidden affair with a man in 1950s Brighton. Based on Bethan Roberts’s 2012 novel, the film also stars David Dawson and Emma Corrin in their first film role since stealing hearts as Princess Di in The Crown.
In 2019, The Assistant vaguely alluded to the harassment and abuse of Harvey Weinstein with a fictional tale of one Hollywood assistant’s experience working for an insidious unnamed producer; now, She Said is pulling no punches. Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan play Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, reporters at The New York Times who broke the story of Weinstein’s rampant sexual misconduct throughout the film industry. The exposé ran in 2017 and earned the co-writers a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, leading to She Said, a behind-the-scenes account of their investigation and the aftermath that became the catalyst for a worldwide movement: #MeToo. The film adaptation of the non-fiction book promises to be a tense journalistic thriller in the vein of Spotlight and All the President’s Men, this time forcing Hollywood to examine itself.
Bones and All
Reunited and it feels so good, Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet and director Luca Guadagnino are back together for Bones and All, adapted from the young adult novel by Camille DeAngelis. In a supporting role this time, Chalamet shares the screen with Taylor Russell, starring as Maren, a young woman living on the fringes of society who embarks on a journey to find her estranged mother, and discover the reason behind her unusual condition. Part road movie, part coming-of-age romance, part cannibal horror (yes, you read that right), the film combines the tenderness of CMBYN with the carnage of the director’s 2018 Suspiria remake. It predictably shocked and stunned audiences at the Venice Film Festival, and walked away with awards for both Guadagnino and Russell.
Despite being one of America’s biggest cult favourite fiction writers, Don DeLillo’s work has been rarely touched by Hollywood. His novel Cosmopolis was adapted by David Cronenberg in 2012, and a decade later, his most well-known title, White Noise, is coming to Netflix in the hands of Noah Baumbach, director of Marriage Story and Frances Ha. Baumbach’s usual suspects Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig lead the cast as Jack and Babette, husband and wife and parents to four children, a family disrupted by the “Airborne Toxic Event,” a chemical spill caused by a rail accident. Although the film retains the 1985 setting from the novel (and boy, does it look so heinously '80s), its themes of consumerism and conspiracies, portrayed with satirical wit, are all the more relevant in our current social and political climate.
Lady Chatterley's Lover
The censorship and banning of books is quite the hot topic today, so it seems only fitting that one of the most scandalous novels of its time, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, should get a new adaptation. Published in 1928, D. H. Lawrence’s ground-breaking work earned its initial ban by explicitly depicting an affair between an upper class woman and lower class man (gasp) and dropping more than a few f-bombs (double gasp), but has since been adapted for stage, screen and radio, both directly and loosely, over a dozen times, proving that censorship can’t hold a great story back. Emma Corrin, having a big year in period pieces, stars as Lady Constance Chatterley, opposite Jack O’Connell as her lover, the gamekeeper Oliver Mellors.