Hayley breaks down the movies and TV series based on books due to hit screens in the following months.
In a sea of new Handmaid’s Tale-inspired dystopian fiction where women are aggressively oppressed for various reasons, Naomi Alderman’s The Power imagined the opposite — a world where teenage girls wield an electrifying force at their fingertips, and the patriarchy is suddenly upturned. After winning the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2017 and becoming one of the most buzzed-about dystopian novels, The Power is now coming to television, brought to you by Amazon Prime Video. Enhancing its feminine energy, the series boasts an all-female team of directors, writers and executive producers, and leading the broad ensemble cast is the always-amazing Toni Collette alongside John Leguizamo and Moana herself, Auli’i Cravalho.
One True Loves
Hot on the heels of Amazon's smash hit Daisy Jones & The Six series, another Taylor Jenkins Reid adaptation is heading our way, this one drawing from her early romantic material that came before The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo truly shot her into the literary stratosphere. One True Loves stars Phillipa Soo as Emma, a woman whose husband (Luke Bracey) disappears in a helicopter crash, presumed dead. Years later, she reunites and falls in love with her childhood best friend (Simu Liu), and after becoming engaged to him, receives news that her husband is still alive. You know where it goes from there — a Sophie's Choice between two hot guys — so this one is destined to be a cheesy, soapy, heart-warming tear-jerker.
The Last Thing He Told Me
Adaptations of best-selling mystery novels have slowed down of late, and The Last Thing He Told Me is here to pick up the slack. Chick-lit author Laura Dave’s pivot to the mystery genre was a pick for Reese Witherspoon’s book club, then, following in the footsteps of Little Fires Everywhere, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Daisy Jones and the Six, was also snagged by her production company for a screen adaptation. The Apple TV+ series makes a family out of Jennifer Garner, Angourie Rice and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, as Hannah and her reluctant step-daughter Bailey are forced together to uncover the truth when Hannah’s husband and Bailey’s father disappears, leaving a mysterious note behind — “Protect her.” A thrilling race for answers ensues.
Another contemporary mystery novel is making its way to the screen in April: Alexis Schaitkin’s Saint X, loosely inspired by the real-life disappearance of Natalee Holloway. The story takes place in the fictional Caribbean island of Saint X, where college-age Alison goes missing from a resort while vacationing with her parents and younger sister, Claire. Years later, the case remains unsolved, and Claire runs into one of the men who was an initial suspect, sending her on a new pursuit to find out what happened to her sister, and who Alison really was. This, however, is no fast-paced whodunnit: woven into the mystery of Alison’s disappearance is a tale of race, class and privilege against a backdrop of grief, and what it will do to a person.
Peter Pan & Wendy
Next up in Disney’s mission to remake every film they’ve ever made is Peter Pan (now with added “& Wendy”). J. M. Barrie’s magical tale has already been adapted multiple times since the 1953 cartoon, from Steven Spielberg's imagining of Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan in Hook, to the endlessly charming 2003 version, to the aptly-named mess Pan in 2015. Never to be deterred, the Mouse House is ignoring the oversaturation, enlisting a diverse young cast of newcomers to star opposite Jude Law's Captain Hook, and Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery at the helm. With this new rendition, Disney is likely aiming to fix the hugely stereotypical depiction of Native Americans from their original film, a cause I can get behind despite my qualms with remakes.
Negotiations to adapt Hugh Howey’s Wool have been churning since the first entry in the three-part Silo series was but a humble little self-published eBook in 2012. More than a decade later, it’s finally hitting screens, and in capable hands: the Apple TV+ series is written and created by Graham Yost (Justified), directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) and assembles a cast of Rebecca Ferguson, Tim Robbins, David Oyelowo, Rashida Jones and Common. Between this and The Power, dystopian stories are making quite the comeback from their over-exposure in the 2010s — the story follows a community of the last 10,000 people on Earth living inside a giant underground silo, told that the outside world is toxic, and anyone who dares to question their safety is met by deadly consequences.
Another post, another Stephen King adaptation. To be fair, this one does have some talent behind it — heading the film is Rob Savage, director of 2020’s excellent lockdown-Zoom-séance horror flick Host, while the respective writers of A Quiet Place and Black Swan penned the screenplay. Based on the short story of the same name from King’s 1978 collection Night Shift, The Boogeyman follows a grieving family who find themselves haunted by a terrifying entity that feeds on human suffering: a concept that was once original but now, 45 years later, feels like typical supernatural horror fodder. However, the film was originally planned to be released on US-based streaming service Hulu, but earned a theatrical run after test screenings gained positive feedback, so I may have to eat my words on this one.