Read it before you see it – April and May 2021

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

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone

The endless search for the next huge young adult franchise continues, with Netflix placing their bets on Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. It’s a solid wager considering the in-built popularity and sheer breadth of the series, which spans an original trilogy, two spin-off duologies and two further standalone companion books. The plot treads familiar YA territory, centering on an orphaned young woman who discovers a power that could save her country in a war-torn world. But the vast fantasy setting inspired by Imperial Russia lends itself more to a teen version of Game of Thrones, another phenomenon that Hollywood is keen to replicate.

Shadow and Bone is streaming on Netflix from April 23rd.

Things Heard and Seen

All Things Cease to Appear

The latest horror-thriller on Netflix’s slate is adapted from Elizabeth Brundage’s novel All Things Cease to Appear. Newly-titled Things Heard and Seen, it stars Amanda Seyfried (fresh off her first Oscar nomination) and James Norton as a couple who relocate to upstate New York, where the sinister history of their new home intertwines with a darkness in their own marriage. While it does feature a supernatural element in its spooks, this is one of those thrillers where the scariest thing of all is the characters themselves, and their relationship with each other.

Things Heard and Seen comes to Netflix on April 29th.

Without Remorse

Without Remorse

Previously played by Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber in Jack Ryan films, Tom Clancy’s second biggest character, John Clark, is now getting his own film series, with Michael B. Jordan stepping into the lead role. Without Remorse details the origin story of the Navy SEAL, who seeks justice for the murder of his wife and uncovers an international conspiracy in the process. Like many films, it was snapped up by a streaming platform for a digital release in the wake of cinema closures, leaving Rainbow Six, the sequel that was originally planned by Paramount Studios, up in the air for now.

Without Remorse will be available on Amazon Prime Video from April 30th.

The Mosquito Coast

The Mosquito Coast

Justin Theroux leads the cast of this series based on his uncle’s novel, playing a role loosely based on his grandfather, in The Mosquito Coast. The plot has been reworked slightly to introduce a crime angle with tinges of Ozark and Breaking Bad, but still follows an eccentric inventor who uproots his family to Latin America. The book has been put to the screen once already, earning a 1986 film with Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren and River Phoenix - a more faithful adaptation than the new series, which can be seen as more of a prequel to the novel.

The Mosquito Coast will begin streaming on Apple TV+ from April 30th.

Jupiter's Legacy

Jupiter's Legacy

The reign of superhero media just won't let up, and with the popularity of shows like The Boys and Watchmen, we're getting more heroes on the small screen alongside the blockbuster films. The latest comic book to get the television treatment is Jupiter's Legacy, a direct adaptation of the series by Mark Millar, the man behind Kick-Ass and Kingsman. It follows a superhero family, the parents being essentially the Superman and Wonder Woman of their world, and the children who struggle to live up to their legacy. Millar likens the characters to The Incredibles, but with "nightmare" kids.

Jupiter's Legacy is landing on Netflix on May 7th.

The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window

The adaptation of A. J. Finn’s wildly successful novel has been plagued with problems, including the author being caught in numerous and extensive lies about his past (a wild story that is set to earn its own TV series, too). After a studio handover from Disney-owned 20th Century Fox, Netflix will finally release the film, which depicts an agoraphobic woman who suspects foul play in the apartment opposite hers. Despite an impressive cast and crew, The Woman in the Window looks more like a throwback to the campy, melodramatic mysteries-thrillers of the 90s, and I can’t wait for it.

The Woman in the Window is coming to Netflix on May 14th.

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Those Who Wish Me Dead

The only film on this list that you can see in an actual theatre, Those Who Wish Me Dead is proof that big studios like Warner Bros. do still take the occasional risk on smaller budget movies with zero franchise potential. Based on Michael Koryta’s novel of the same name, the story centres on a young murder witness who, alongside a survival expert, finds himself on the run from both a pair of twin assassins and a deadly forest fire in the Montana wilderness. Director Taylor Sheridan is no stranger to crime thrillers with a Western sensibility, having written the acclaimed films Sicario, Hell or High Water and Wind River, and directed the latter.

Those Who Wish Me Dead will hit theatres on May 14th.

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

Visionary film director Barry Jenkins is switching to television, bringing Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad to life. Whitehead’s story offers an alternate history of the Underground Railroad network for African-American slaves, depicting it literally as a secret rail system that runs beneath the antebellum South. Also tagging along are Jenkins’ past collaborators, cinematographer James Laxton and composer Nicholas Britell (a dream team if I ever knew one), promising at the very least a stunning audiovisual experience. Can you tell I’m excited for this one?

The Underground Railroad will be streaming on Amazon Prime Video from May 14th.

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