Hollywood Glamour: Books that Would be Perfect for the Big Screen
By Sarah Lundy, Zoe Doyle, Amy Wright and Ana Matute
With the glitz of the recent Oscars ceremony and our favourite category – adapted screenplay, of course – featuring many great books getting on-screen recognition, we thought about the ones that we desperately want to see in this category in the future. These are books that we think would be incredible to see on the big screen because of their unique storytelling, beautiful settings and fun concepts that make them play like films as we read them.
Arabella by Georgette Heyer
The queen of Regency romance, Georgette Heyer is criminally underrated by modern audiences. You may even be reading this and thinking: who? With the recent surge in popularity for period dramas such as Bridgerton (which has just released its second season), not to mention the countless Jane Austen adaptations that get churned out quite regularly, it is high time to let Heyer take the spotlight on the big screen.
Arabella is the eldest daughter of a poor clergyman who is invited by her wealthy godmother to stay in London for her first season and, hopefully, find a rich husband. On the way, her carriage breaks down outside the wealthy Mr Beaumaris’ hunting lodge, which he believes to be a ploy on her part to ensnare him. Overhearing his comments, Arabella rashly decides to claim that she is an heiress, a pretence she must then keep up during her time in London, as Beaumaris launches her into society in an effort to catch her out. With scandals, elopements and social niceties, Heyer’s meticulously researched novels perfectly evoke the Regency period, albeit with flair and drama, and would make for a spectacularly fun time in the cinema.
Letters from the Inside by John Marsden
Back in the days of pen pals, Mandy decides to answer a magazine ad from Tracey, who’s looking for a friend to write to. From the first letter, we read all the mail between them, learning about the hopes and fears of these Australian adolescents. Soon, however, Tracey's life starts to look too idyllic and lacking in reality, peaking Mandy’s curiosity and making her suspicious of her friend and what truly lies behind her letters. Why do we tell our own stories in a certain way? What truths does context bring forth?
Letters from the Inside is a difficult yet un-put-downable story whose evocative images would make it an unforgettable film. Epistolary novels especially allow for characters to develop their voices and this potential exploration is perfect for a powerful, character-driven cinematic narrative.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Already rumoured to have a film adaptation in the works, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is a story that seems destined for the screen. When Nora makes the decision to end her life, she is taken to an in-between world in a magical library. Assisted by a guide who takes the form of her school librarian, Nora is shown some of the infinite paths her life could have taken had certain decisions been different. By exploring these many lives, she is faced with existential questions and a choice on the best way to live.
This is an extraordinary and beautiful story that will lift you up and instil life-affirming wonder at the many possibilities our lives can follow. Since it’s incredibly absorbing, in many ways it feels like a film version already plays out in your head. Imagine how wonderful an adaptation would be, with a never-ending library and the range of landscapes explored. Fingers crossed it comes to our screens soon!
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Another book already rumoured to be adapted into film is Richard Osman’s debut novel The Thursday Murder Club. Featuring four seventy-something-year-olds and set in a retirement home called Coopers Chase, this witty murder mystery would make an exciting, unique and poignant film. The four friends find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation and we follow them as they attempt, without any permission, to solve the mystery.
The fact that the setting and characters are quite different to what you’d find in a typical book of this genre would make this a particularly enjoyable story to see as a film. You can’t help but grow to love these unusual and interesting characters as we learn more about their lives before Coopers Chase along the way. Whilst we will not have to wait long to meet them again, as the third book in the series is due to be published later this year, a big screen adaptation would certainly be welcomed.