21 Book-to-Film Adaptations to Watch in 2016
Reading a great book is like watching a film in your own head.
Watching an actual movie based on the book you enjoyed watching in your own head can be a mixed bag. The images on screen often fail to live up to the ones our imaginations painted on the walls of our minds.
Regardless, 95% of us still get wildly excited when we hear that one of our favourite books is to become a movie. It's a strange paradox.
Without further ado, here are our nominations for some of the book-to-film adaptations that will surely delight, disappoint and merely satisfy book lovers over the course of 2016.
Adapted from: Room by Emma Donoghue
Starring: Brie Larsen, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy
Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
UK Release Date: 15 January 2016
Irish author Emma Donoghue adapts her bestselling novel for this well-reviewed film version directed by Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Frank). In it, 5-year-old Jack only knows the room in which he and his mother have been held captive his whole life. When they escape, he has to adjust to the outside world and makes a thrilling discovery.
2. The Big Short
Adapted from: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt
Directed by: Adam Mackay
UK Release Date: 22 January 2016
Anchorman director Adam Mackay made a comedic parable about the recent financial crash with his under-rated The Other Guys in 2010. In his more serious adaptation of Michael Lewis's non-fiction bestseller, the plot centres on four operators in the world of high finance who see the pre-2008 housing and credit bubble when no one else can. Together, they decide to take on the banks for their immense greed, and lack of awareness, by betting against the housing market.
3. The 5th Wave
Adapted from: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Zuk, Gabriela Lopez
Directed by: J Blakeson
UK Release Date: 22 January 2016
Another wave of young adult fiction adaptations will crash onto screens during 2016. Before the Divergent trilogy concludes later this year, we have The 5th Wave to look forward to. Four waves of alien attacks have left humankind on its knees. Ahead of the fifth, Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) desperately tries to save her brother in a dangerous world, riven with distrust.
Adapted from: Deadpool graphic novel series from Marvel Comics
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein
Directed by: Tim Miller
UK Release Date: 4 February 2016
The eighth instalment of the X-Men series arrives in the form of Deadpool. In an effort to cure his cancer, former special forces operative Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) agreed to subject his body to an experiment. It goes wrong. He is left with accelerated healing powers, disfigured skin, an unstable mind, and a 'dark, twisted' sense of humour. Using his new powers, and alter ego as Deadpool, Wade hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. The character of Deadpool appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine but this is its first full feature.
Adapted from: Goosebumps by R. L. Stine
Starring: Jack Black
Directed by: Rob Letterman
UK Release Date: 5 February 2016
62 Goosebumps books were published between 1992 and 1997. This wildly successful series has already spawned a TV series and piles of merchandise but, in 2016, it will finally make the leap to the big screen. The majority of Goosebumps books featured children caught in a remote location facing the extraordinary. The movie version, directed by Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens, A Shark Tale) takes a slightly more meta approach. In it, a teenager teams up with R. L. Stine's daughter after the writer's imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.
6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Adapted from: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen
Starring: Lily James, Lena Headey, Douglas Booth
Directed by: Burr Steers
UK Release Date: 12 February 2016
Seth Graham-Smith's parody of Pride and Prejudice contains a key difference from Jane Austen's original text: an army of undead zombies. The zombies - also referred to as the 'stricken', 'sorry stricken' and 'unmentionable' - roam the countryside of Regency-era England. Their presence alters the plot of the original story, with couriers between the houses eaten alive and the women forced to decide whether arming oneself with a musket is very 'ladylike'. Expect everything in this riotous adaptation from the wonderfully named director Burr Steers (The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud), and starring Lena Headey (Cersei, Game of Thrones) and Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey).
7. The Choice
Adapted from: The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace
Directed by: Ross Katz
UK Release Date: 4 March 2016
Travis and Gabby are neighbours, then lovers. When tragedy threatens their perfect life in a small American coastal town, Travis must make a decision that could change both their lives, forever. Fans of romantic melodrama should start stockpiling their tissues for the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel - the author of The Notebook.
Adapted from: High-Rise by J. G. Ballard
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller
Directed by: Ben Wheatley
UK Release Date: 18 March 2016
Tom Hiddleston stars as Dr Robert Laing in this much-anticipated adaptation of J. G. Ballard's 1975 novel. Dr Laing lives in a tower block for the well-off where the merely affluent live at the bottom, the rich in the middle, and the super-rich at the top. All is well in this structured world until the lower occupants start to climb the tower and all hell breaks loose. Directed by Ben Wheatley (Sightseers, A Field in England, Kill List) and boasting the year's coolest movie poster so far, expectations are high for this seemingly challenging adaptation.
9. The Jungle Book
Adapted from: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Starring: Neel Sethi | Voices of: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken
Directed by: Jon Favreau
UK Release Date: 15 April 2016
The spring will be wild in 2016. Disney's live action remake of their original animation, itself originally adapted from Rudyard Kipling's collection of stories (breathe), tells the tale of Mowgli. Raised by wolves, Mowgli must flee his jungle home when rumour has it that the terrifying tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba), is coming to get him. On his journey, Mowgli meets a cast of characters including Baloo, voiced by Bill Murray (yuss).
10. Alice Through the Looking Glass
Adapted from: Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Andrew Scott, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter
Directed by: James Bobin
UK Release Date: 27 May 2016
Lewis Carroll's 1875 sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland gets the big screen treatment 141 years after it was first written. Alice must return to Wonderland to save the Mad Hatter, who has lost his muchness. This movie version was adapted into a screenplay by heavy-hitter Linda Woolverton (screenwriter for The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast), is directed by James Bobin (The Muppets Movie), and features the vocal talents of the late Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar.
11. Me Before You
Adapted from: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman
Directed by: Thea Sharrock
UK Release Date: 3 June 2016
Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke, aka Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones) knows that she probably isn't in love with her boyfriend, Patrick. She knows how many steps there are between her bus stop and home. And, she knows that she loves her job at The Buttered Bun tea shop. What she doesn't know, yet, is that an encounter with a recently paralysed man will change both their lives for the better.
12. Tale of Tales
Adapted from: folk myths collected and published by Giambattista Basile (16th century)
Starring: Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones
Directed by: Matteo Garrone
UK Release Date: 1 July 2016
With a five-star review from The Guardian already in its pocket, and a heavyweight cast, this English-language debut from Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone looks set to beguile arthouse audiences worldwide. Interweaving three tales, Peter Bradshaw described the film as, 'Ovid... mulched in with Hansel, Gretel, the Beauty, the Beast, the Prince, the Pauper, in no real order.' The screenshots from the film, including Salma Hayek chowing down on a sea dragon's heart, are arresting enough. We can't wait to see the moving versions.
13. The BFG
Adapted from: The BFG by Roald Dahl
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Mark Rylance
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
UK Release Date: 22 July 2016
The BFG continues to enchant children worldwide. The book grew out of a short story from Danny, Champion of the World and was dedicated to Dahl's daughter, Olivia, who died, aged seven, from measles encephalitis. The story revolves around a girl named Sophie who encounters the Big Friendly Giant. Despite the giant's intimidating appearance, he turns out to be a kind-hearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike his peers, he refuses to eat boys and girls. That Steven Spielberg (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Hook, War Horse) is directing the film adaptation (first mooted in 1991) ensures that it will be one of the hits of the summer.
14. Suicide Squad
Adapted from: Suicide Squad series by DC Comics
Starring: Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Scott Eastwood, Will Smith, Ben Affleck
Directed by: David Ayers
UK Release Date: 5 August 2016
Just when you think all the possible superhero franchises must already be launched, along comes another. In Suicide Squad, a secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency. Tough, uncompromising director David Ayers (End of Watch, Fury) directs an eclectic cast that includes Ben Affleck making an appearance as Bruce Wayne / Batman.
15. The Girl on the Train
Adapted from: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett
Directed by: Tate Taylor
UK Release Date: 7 October 2016
The next stop in the rise-and-rise of Paula Hawkin's bestselling psychological thriller is the silver screen. We loved touring with Paula for Book Week Scotland 2015 and can't wait to settle into our seats to see her novel come to life at the talkies.
Adapted from: Inferno by Dan Brown
Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster
Directed by: Ron Howard
UK Release Date: 14 October 2016
A Dan Brown-adaptation directed by Ron Howard (Rush, A Beautiful Mind, In the Heart of the Sea, Frost/Nixon) may not get everyone's pulse racing but we're intrigued to see Robert Langon's journey continue. After waking up in a Florence hospital room, with only a patchy memory of how he got there, Langdon (Tom Hanks) finds himself the target of a manhunt. Can Dr Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) and his own knowledge of symbology help him solve the most intricate riddle he's ever faced?
17. A Monster Calls
Adapted from: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay
Starring: Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
UK Release Date: 21 October 2016
We can't wait for this. Debut Scottish actor Lewis MacDougall plays Connor, a boy seeking the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mum's terminal illness. Author Patrick Ness wrote the original book from a story Siobhan Down started while she was suffering from terminal cancer. Ness won the Carnegie Medal for A Monster Calls, as did its illustrator Jim Kay. It is the only time the Medal has been awarded to both the author and illustrator of a book.
18. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Adapted from: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel
Directed by: Ang Lee
UK Release Date: 11 November 2016
Ben Fountain's 2012 novel hasn't quiet broken into our national consciousness despite being listed as one of the top 12 novels of the 21st century so far by the BBC. Billy Lynn becomes a very modern war hero when his act of valour is captured on video and goes viral. As a "reward" his squad is invited to the Dallas Cowboys' Thanksgiving NFL game. Accompanied by a film producer, news filters through that the squad will have to return to duty, despite their heroics. This, flashbacks from Billy's past, and a halftime show with Beyoncé make the day a memorable one in many ways. Two-time Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (The Ice Storm, Brokeback Mountain, The Life of Pi) is behind the lens in this potentially award-worthy production.
19. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Adapted from: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell
Directed by: David Yates
UK Release Date: 18 November 2016
J. K. Rowling makes her screenwriting debut in this adaptation of her own 2001 book. Written under the pseudonym of Newt Scamander, it details the lives of the magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe. The film is the first installment of a trilogy and will be directed by David Yates, the director of four of the Harry Potter movies.
20. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiars
Adapted from: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiars by Ransom Riggs
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Green, Asa Butterfield
Directed by: Tim Burton
UK Release Date: TBC 2016
Ransom Rigg's debut novel will get the Tim Burton treatment later this year. The very original novel tells the tale of a boy who, following a family tragedy, follows clues that take him to an abandoned orphanage. Told through a mixture of fiction and photography, it is a thrilling reading experience that should translate very well to the screen.
Adapted from: Silence by Shûsaku Endô
Starring: Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
UK Release Date: TBC 2016
Silence is held up as Japanese author Shûsaku Endô's masterpiece. It has long been an ambition of Martin Scorsese to adapt the story for screen. In fact, back in 2009, Daniel Day Lewis and Gael Garcia Bernal were lined up for the film but it was subsequently mothballed. The story centres around two Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to 17th century Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity. It sounds heavy, but in a good way.
Tell us your favourite book-to-film adaptations in the comments below. In the mood for literary adaptations you can see right now? Check out these 12 Books That Became Award-Winning Movies, 13 Books That Are Scarier Than the Film and 5 Book Endings That Were Changed for Film.