21 Book-to-Film Adaptations to go to the Cinema for in 2017

Poster for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Category: Reading

What's best: read the book and then watch the film or watch the film and then read the book? It's a question with no perfect answer. 

It's one of the paradoxes of life that, regardless of how many times a movie adaptation has failed to live up to our expectations, we can't help but get excited when we hear that one of our favourite books will be getting the silver screen treatment. 

Perhaps it's because reading is such a personal thing. When we read we see unforgettable images of the characters and settings in our heads. We can never know how another person sees these same characters and settings as clearly as when filmmakers cast and create them for screen. 

Anyway, we digress. We hope that you find at least one or two adaptations in our preview of 2017 below that make you do a quiet air punch. Meet you in the foyer?


1. T2 Trainspotting

Adapted from: Porno by Irvine Welsh

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlye

Directed by: Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, Steve Jobs)

UK Release Date: 27 January 2017

20 years on from betraying his friends Spud, Sick Boy and - most fearfully - Begbie, Mark Renton returns to Edinburgh to face them in Danny Boyle's sequel to his 1996 classic. Choose life. Choose a night. Choose some friends. Choose your favourite cinema. Sit back. And enjoy. 


2. Fifty Shades Darker

Adapted from: Fifty Shades Darker by EL James

Starring: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson

Directed by: James Foley (Glengarry Glen RossPerfect Stranger)

UK Release Date: 10 February 2017

A widespread panning (no double entendre intended) and a 4.1 IMDB rating isn't reason enough for Hollywood to give up on this saucy Valentine's Day cash cow. Christian Grey has more Grey to explore and, oh my gosh, Anastasia Steele is, like... so into it *bites lip*. Hollywood executives were reportedly uncomfortable with some of the more 'out there' scenes in Fifty Shades so expect an adaptation with less kinky grey areas.


3. 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 (The Ice Storm, Brokeback Mountain, The Life of Pi)

UK Release Date: 10 February 2017

Ben Fountain's 2012 novel, published by Canongate in the UK, hasn't quite 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 is behind the lens in this potentially award-worthy production.


4. Alone in Berlin

Adapted from: Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada

Starring: Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Brühl

Directed by: Vincent Perez (The Secret)

UK Release Date: 10 March 2017

Hans Fallada's 1947 novel Alone in Berlin was inspired by the true story of a working class husband and wife who formed part of the German resistance to the Nazis when their son was killed in WW2. In this English-language-with-accents adaptation, Emma Thompson and Brendan Gleeson play the couple made famous in one of the first anti-Nazi German novels published after the war.


5. Wilson

Adapted from: Wilson by Daniel Clowes

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern

Directed by: Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins)

UK Release Date: 24 March 2017

Daniel Clowes' graphic novel is told through 70 one-page gag strips, with days or even years passing between the strips. It is, therefore, likely that this film will have to adopt the look and feel of the book, rather than its narrative arc. Wilson is the black-humoured story of a middle-aged man's desire to reunite with his estranged wife and his first-ever meeting with his teenage daughter. Judging from the trailer, the misanthropic tone of Daniel Clowes' graphic novel has made the cut - as has his depiction of suburban American misery. 


6. The Sense of an Ending

Adapted from: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Starring: Michelle Dockery, Emily Mortimer, Jim Broadbent

Directed by: Ritesh Batra (The Lunchbox)

UK Release Date: 24 March 2017

High-brow eyebrows were raised when Julian Barnes' short novel The Sense of an Ending took home the 2011 Man Booker Prize, in a year when judges were looking for more 'readable' fiction. In the novel, Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, must contend with a long-forgotten past when his closest childhood friends return to his life with a vengeance. It forces him to re-evaluate his own nature and place in the world. Hopes are high for this adaptation featuring some of Britain's most cherished actors, directed by Ritesh Batra - the director of one of 2013's hidden gems, The Lunchbox.


7. Ghost in the Shell

Adapted from: The Ghost in the Shell Manga series by Masamune Shirow 

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Wincott, Michael Pitt

Directed by: Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman

UK Release Date: 31 March 2017

A cyborg policewoman (played by android acting specialist Scarlett Johansson - see Under the Skin and Her) in a cyberpunk future attempts to bring down an evil computer hacker in this adaptation of Masamune Shirow's famous Manga series, first serialised in 1989. Judging from the trailer, this film has some breathtaking visuals despite its controversial decision to use western actors in the main roles. Newcomers to Manga can warm up for the movie's release by watching the excellent 1995 anime adaption.


8. City of Tiny Lights

Adapted from: City of Tiny Lights by Patrick Neate

Starring: Riz Ahmed, Billie Piper, James Floyd

Directed by: Pete Travis (Dredd

UK Release Date: 7 April 2017

Author Patrick Neate adapted his own novel for screen in this London-set thriller. In it, the always-excellent Riz Ahmed plays Tommy Akhtar, a Ugandan Asian cricket fan, devoted son, and not very successful private investigator. Tommy's world is turned upside down when a missing persons case leads him into a dark and dangerous world of religious fanaticism and political intrigue.


9. Before I Fall

Adapted from: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Starring: Zoey Deutch, Jennifer Beals, Elena Kampouris

Directed by: Ry Russo-Young (Nobody Walks

UK Release Date: April 2017 (TBA)

When Sam Kingston wakes up on the morning of 12 April, little could she know that it would be the day she dies, and the day she is forced to relive until she can untangle the mystery surrounding her death. Before I Fall is an international young adult bestseller from the popular pen of Lauren Oliver. Expect huge fans of the book to turn up in droves for this movie adaptation of Oliver's page-turning book. Fans of Quantum Leap, Groundhog Day and Source Code should also make the trip.


10. Wonder

Adapted from: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Julia Roberts

Directed by: Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower

UK Release Date: 7 April 2017

Stephen Chbosky, the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower - as well as the movie version's director, is behind the camera again to direct this highly-anticipated adaptation of RJ Palacio's tale of 10-year-old August Pullman, a boy with a severe facial deformity, who faces going to a mainstream school for the first time in his life. 


11. The Circle

Adapted from: The Circle by Dave Eggers

Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Karen Gillan, John Boyega

Directed by: James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now, The End of the Tour)

UK Release Date: 28 April 2017

Dave Eggers's prescient novel strikes fear into the heart of its readers. Set in the very near future, one corporation has found a way to merge all of our online identities into one slick profile and are keen to start marketing their new product, 'SeeChange': a light, portable camera that records everything the wearer does. When Mae Holland lands a job there, her dreams come true, but then technology and the corporation start to take over every aspect of her life, for the sake of transparency. This is the future as we're coming to know it. Fans of Charlie Brooker's TV series Black Mirror will lap this up. 


12. The Dinner

Adapted from: The Dinner by Herman Koch

Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, Rebecca Hall

Directed by: Oren Moverman (The Messenger, Time out of Mind

UK Release Date: 5 May 2017

An intriguing adaptation of Dutch author Herman Koch's look at how far parents will go to protect their children. In a film that sounds more like a play, we join two families over several courses shared at a restaurant. They are there to talk about a crime committed by their sons. The resulting dark commentary, and great cast, should make for pressure-cooker viewing. 


13. The Zookeeper's Wife

Adapted from: The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Daniel Brühl, Johan Heldenbergh

Directed by: Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country

UK Release Date: 5 May 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife is a 2007 non-fiction work by poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman. It tells the true story of the wartime keepers of Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who secretly sheltered hundreds of Jews from the Nazis whilst also providing refuge to an assortment of animals, including otters, badgers, hyenas and lynxes, in their own house. A paring of Whale Rider director Niki Caro and the ever-excellent Jessica Chastain make this film a potentially moving experience.


14. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Adapted from: Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory

Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Annabelle Wallis, Jude Law

Directed by: Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Sherlock Holmes)

UK Release Date: 12 May 2017

Admittedly, the first of a six-film King Arthur franchise directed by Guy Ritchie, starring Jude Law, and promising a lot of violence, won't be everyone's cup of mead. Regardless, King Arthur continues to fascinate writers (see Kashio Ishiguro's recent The Buried Giant) and filmmakers alike and it will be interesting to see how this big-budget movie adds to the legend 


15. Captain Underpants

Adapted from: The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

Starring: Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, Kristen Schaal

Directed by: Rob Letterman (Goosebumps), David Soren (Turbo)

UK Release Date: 26 May 2017

Hold on to your pants! Dav Pilkey's bestselling series is billowing on to the silver screen in late May for an animated adaptation. It tells the tale of two primary school kids who manage to hypnotize their grumpy headteacher and turn him into the superhero Captain Underpants - a kind-hearted, elastic-waistbanded hero.


16. My Cousin Rachel

Adapted from: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger

Directed by: Roger Michell (Le Week-end, Hyde Park on Hudson, Venus)

UK Release Date: 9 June 2017

Daphne du Maurier's work first appeared on the silver screen in 1952 and will return there for another run out in 2017. Like the author's most famous book, Rebecca, the genre is mystery-romance and the setting is a vast estate in Cornwall. There, a young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. However, the one thing he didn't bargain for was falling for her beguiling charms. This adaptation has great potential with Roger Michell behind the camera and Rachel Weisz in front of it. 


17. From the Land of the Moon

Adapted from: From the Land of the Moon by Melina Agus

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Louis Garrel, Alex Brendemühl

Directed by: Nicole Garcia (Going Away)

UK Release Date: 23 June 2017

When Melina Agus' 2006 novella was adapted into English in 2010, she insisted that the passages of her work written in Sardinian dialect were preserved. It's interesting then, as a co-screenwriter on the film, that she has consented to have the action relocated to 1940s Provence from 1950s Sardinia and Rome. The story centres around a woman who consents to a loveless marriage to appease her parents. Her passions are ignited by another man when she is sent to a spa to recover from constant illnesses. Early reviews are mixed but Marion Cotillard will no doubt provide another barnstorming performance against sun-soaked, holiday-inducing scenery.   


18. The Dark Tower

Adapted from: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

Starring: Idris Elba, Katheryn Winnick, Matthew McConaughey

Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair)

UK Release Date: 28 July 2017

Hailed by some as one of the greatest book series ever written, Stephen King's The Dark Tower series is classic western meets traditional fantasy. In this world of cyborg bears, ancient gas pumps are treated like gods and time behaves in mysterious ways. Idris Elba is taking on the role of Roland Deschain aka 'The Gunslinger'. Part of a knightly order descended from King Arthur, his quest is to track down 'the man in black' played here (enticingly) by Matthew McConaughey and find 'the dark tower' in a last gasp attempt to save his own world. We're up for it. 


19. It

Adapted from: It by Stephen King

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher

Directed by: Andrés Muschietti (Mama)

UK Release Date: 8 September 2017

If you were at a sleepover in the 90s, the chances were that you watched the original mini-series adaptation of It with a bunch of terrified schoolfriends. Fast forward a number of years and we're due a new adaptation. The premise is the same. In a small New England town in 1989, seven children known as The Losers Club come face-to-face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a terrifying clown called Pennywise. Take your favourite cushion along to hide behind. 

Poster for It adaptation


20. The Coldest City

Adapted from: The Coldest City by Antony Johnston

Starring: John Goodman, Sofia Boutella, Charlize Theron, James McAvoy

Directed by: David Leitch

UK Release Date: 11 October 2017

This high-stakes, global action-thriller takes places on the eve of the Berlin Wall's collapse. Against a powderkeg of unrest, a top-level MI6 agent is sent to Grey City to solve the mysterious murder of a colleague - a colleague who was carrying information on every espionage agent, from every side, working in Berlin. Directed by former stuntman David Leitch (Brad Pitt's body double in Fight Club), and adapted from Antony Johnston's graphic novel, this looks like an unmissable Cold War thrill ride. 


21. Murder on the Orient Express

Adapted from: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Cinderella)

UK Release Date: 24 November 2017

Kenneth Branagh directs a star-studded cast and stars as Hercule Poirot himself in this intriguing adaptation of Agatha Christie's famous work. When a wealthy American is murdered on the most famous train in the world, can renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot solve the case? And can Kenneth Branagh justify remaking Sidney Lumet's 1974 adaptation starring Lauren Bacall, Albert Finney and Ingrid Bergman?


Love books? Love film? Revisit our preview of 2016's big book-to-film releases to make sure your 'to watch' list is up-to-date.

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