So the big news in book to film adaptations this month is, of course, the opening of The Help. Based on the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, the movie opened August 10th. Film adaptations sometimes ride the coat-tails of the popularity of a recent book, other times they bring attention back to the original work that may or may not have been well known. In either case, they create a fresh opportunity to draw attention to some great writing.
September seems to have a wealth of book based film releases: here’s a few to keep an eye on.
Release date September 16th
Drive: based on the book of the same name by James Sallis. Driver is his name and that’s what he is. His day job is as a stunt car driver in Hollywood, but he moonlights as the getaway car driver. The noir novella was given starred reviews by both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Score one for the little guy, the book was originally published by independent mystery press Poisoned Pen. The film adaptation stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and Christina Hendricks.
I Don’t Know How She Does It: based on the book I don’t know how she does it : the life of Kate Reddy, working mother by Allison Pearson. For its humorous look into the life of a 30 something working woman, Pearson’s novel was compared to Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary when it was released in 2002, but with a lead character who is “notably brighter, wittier and capable of infinitely deeper shadings of feeling than the flighty Bridget” (Publishers Weekly). Kate is married with 2 kids, a house and a high profile job: “She can juggle nine different currencies in five different time zones and get herself and two children washed and dressed and out of the house in half an hour. In Kate’s life, Everything Goes Perfectly as long as Everything Goes Perfectly.” (publisher’s description). The film version stars Sarah Jessica Parker in the lead.
Straw Dogs. I find it a bit odd that this 1970s classic is being remade: but maybe that’s just me. The original was set in the UK and starred Dustin Hoffman in the lead role, and although a critically acclaimed film, was criticized because of its extreme violence. The remake trades the British setting for the US South, and stars James Marsden in the role that Hoffman originally played. The original film is based on the book The Siege of Trencher’s Farm by Gordon Williams.
Release Date: September 23rd
Moneyball. The movie stars Brat Pitt, the book (Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair game) is by an author (Michael Lewis) more known for his economic writing than his character or plot based pieces. Both the film and the book offer an account of how the general manager of baseball’s Oakland Athletics used research and stats to build a winning team on a low budget. amazon.com said of the book “Lewis, one of the top nonfiction writers of his era (Liar’s Poker, The New New Thing), offers highly accessible explanations of baseball stats and his roadmap of Beane’s economic approach makes Moneyball an appealing reading experience for business people and sports fans alike.”
Release Date: September 30th
What’s Your Number based on the book 20 Times a Lady by Karyn Bosnak. Kirkus reviews summed up Bosnak’s 2006 debut novel as “saucy chick-lit” and that sounds about right. The premise: after realizing that she’s reached her self-imposed limit of 20 lifetime… ahem, entanglements, Delilah (it’s Ally in the film) decides to track back through her ex-boyfriends in an attempt to find the one that should have been. The film stars Anna Faris and a whole bunch familiar faces as Ally’s exes.