Beauty and the Beast
Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
While a number of this year’s Oscar-nominated films are based on recent books, a few others hearken back a few years—or, in the case of Beauty and the Beast, centuries. The original fairy tale on which a host of subsequent adaptations were based was written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, who adapted an earlier telling of the story, and was published in 1756. The recent musical adaptation is up for a pair of Academy Awards for Production Design and Costume Design.
Victoria & Abdul
The period drama Victoria and Abdul drew upon a work of nonfiction to tell the story of the bond between Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim. Journalist Shrabani Basu wrote the 2010 book on which the film was based. At this year’s Oscars, the film is up for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
Fifty Shades Darker
E L James
The middle chapter of E L James’s trilogy, begun with Fifty Shades of Grey, first hit bookshelves in 2012. The film adaptation, written by Niall Leonard and directed by James Foley, was a box office hit when it reached theaters in 2017. The same cast, director, and writer reteamed for the third part of the trilogy, released in early 2018.
The film adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel Tulip Fever was brought to the screen by an impressive cast and crew, including co-writer Tom Stoppard and actors Alicia Vikander, Judi Dench, and Christoph Waltz. The history of the film’s production was a complex one. It’s a compelling narrative as well, for those with an interest in the machinations of the film industry.
R. J. Palacio
Wonder director Stephen Chbosky has a wide-ranging literary background: in 2012, he adapted his own novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the screen, and he’s also one of the writers of Beauty and the Beast. He co-wrote and directed the acclaimed adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s novel about a fifth-grader living with Treacher Collins syndrome.
The Mountain Between Us
Charles Martin’s 2011 novel tells the story of two people stranded on a mountain after a plane crash and their ensuing struggle for survival. Director Hany Abu-Assad brought it to the screen, with Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as the film’s two leads.
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol has been adapted for stage and screen in countless variations, from the faithful to the unexpected. Bharat Nalluri’s film adapted Les Standiford’s 2008 nonfiction work that looks at the process by which Dickens wrote his beloved book, and how it reshaped the way a holiday was perceived and celebrated.
Dave Eggers’s 2013 novel The Circle explores questions of technology and privacy by telling the story of a fictional tech company with echoes of many real-world corporations. James Ponsoldt’s film adaptation boasted a fantastic cast, including Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, and Patton Oswalt.
Herman Koch’s 2009 novel The Dinner tells the story of two couples sharing a tense and charged meal. Since its publication, it’s become a favorite of filmmakers: the American adaptation of the film was predated by adaptations in the Netherlands and Italy. Writer/director Oren Moverman directed this film, with a cast featuring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, and Rebecca Hall.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot’s acclaimed 2011 book received several literary awards after its publication, exploring the history of cancer cells taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951. Director George C. Wolfe’s adaptation of Skloot’s book starred Oprah Winfrey as Lacks’s daughter Deborah and Rose Byrne as Skloot.
Books have served as the inspiration for popular films for years, from enlightening historical dramas to spine-chilling works of horror. A host of recent films, including box-office champions and Oscar-nominated movies (and some that fall into both categories) have been adapted from books. So whether you’re looking to catch up on your movie-watching before this year’s Academy Awards are handed out, or you’d just like to sit down with something you’ve heard great things about, here’s a look at a host of recent films with their origins in the pages of a book.
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