Ever since the invention of motion pictures, Hollywood has been on the hunt for great stories and, at least in theory, there’s no better place to look than the canon of great literature. From Jane Austen’s country novels to Stephen King’s scary tales, these works are time-tested and timeless masterpieces. And they better be because most of them have already been screen fodder. These are the big-name novels being adapted (or re-adapted) for the big screen in 2022.
Persuasion dives into Jane Austen’s latest novel
Jane Austen’s last novel, published about six months after her death in 1817, is surprisingly accessible to modern audiences. Persuasion is about Anne Elliot, an Englishwoman who still lives with her parents at age 27. Years earlier, she broke off a brief but happy engagement with a man named Frederick Wentworth when her social circle convinced her he was under her position. In the present of the book, fate and changing times bring Anne and Frederick back into each other’s lives. While the Elliots’ standing has declined, Frederick’s has risen, which is just one of many circumstances complicating Anne and Frederick’s potentially rekindled romance.
by Netflix Persuasion slated for release in 2022. The adaptation stars Dakota Johnson, Henry Golding, Cosmo Jarvis, Suki Waterhouse, and Richard E. Grant. Broadway director making the leap to film Carrie Cracknell has retained the correct period setting, but is said to bring a more modern sensibility to the humor. He will have to distinguish himself in one way or another. Between 1960 and 2020, Persuasion has been adapted into TV shows, movies and plays 13 times. Nor is the Dakota Johnson version the only current production attempt. Searchlight also makes one with Successionby Sarah Snook, which will also be released this year.
All Quiet on the Western Front explores the trauma of war
In this 1929 novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a young German enthusiastically enlists to serve in World War I, only to become disillusioned when he discovers what war really is, then depressed when he discovers that he cannot readjust to normal life. Paul Bäumer’s inner journey from blindly patriotic nationalist to defeated nihilist was one of the first works of fiction to accurately capture and deal with the trauma experienced by soldiers on the battlefield once back home. In the west, nothing is new was banned by the Nazis for its difficult themes, which they considered unpatriotic.
The book sold millions of copies in its time and was almost immediately made into a movie. Universal Studios’ 1930 version won the Best Picture Oscar. A 1979 TV movie followed. An update, featuring Daniel Brühl (of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier fame) is set to arrive on Netflix later this year.
Death on the Nile delivers another Agatha Christie mystery
Agatha Christie Death on the Nile is one of 33 books that feature its most famous recurring protagonist, Hercule Poirot. This time, Poirot is vacationing in Egypt aboard a tourist steamer when tragedy strikes. A contentious love triangle between a handsome man and two once-friendly socialites results in one of their murders, and as is usually the case, everyone aboard the ship is a suspect.
Death on the Nile was once adapted into a 1978 film with a star-studded cast that included Maggie Smith, Mia Farrow, Bette Davis and Angela Lansbury. There have also been several stage productions of the iconic mystery, as well as a BBC miniseries in 1997. After 2017 Murder on the Orient ExpressKenneth Branagh Returns to Direct and Role as Poirot with 2022’s Death on the Nile, in theaters February 11. The film was supposed to debut in 2020 but has been repeatedly delayed by the pandemic, as well as crippled by personal scandals involving stars Armie Hammer and Letitia Wright.
White Noise stars Adam Drive in Don DeLillo’s famous novel
There’s a lot going on in Don DeLillo’s famous 1985 novel, even if it’s not particularly plot-driven. Told in three parts, the story takes the perspective of Jack Gladney, a middle-aged and repeatedly married college professor who is an expert in “Hitler studies” and who faces both the banality of family life and a crippling preoccupation with death. When a train wreck leads to a toxic pandemic-like event, he’s forced to face his deepest fears. White noise is a prescient and darkly satirical look at what have proven to be some of the fatal flaws of modernity: consumerism, self-obsession, dependence on technology and the inability to distinguish the authentic of the projected.
Long considered one of the unfilmable literary masterpieces, White noise had languished in development purgatory since 2004 until Noah Baumbach took over the project in 2021. His adaptation will feature his wife and frequent collaborator, Greta Gerwig, as well as Adam Driver, the star of his latest film, Marriage story. André Benjamin and Don Cheadle complete the cast. Almost guaranteed to be an awards contender, White noise is coming to Netflix in 2022.
Salem’s Lot gives Stephen King’s book a modern remake
This 1975 horror volume is the second effort from genre giant Stephen King. It is his favorite, as well as the favorite of many fans and the winner of several literary awards. In from Salem Parcel, an author named Ben Mears returns to the Maine town where he grew up after 25 years away in hopes of sparking his creativity. He plans to write about a supposedly haunted house that scared him as a child. But just when Ben feels at home in Salem’s Lot again, he discovers the town and the supernatural secret of the old house.
Salem Bundle has been adapted into a television miniseries twice. The film version of Warner Bros. Pictures is set to hit theaters on September 9, 2022. The film was written and directed by Gary Dauberman (from annabelle films) and stars Lewis Pullman, Mackenzie Leigh, Alfre Woodard, Bill Camp and Pilou Asbæk (game of thrones’ Euron Greyjoy) in a central role.
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