Hearing that a beloved book has been optioned for a movie can be both cause for anticipation and anxiety. Anticipation because when Hollywood gets it just right, you can add another movie to your favourite-movies-based-on-books list, and anxiety because when they don’t get it right it can range from mediocrity to disaster and, worse yet, discourage people from reading the book. Here’s a list of 10 books I’d like see made into movies - books I think would make fantastic movies if only they’d get it right.
Since The Hobbit seems to finally be in production, it seems fairly certain that Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is going to be made into a TV mini-series, Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle is listed on IMdb as being in production, and Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is being filmed and the rest of her books have been optioned with a high probability of getting made into movies, I can strike those off the list.
Since there are authors whose whole oeuvre I’d like to see filmed, I have limited myself to only one book by any one author, so as to include more variety in the list. I have also avoided the temptation to include books that have already been filmed, be it for TV, as movies with less than satisfactory results, or so long ago that an update would be ideal. So no Dorothy L. Sayers, although I would have loved to include Strong Poison or Gaudy Night.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Actually, I don’t think anything under a three-hour movie would do it justice (there’s so much detail), so I would prefer this one to be made into a big-budget TV mini-series.
- The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey. Of all the books in that series, I think this one and the three books in the Harper Hall trilogy are the most filmable.
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I’d love to see all that wonderful wackiness on the big screen.
- The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I don’t think I need to explain this one.
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I was only about a third into the story when I began thinking how cinematic it was, and I think it would make a great psyhhological thriller/horror movie.
- These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. In fact I would like to see just about all of her books made into movies, but apparently she put a note in her will that she didn’t want them to be filmed, so I will probably have to wait for them to pass into the public domain before I’ll see a Heyer movie adaptation.
- Naked in Death by J.D. Robb. A wonderfully gritty futuristic police procedural combined with a scorching romance, I think this could look darkly wonderful on the big screen.
- Grafarþögn (Silence of the Grave) by Arnaldur Indriðason. It’s time for another movie adaptation of Arnaldur’s books. Preferably made in Iceland, by Icelanders.
- The Murder of the Maharajah by H.R.F. Keating. I think this would make a wonderful murder mystery with an ensemble cast, in the same vein as Death on the Nile or Gosford Park.
- To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. This is so full of all kinds of wonderful literary references (starting with the title), and it’s just so funny. With David Tennant as Ned.