We spend a lot of time thinking about what the next book to be adapted to the big screen will be, and then even longer still talking about everything that’s wrong with the adaptation, from casting choices to the scenes included in the movie. Of course, it’s not always completely bad but, I think all of it doesn’t really allow us to think of the other end of the spectrum ! There are so many great movies that would make even better books, and it’s disappointing to see that this process isn’t really used at all (copyright and all that, I know !).
So, here is my personal selection of movies that should be turned into books !
DYSTOPIAS / SCIENCE-FICTION
Inception : it all started with Inception. Before this movie, I had never even thought about it. I went to see it, not really knowing what to expect, I just knew the cast seemed nice and that, apparently, the plot would fuck with your mind. I came out of the theatres thinking, desperately, “OMG ! Tell me this is adapted from a book !”. I went home and the first thing I did was Google the shit out of that movie. It turned out, to my utter disappointment that it wasn’t a movie adaptation of a great book, it was just an amazing movie and it left me with nothing else, no alternative to explore that universe. Now, imagine a good 600-pages book retelling all the events of the movie, with some added backstories and think of how more you could get !
Avatar : a lot of people seem to have a problem with Avatar, but I’m not one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie : I liked the story, the scenery was absolutely amazing, I liked the message. It was like blue-Pocahontas but without the problematic historical repercussions. I think it would have been fascinating to read about the culture on Pandora, we probably would have gotten more than the movie could offer ; the rites of passage would have been amazing to read ; and the descriptions !
The Lobster : admittedly, I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks like the kind of movie I would want to read about. Set in a dystopian society where being single is considered abnormal, where the government has fun playing match-maker and where your life is basically over if you can’t find anyone … To me, it sounds like a fun read.
The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho) : I’ve absolutely loved this movie ! I don’t know if it’s because the movie is Brazilian and is about gay teenagers, but it made me think a bit of Aristotle & Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe. It was so sweet and fun and fluffly, and it explores amazing themes, such as how attraction works when you’re blind. I loved how the gayness of the characters and the coming-out scenes were presented, it just made me wonder how a book like that would have turned out.
Heathers : (yes, it’s also a musical but it was a movie first) I like to think of this movie as Mean Girls gone wrong, basically, but the story goes much farther than that. So many complex and dark themes (sex, murder, drugs, suicide, peer-pressure), I think it would make a great dark-ish YA novel.
The Breakfast Club (and basically any John Hughes movies) : it’s another of those movies that made me think instantly that it just had to be a book first. And once again, it wasn’t. I think it’d make a great book, à la Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Each personality, each relationship, would be explored more thorougly too and even while reading it, you’ll probably hear the music playing in your head during the ending.
The Grand Budapest Hotel : you might argue that the movie was actually based on a couple of books and other writings by Stefan Zweig, but the story that the movie offers would make one hell of a novel. The multiple characters would inspire multiple points of view, you’ll get to see the hotel coming to life, and the humour !
CONTEMPORARY / ADULT FICTION
Inside Llewyn Davis : it would be the sort of book that one would read multiple times. Imagine an infinitely cracked spine, the smell of tobacco sticking to the yellowing pages and always the same amazing story : the failed musician, the unrequited love, the roadtrip, the multiple encounters. It makes me think of Neil Gaiman but without the fantasy element.
(500) Days Of Summer : I wanted this movie to be a book so bad ! Desacralising the Manic Pixie Dream Girl cliché and the whole “just because she likes the same bizarro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soulmate” thing are such John Green themes. Just think John Green with adult main characters. I know it could be magical.
THRILLER / HORROR
Now You See Me : the movie is categorised as a thriller, it wouldn’t have been my choice but since I couldn’t figure out which genre it was, let’s just say that Wikipedia’s right. I loved the movie so much that I instantly needed more, and what a marvelous book it’d make : the magic of the Night Circus with a bit of Ocean Eleven thrown in the mix.
Donnie Darko : if the movie has become such a cult, just imagine how it’d be if it had been a book. Enough said.
Crimson Peak : if you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly recommend. A ghost story with a mysterious Englishman and the whole thing set in a Victorian Mansion. The scenery, while spectacular, is enough to send chills down your spine and I would love to see how it would translate into words. How to make such a chilling, beautiful vision appear in the reader’s mind ?