Depending on your inclination, this movie season we’re either in for a treat or we’ll all huddle in agony in the dark of a movie theatre. Cinematic adaptations of some major literary novels are on the way before the award hoopla begins proper. The draw of high profile actors and actresses united with high-tech cinematography and direction could make the stories interesting, or not. At BOOKADDA, we’ve compiled a list of these adaptations. Do you think they will hold up to the original novelistic vision? Tell us in the comments!
1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
This 2004 novel won the British Book Literary Fiction Award, and the Richard & Judy Book of the Year award. The novel was also short-listed for the 2004 Booker Prize, Nebula Award and Arthur C Clarke Award. It is said to be the most expensive independent film of all-time with a budget of $100 million. Its production began in September 2011 at Studio Babelsberg in Germany. The film premiered on September 9, 2012 at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, where it received a 10-minute standing ovation.
Writer & Director: Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Tom Tykwer
Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant
Plot: The story is about our actions in life and their consequences that impact people around us – throughout the past, present and future.
This film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel was flagged as “most beautifully executed” by The New York Times. On the Road was listed as one of the 100 best English novels of 20th century by TIME magazine and Modern Library. The production of On the Road began on August 4, 2010 in Montreal, Canada, and has a budget of $25 million. The film premiered on May 23, 2012 at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It received mixed early reviews after it premiered at the film festival.
Director: Walter Salles
Cast: Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen
Plot: After the demise of his father, a young struggling writer sets out on a journey across America with his friend. The story is a personal quest for meaning and belonging.
Deepa Mehta decided to undertake the film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize winning novel Midnight’s Children, which was first published in 1981. The primary photography took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka from February to May 2011. The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival, and the 2012 BFI London Film Festival, but has not yet found a distributor in India.
Writer & Director: Deepa Mehta
Plot: This is the story of two newborn babies who are exchanged by a nurse in a Bombay hospital, at the midnight on August 15, 1947. Saleem and Shiva are destined to live the lives of each other. Their lives are linked to India. From the romance of Saleem’s grandparents to his birth and death, Midnight’s Children is an unforgettable journey.
4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This film is adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 novel Anna Karenina. The film premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival.
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly Macdonald
Plot: The novel is about exploring the capacity of love that heaves in the human heart, and is set in the aristocratic society of 19th century Russia. As Anna Karenina asks questions about the source of her happiness, visible changes appear in the relationships among her family, friends and society.
5. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
This movie is a political-thriller based on the 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist by British-Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid. The novel was shortlisted for the 2007 Booker Prize. It also won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the South Bank Show Annual Award for Literature. Also, The Guardian selected it as one of the books that defined the decade. The film was shot in Delhi, Istanbul, New York City, Atlanta and Lahore. It premiered at the 69th Venice International Film Festival in August 2012.
Director: Mira Nair
Cast: Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Riz Ahmed, Om Puri and Shabana Azmi
Plot: It’s the story of a young Pakistani man who graduates from Princeton and pursues a corporate career on Wall Street. Soon, he finds himself caught between his life in America, a hostage crisis and the decision to leave or stay in America.
6. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Based on the 2001 novel, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, this is a 3D adventure film, expected to be released on November 21, 2012. The novel won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2001.
Director: Ang Lee
Cast: Tabu, Irfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Shravanthi Sainath, Rafe Spall
Plot: Pi, a 16-year old boy who survives a shipwreck, finds himself stranded on a lifeboat with a hyena, a wounded zebra and a Bengal tiger; and how he manages to endure and survive for 227 days.