As an English student, I suppose you could say that I’m quite fond of literature as a whole. My tastes vary widely, from the stray Murakami novel to Mary Berry’s autobiography (#byebbc). When any of my favourite books are signed up to be displayed on the movie screen, my feelings tend to veer towards excitement, apprehension or both. We can all list at least one film adaptation that has left us cripplingly disappointed; however, that doesn’t stop many people, myself included, from procuring visions in our heads of miscellaneous books being brought to life before our very eyes – usually with our favourite character being played by our celebrity crush. Here is a list of four novels that need to be visually depicted by the likes of Wes Anderson, Tarantino, or Coppola as soon as possible!
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)
This is possibly one of the best books ever written. The story follows a group of classics students who study at an elite, remote liberal arts school in New England – the perfect place to set the scene for a psychological thriller – and the circumstances leading to and the aftermath of a murder within the group.
The Secret History has such a cohesive tone and so many striking thematic elements throughout that it would be incredibly easy to bring to life in a camera lens. The writing contains flowery gems such as, ‘It’s a very Greek idea, and a very profound one. Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.’ The urge to tattoo one of its many quotes onto your body for all of eternity would be all the more heightened if it was repeated aloud to a movie audience – whether or not that is a good thing is still up for debate.
Tartt creates a world that is also riddled with an abundance of oddly quirky charm. From a young bespectacled scholar who hasn’t realised that humans have walked on the moon, to a pretentious redhead who is opposed to using the movie theatre as an alibi for a murder because he disapproves of the film choices, there should be three cheers for ridiculousness all around. The imagery is described in amazing detail, all of the characters are beautifully complex (if not admittedly a tad bit cliché at times), and it would get raving reviews from the snobbiest of film critics. Plus, they are already planning on making one of Tartt’s other novels (The Goldfinch) into a film, so she must be A*.
Baby’s In Black by Arne Bellstorf (2012)
There have been so many films made by or about The Beatles, but I still feel that there is room for at least one more. Very few people know about Stuart Sutcliffe, a friend of John Lennon’s from art school who also happened to be the original bassist for the budding band. This graphic novel follows the love story between Stu and Astrid Kirchherr, a young photographer who first met the brooding bassist when the newly formed music group was playing at a club in Hamburg. Though their relationship was cut short by Stuart’s death at the age of 22 – due to an aneurysm which Lennon later blamed himself for – it’s still a love story worthy of being memorialised in film form.
The graphic novel is drawn in such a way that it could be filmed with most of the shots already planned out by hand, and there is no need to worry about historical accuracy as the story was depicted truthfully based on interviews with Astrid. I cannot stress enough how adorable their relationship was, even though it was laced with tragedy. People really should know more about the young man who shaped so much of the band that we know and love today. Plus Stuart was an absolute dreamboat, so they would definitely have to cast an adorable actor to play him. *swoon*
Can You Keep a Secret? By Sophie Kinsella (2003)
Right. So, this book would definitely fall into the same category as all of those beach reads that you find on your mother’s bookshelf. You know, those ones that you take on holiday to distract yourself from the awful heat of the sun, so much so that you end up resembling a roasted chestnut. Unless you burn really easily, in which case you’ll probably become engrossed with the book, forget to reapply sun cream, and resemble a lobster for a few days. (Don’t do that, kids. Safety first.)
However, it is still funny, lighthearted, and has a mushy happy ending that is really all you need to make a chick-flick blockbuster hit. In a nutshell: zany/erratic girl, who is afraid of flying, goes on plane; same girl experiences turbulence, convinces herself that they are all going to die, and confesses secret after secret to her seat-mate. The rest of the plane passengers do not die and her seat-mate turns out to be her new boss. With cringe-worthy moments reminiscent of Bridget Jones and the same loveable style expected from the writer of the Confessions of a Shopaholic series, this adaptation would be a movie you could watch endlessly with a flatmate over some Maisha takeaway.
The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne (1992 – )
These books were essentially my childhood. Certain Americans reading this right now will probably feel their hearts quicken with the mention of the words “Scholastic Book Fair”, but every time one of those arrived at my elementary school, I’d be prepared to buy all of the scented erasers and about three of the Magic Tree House books. There are now 55 of them in total, but they could hypothetically become a worldwide phenomenon, replacing Harry Potter for the next century.
Considering that the plot setting for each novel varies anywhere from the Titanic, to the Globe Theatre, to the Moon, they’d have more novelty than the entire Fast and Furious franchise. Morgan Le Fay sends two children named Jack and Annie on adventures through time in a magic tree house, and they get into loads of youthful shenanigans. Though I haven’t read the books since I was ten years old, younger me can confirm that they are 10/10 literary masterpieces, especially the Camelot plot, because I read it a worrying amount of times. The first novel by Mary Pope Osborne was made into an animated film in Japan, and Lionsgate picked it up as a potential film adaptation. No further news has been released as of yet. Be still my heart.