It seems like nine out of ten movie ideas today come from novels first. Lets face it, it’s good business. The novel sales are boosted when the film comes out, and there’s a built in audience for the movie. But with all the world of fiction at their feet, Hollywood is missing a lot of good possibilities. I’m recommending that instead of adapting the latest Nicholas Sparks book, Hollywood chooses one of these hidden gems:
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange
We all knew it would happen someday. Pride and Prejudice sequels have been popular for years, and the current fascination with vampires have finally merged into one. Amanda Grange, known for other Jane Austen related books such as Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Captain Wentworth’s Diary, works over what we know about Darcy.
The reason that Mr. Darcy is so stand-offish and prideful is that he is hiding a secret, and has been for centuries (yes, Grange does explain Wickam’s “growing up” with Darcy). The book is pretty outlandish, but in the pure fun and escapist way that makes it great beach reading. With her success at already playing Elizabeth Bennet once, I say that Kiera Knightly should continue the trend.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
One of my favorite books as a young girl, True Confessions is the tale of a privileged young girl crossing the Atlantic in the 1800s. During the crossing, the sailors mutiny against the cruel Captain. Charlotte is unwillingly drawn into the conflict and is eventually charged with the murder of the captain. Charlotte must grow up quickly, stand up for herself and embrace a life more than her boarding schools have prepared her for.
With the fairly recent success of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the push to have stronger roles for young women, now is the perfect time to make this into a film! It’s got adventure, heart, and a message that isn’t used as a club for the viewer. I think Emma Watson has the right balance of beauty, brains, and acting skill to bring this role to life.
House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski
This is without a doubt one of the strangest books I’ve ever read. It’s wrapped up in three distinct story lines that play off of each other. The main protagonist finds a manuscript of a thesis about a documentary that doesn’t exist. As he becomes obsessed about the manuscript he slowly starts to loose his mind. ONe of the most unique parts of the book is that as Johnny Truant’s mind becomes unhinged, the writing style and even the typescript of the book reflects it (look here for a good example of the crazy typeset and a more in depth review of the book).
While I think it would be incomprehensible to try and film the entire novel, the fictional documentary, The Navidson Report, would make a fascinating movie. It is the story of a family that realized their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Their lives change drastically when one day they wake up with a new door in the living room. What follows is an intense trek through the hidden depths of the house.
In my mind, Viggo Mortensen is perfect for the role of Will Navidson, the owner of the house in question. He’s a brave, sometimes foolhardy man who is so obsessed about the strange happenings in his house that he puts himself, and his family at risk. Mortensen has the emotional depth and the physical stamina to play such a challenging role.
While these gems have not yet been adapted, give it a few years. We’ll see what Hollywood can do.