Hollywood has spent decades making money off the business of books. In many ways, authors have become the new screenwriters considering the ongoing trend of literary works being adapted into feature films.
We’ve seen it pay off in a big way on countless occasions with book-to-box-office hits like The Color Purple and Hunger Games, and the trend continues with upcoming projects like the planned FX series for Octavia E. Butler’s sci-fi classic, Kindred.
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Here’s some more info on FX’s version of Kindred that was reported on earlier this year, via Variety:
“Picked up as a pilot in March 2021, the eight-episode sci-fi show centers on Dana (newcomer Mallori Johnson), a young Black woman and aspiring writer who has uprooted her life of familial obligation and relocated to Los Angeles, ready to claim a future that, for once, feels all her own. But, before she can get settled into her new home, she finds herself being violently pulled back and forth in time to a nineteenth-century plantation with which she and her family are surprisingly and intimately linked. An interracial romance threads through her past and present, and the clock is ticking as she struggles to confront the secrets she never knew ran through her blood, in this genre-breaking exploration of the ties that bind.”
Other recent book adaptations in addition to Butler’s time-traveling thriller include a Blumhouse production of Joe Hill’s 2004 short horror story, The Black Phone, plus a film version of A.S. Byatt’s short story, The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, this time titled as Three Thousand Years Of Longing and starring Idris Elba.
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Of course, all this literary talk got us thinking about the endless amount of books published over the years that would transition perfectly on the big screen. To save you some time though, we narrowed the list down to a solid 8 picks.
Keep scrolling to see the 8 books we believe could also be blockbuster hits in theaters. Let us know if you agree:
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1. ‘The Sweetness of Water’ by Nathan Harris
Set during Reconstruction, this is a potential period piece that we can definitely get behind.
2. ‘The Girl at the Back of the Bus: An absolutely heart-wrenching historical novel’ by Suzette D. Harrison
As many of us are aware, the story of segregated buses didn’t begin or end with Rosa Parks. This page-turner would do a good job at displaying that fact on the big screen.
3. ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison
Sparking conversations on Black identity since the 1950s, this Ellison classic has been deserving of a film adaptation for decades.
4. ‘Moon Witch, Spider King’ by Marlon James
A series of books dubbed as the “African Game Of Thrones.” Count us in!
5. ‘Dreams From My Father’ by Barack Obama
Obama is sure to have countless biopics made on his life as the years move on, but getting one dynamic feature based on his autobiography would truly put his captivating story of success into perspective.
6. ‘Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir’ by Ashley C. Ford
Being that we all deal with family trauma on some level, this chilling memoir on the subject could open up a lot of doors for healing if given the Hollywood treatment.
7. ‘The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois’ by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
The African-American family dynamic is explored with love and honesty throughout this novel over the span of generations, using the literary style of Du Bois to tie ancestors into the picture. We already got the popcorn and tissues ready.
8. ‘The Bluest Eye’ by Toni Morrison
This one might be too deep for theaters, but the success of Precious in 2009 gives hope that one day a director will be brave enough to turn this heartbreaking tale of racism, abuse and self identity into an award-worthy movie.