Novelists and short story writers are to thank for several of the more inventive movies that’ve come out in 2016. “Elle,” a haunting story about fear, anxiety, and triumph after assault, is based on the novel Oh... by Philippe Djian; “Arrival” is based on a short story by sci-fi writer Ted Chiang called “Story of Your Life.”
2017 also promises to be brimming with book adaptations ― the award-winning, the quietly affecting, and the unabashedly sexy. In case you want to get a head start on reading the books first, we’ve rounded up the book-to-screen stories we’re most looking forward to next year.
“Hidden Figures” ― Jan. 6
What’s the story: Already out in limited release, the story of Katherine Johnson, a math whiz who boosted NASA’s progress, is bringing in stunning reviews. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe star.
What it’s based on: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.
“Live by Night” ― Jan. 14
What’s the story: Another that’s already out in major cities, this flick stars Ben Affleck, who wrote and directed the film, too. A 1920s crime drama, it also stars Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning and Sienna Miller.
What it’s based on: Live by Night by Dennis Lehane.
“I Am Not Your Negro” ― Feb. 3
What’s the story: Technically, this film is an adaptation of a book that never was. James Baldwin told his literary agent that he’d planned to write the story of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Malcolm X’s and Medgar Evers’ assassinations. This documentary picks up where Baldwin left off.
What it’s based on: Remember This House, a book that was never written, by James Baldwin.
“Fifty Shades Darker” ― Feb. 10
What’s the story: Just when you thought he couldn’t get any greyer, Christian’s brooding gets turned up a notch, and Anastasia is totally into it. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan star again.
What it’s based on: Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James.
“Before I Fall” ― March 3
What’s the story: An adaptation of a thrilling YA book, “Before I Fall” follows protagonist Sam on a “Groundhog Day”–like journey, reliving the last, fatal day of her life as she tries to make sense of her own death.
What it’s based on: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.
“The Sense of an Ending” ― March 10
What’s the story: If the film is anything like the Booker Prize–winning book its based on, it’ll be a subtle reflection on the passing of time, and the people who touch us over the course of our lives. Jim Broadbent will star as an aging man who learns the truth about a friend from his youth.
What it’s based on: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.
“Wonder” ― April 7
What’s the story: Jacob Tremblay — whom you may remember from his performance in “Room” — plays a boy with a facial deformity. As in “Room,” “Wonder” is about the boy’s relationship with his parents, and how they learn and grow from each other.
What it’s based on: Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
“The Lost City of Z” ― April 21
What’s the story: In 1925, explorer Percy Fawcett disappeared on the last of many trips he took to the Amazon, in search of evidence of a lost civilization. Charlie Hunnam will star in the on-screen version of his story.
What it’s based on: The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann.
“The Circle” ― April 28
What’s the story: Tom Hanks plays a mega-startup mogul and Emma Watson one of its new employees in a dystopian story about privacy ― the need for it, and the ramifications of diminishing it.
What it’s based on: The Circle by Dave Eggers.
“The Dinner” ― May 5
What’s the story: Over several courses shared at a restaurant, two families ― that of a teacher and that of his brother, a politician ― meet to talk about a crime that’s been committed by their sons. The resulting dark commentary stars Richard Gere and Laura Linney.
What it’s based on: The Dinner by Herman Koch.
“My Cousin Rachel” ― May 5
What’s the story: Daphne Du Maurier knows how to write a sinister story set in a large, foreboding house. In My Cousin Rachel ― originally adapted to film in 1952, and again as a miniseries in 1983 ― a man plans to murder his cousin, played by Rachel Weisz.
What it’s based on: My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier.
“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” ― May 12
What’s the story: Guy Ritchie (“Snatch,” “Sherlock Holmes”) takes on King Arthur, a story Hollywood loves to retell, this time starring Charlie Hunnam. This installment is of the sword-in-the-stone variety; Arthur realizes his power after completing the impossible feat.
What it’s based on: Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory.
“Everything, Everything” ― May 19
What’s the story: Amandla Stenberg stars as Maddy Whittier, a young girl who is, as the story’s title suggests, allergic to everything. Leaving the confines of her home would be dangerous, but when a new neighbor moves in, she finds she has reason to.
What it’s based on: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.
“The Dark Tower” ― July 28
What’s the story: Stephen King’s books, we’ve learned, lend themselves well to on-screen adaptation. In what he’s described as a sequel to his beloved sci-fi Western series, Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey will star.
What it’s based on: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
“The Mountain Between Us” ― Oct. 20
What’s the story: Idris Elba will star in another major adaptation next year, this time opposite Kate Winslet, in the story of a pair marooned on a mountain after a plane crash.
What it’s based on: The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin.
“Murder on the Orient Express” ― Nov. 22
What’s the story: Kenneth Branagh (”Hamlet,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” aka the best Harry Potter adaptation) is directing an Agatha Christie story, starring Daisy Ridley. We’re in.
What it’s based on: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.
More adapted films to look forward to, but without slated release dates:
“Annihilation,” “Thank You for Your Service,” and “The Glass Castle.”