7 book to screen adaptations to look forward to in 2016

2016 looks like being an exciting year for book to screen adaptations. Here are a few of the films / TV productions I’m looking forward to seeing in the next twelve months.

War and Peace

This adaptation has already started in the UK and I’m absolutely hooked. I binge-watched all the 1970s TV series recently, and I was interested to see how the two versions would compare. I wish they could take the best bits of both and merge them – the brilliant Anthony Hopkins as Pierre Bezuhov in the 70s version, for example, and the stunning location shots in eastern Europe in the present series – but War and Peace is one of my favourite books of all time (it’s absolutely gripping, and not hard going at all!) and I’m loving Lily James as Natasha in this series. I’m halfway through the series and the last episode I watched – where Natasha meets Andrei Bolkonsky – was brilliant.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Lily James stars again in this film. I’d only ever seen her as Rose in Downton Abbey before, but she’s great as Natasha in War and Peace, and you forget about her ever having played Rose. I’m really looking forward to seeing her as a warrior Elizabeth Bennett, especially as her boyfriend in real life – Matt Smith – plays Mr Collins. Apparently when Darcy proposes, in this version Lizzie rejects him by giving him a right good kicking. And Mr Wickham looks well wicked, too.

Lots of blood and gore, but I think the horror is more tongue-in-cheek and I should be able to take it :)



The Legend of Tarzan

Strictly speaking, this isn’t a film of the book, as it’s not based on the original Tarzan of the Apes, by Egdar Rice Burroughs. Apparently it’s a sequel, and in this story, Tarzan and his wife Jane have been happily married and living a civilised life for years as Lord and Lady Greystoke, but political shenanigans mean Tarzan is forced to return to the Congo and his former life in the jungle. I don’t know much more than that, except that from the trailer it looks totally bonkers.

Can’t wait!

The Night Manager

The Night Manager is a new TV series based on the classic spy/detective novel by John le Carré, in which a former British soldier – who now works as the night manager of a hotel in Cairo – becomes embroiled in a hunt for arms dealers, including “the worst man in the world”. I love le Carré’s thrillers, and this version has some great actors: Olivia Coleman, Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and David Harewood, to name a few. It should be a great series (as long as I can work out what on earth is going on – something I haven’t always managed to do watching le Carré adaptations.)


Poldark, series 2

The second series is based on Jeremy Poldark and Warleggan, books three and four in Winston Graham’s Poldark series. Aidan Turner gallops across our screens again. Brilliant. And there’s a fleeting glimpse of him brooding in this BBC trailer.

The Circle

The Circle is based on the book by the same name, by Dave Eggers. It’s about a woman who goes to work at a tech corporation – something like a mix of FB, Twitter, Paypal. Google, Instagram, etc, all rolled into it. At first everything seems brilliant. It’s a great company to work for, fabulous offices, they reward their staff, etc, etc. Then it becomes apparent that the company is spying on everything that everyone is doing. It’s a little bit close to home and true to life. Should be an interesting film. Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This is the film based on the book by Newt Scamander (aka J.K. Rowling), and it’s a spin-off of the Harry Potter series. I’m a massive fan of everything J.K. Rowling does. She wrote the screenplay to this film (honestly, where does she find time??)  The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, and it starts 70 years before the Harry Potter series.

* * *

Are you looking forward to seeing any of these productions? Have you read any of the books they’re based on? Are there any other adaptations coming up this year that you’re looking forward to?

If you have any comments at all, I’d love ot hear from you!

32 thoughts on “7 book to screen adaptations to look forward to in 2016

  1. I’m loving War and Peace too, Helena but I’ve still to watch the most recent episode! Not so keen on a zombie version of P&P and I’ll definitely want to see the JKR one.


    1. Hi Stephanie, I think this book started the zombie mash up craze. I haven’t actually read the book yet, but lots of people have told me it’s a good read. Looking forward to seeing the film. You’re right – nothing’s off limits now!


  2. What sometimes concerns me is the amount of occasions in which an older character or story is recycled – in this case we have WAR AND PEACE, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, TARZAN and POLDARK. It sometimes seems like the whole industry (to the casual viewer, at least) is cannibalizing itself.

    I don’t altogether dislike this, and know I’m making a generalization (DEUTSCHLAND 83 is extremely good, I understand) but, while SHERLOCK is also an exceptionally good piece of TV, the lead characters are nevertheless about 130 years old…


    1. There’s also The Jungle Book, one of Disney’s many remakes of their animations. While this new version sticks closer to Rudyard Kipling’s original book, King Louie still makes an appearance (although he’s now a gigantopithicus rather than an orang-utan)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi James, I do get your point. Film companies often go with a safe classic – something they know will get an audience. To be fair, though, there are a couple of new things on the list – The Circle, and I think the le Carre novel is fairly recent (although you could argue that le Carre is also a fairly safe bet). In the grand scheme of things, Harry Potter isn’t that old and became a sensation even before JK Rowling had finished writing the series. And it’s good to see she’s pretty much left HP behind now and has reinvented herself as Galbraith.
    I don’t mind revisiting the old classics, as long as there’s something fresh about them. I was disappointed in the new Star Wars film because it didn’t do anything new.
    Thanks for your interesting comment. Made me think about my list!


  4. Thanks so much for this list. I imagine most of these films/TV series will be available in the US? I’m surprised too at how the entertainment industry often go back to the well to bring out sequels of winning movies, but it seems it’s like authors who write a series because readers come back to see what’s happening next. All the movie promotion/marketing (some extending back to the Victorian days!) was done previously and the viewers are ready. I didn’t see Star Wars, but all the hype about it was tiresome. I’ve only watched bits of it with my grandsons. Films are so violent these days. I liked Star Trek…always a good story behind all the sci-fi.


    1. Hi JQ, yes, everything will be available in the US. The only one I’m not sure about is The Night Manager, but I imagine it will be as the actor David Harewood came to fame in Homeland.
      You’re right about writers producing series more and more often now. I think it’s agents and publishers who prefer it. I’ve heard it’s a lot easier to get your first book published if it’s the first in a series that will hook readers in.
      I adored the original Star Trek but haven’t seen much of any of the later series, even though I love Jean Luc Picard and he’s from Yorkshire (although you’d never tell at all from his accent!)


  5. There also the new adaptation of The Jungle Book with Ben Kingsley as Bagheera and Bill Murray as Baloo.

    Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter along with the rest of Underland are back in Alice Through the Looking Glass.


  6. Seems like 19th century literature is all the rage this year.

    In the last 6 months alone we’ve had Dickensian, War & Peace, The Jungle Book and Alice Through the Looking Glass in addition to Zombified Pride & Prejudice and Love & Friendship which is sort of based on Lady Susan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Eli, yes, there’s a lot of 19th century in there! James Christie also commented on the number of older classics that were coming out this year. Perhaps film companies are less willing to take a risk on something new.
      I’ve now watched The Night Manager – which is one of the few 20th c books on the list – and it was excellent. One of the best things I’ve seen this year. I really enjoyed War and Peace, too, and have heard good things about Love & Friendship. Looking forward to seeing it soon.
      Thanks so much for your comment!


  7. It’s slightly refreshing we have so many adaptations of classic literature this year especially in our age of talent shows, superheroes and giant robots.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Alice Through the Looking Glass (I know a lot of people weren’t crazy about Alice) as unmanly as it sounds and Jungle Book was quite entertaining.I never got the chance to see Pride Prejudice & Zombies (mainly because our cinema wasn’t showing it due to the over clogging of showtimes for Deadpool and the recent Dad’s Army movie). and I’ve heard good things about War & Peace.


    1. I haven’t seen Alice Through the Looking Glass yet, Jezza. I’m glad you enjoyed it, as I was in two minds. And I’m looking forward to seeing The Jungle Book. I can highly recommend War and Peace. It was brilliant. I don’t know if it’s available on iPlayer any more. You may have to buy it now if you want to watch it, but it really was excellent.
      It’s been a good year so far for film and TV shows. Thanks very much for dropping in, and the recommendation for Alice!


      1. It doesn’t hurt that Mia Wasikowska, the girl who plays Alice, is really beautiful.

        The legacy, if there is such a thing, for the 2010 Alice in Wonderland is exactly why we have so many of these live action fairytales and fantasy book adaptations like Maleficent and The Jungle Book.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And it never hurts having Johnny Depp in a film, either! :) I enjoy a lot of the live action fairytales. Into the Woods is another example. Looking forward to seeing The Jungle Book.


  8. Also coming up in 2016 is a Christmas edition of Grantchester, based on James Runcie’s Grantchester Mysteries saga. James Norton has had one Hell of a year thus far. Even though his portrayal of War & Peace’s Andrei Bolkonsky was described as a Russian Mr Darcy, it’s James Norton’s turn as a 1950s crime fighting vicar in Grantchester that’s got women hot under the collar.


    1. That’s exciting about the Christmas Grantchester edition. I know what you mean about the Darcy comparison. They are both aloof characters but from what I remember of War and Peace (the novel) Andrei Bolkonsky was even more reserved than Darcy. Even though I loved James Norton in the role I thought perhaps he was a bit too young and not “distant” enough. But Bolkonsky is my all-time favourite hero so perhaps no one can live up to my imagination :)
      Looking forward to Grantchester. Thanks for your comment, and for dropping in!


  9. Another “major” family book adaptation this year came in the form of the Mark Rylance fronted The BFG. A major story in Britain, Stateside no so much. It’s interesting how the core dynamic for The BFG, and the similar in tone Pete’s Dragon remake, is pretty much the same (the bond between a small child and an enormous creature). Maybe that’s why The BFG was upstaged by the dragon in the States.


    1. Hi Harv, I still haven’t seen the BFG yet. It’s had excellent reviews here in the UK and I love Mark Rylance. I’m really looking forward to seeing it. You’re right, Pete’s Dragon hasn’t been as popular here and isn’t as well known. Interesting that the films have the same premise. Thanks very much for your comment, and for dropping in!


  10. Another highlight for book adaptations this year was Miss Peregrine’s (or rather Tim Burton’s) Home for Peculiar Children. A family film with a finale clearly inspired by Jason & the Argonaughts.

    Surprisingly, being a Tim Burton film, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are nowhere to be seen yet Tim’s Big Eyes muse Terrance Stamp and his Dark Shadows muse Eva Green are present.


    1. Hi Jack, I’m a big fan of Tim Burton but I still haven’t seen this film. The finale sounds brilliant! I’m also a big fan of Terence Stamp. I really look forward to catching up with this one!
      Thanks so much for dropping in, and for your comment!


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