2021 has officially arrived, and it brings with it plenty of new movies and shows. This year in particular promises a ton of great book to screen adaptations. Some of them have been in the works for years (I’m looking at you, Chaos Walking) and some will be brand new to audiences. Here’s just a small sample of what we have to look forward to this year!
The book: Arsene Lupin: The Gentleman Thief by Maurice Leblanc
What it’s about: Assane Diop’s life was turned upside down as a teenager when his father died after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. 25 years later, Assane receives a gift: the book Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar. He uses the book as an inspiration to avenger his father by stealing a necklace that belonged to Marie Antoinette.
Release date: January 8
Resident Alien (SyFy)
What it’s about: An alien crash-lands on Earth and takes on the identity of a small-town Colorado doctor. While attempting to complete his mission, he’s roped into solving a local murder and begins to wrestle with the morality of his situation.
Alan Tudyk is no stranger to sci-fi roles, and his turn here as Captain Hah Re a.k.a. Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle promises to be strange and comic.
Release date: January 27
What it’s about: A year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice returns to the field in the political world of Washington, D.C. to pursue serial killers and sexual predators with the FBI.
Because of the way the rights to Thomas Harris’ characters are split up, the show won’t be mentioning Hannibal Lecter by name. Still, Clarice promises plenty of monsters and murder when it airs next month.
Release date: February 11
Chaos Walking (Lionsgate)
What it’s about: On a planet where women have disappeared and men are afflicted by “the Noise” — something that puts all of their thoughts out in the open — Todd Hewitt discovers Viola when she crash-lands into his town.
This book to screen adaptation has had a rocky road. It was green-lit in 2011 and went through many different directors and screenwriters. Additionally, extensive reshoots were necessary after poor test screenings in 2018. Now, COVID has pushed its release date over two years.
The Knife of Never Letting Go was one of my favorite books as a teen, so my fingers are crossed for this one after a long journey.
Release date: March 5 (for now)
Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
What it’s about: While a young woman with newfound powers struggles to control her abilities, dark magic runs rampant, perpetual darkness reigns and unnatural creatures feast on human flesh. Thieves and assassins, politicians and saints all vie for power in this adaptation from one of YA’s most popular authors.
Netflix’s series will combine events and characters from at least five books, and stars mostly newcomers in the most prominent roles. I’ve devoured everything Leigh Bardugo has written and I’m thrilled to hear how closely involved she is with the creation of the show.
Release date: There’s no specific date in April announced yet, but you can watch the teaser trailer here.
Marry Me (Universal Pictures)
The book: Marry Me by Bobby Crosby
What it’s about: Popstar Kat Valdez is about to marry her partner Bastian in front of millions. But when she finds out seconds before the ceremony that Bastian cheated on her, she instead agrees onstage to marry a fan holding a “Marry Me!” sign in the audience.
Release date: May 14
The Green Knight (A24)
The book: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, author unknown
What it’s about: King Arthur’s headstrong nephew Sir Gawain embarks on a quest to confront the Green Knight, a giant green-skinned stranger and “tester of men.” Gawain faces ghosts, giants and thieves in an effort to prove himself to his family and kingdom.
As a fan of both mythology and Dev Patel, this adaptation has been on my most anticipated list forever. The film recently was rated R for “violence, some sexuality, and graphic nudity,” so it’s anyone’s guess what this will refer to.
Release date: July 30
Dune (Warner Brothers Pictures/HBO Max)
The book: Dune by Frank Herbert
What it’s about: In the distant future, the son of a noble family is entrusted with one of the most valuable assets in the galaxy known as “the spice,” a drug capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential. Of course, things aren’t that easy, and malevolent forces converge to claim the precious resource.
Dune is another movie with a release date that’s been pushed multiple times, but it’s now one of the Warner Brothers films set to drop on HBO Max and theaters on the same day in late 2021.
Release date: October 1
Release Date TBD
The Mysterious Benedict Society (Disney+)
The book: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
What it’s about: An eccentric genius recruits a group of gifted orphans to go undercover at a boarding school called The Institute to stop a scheme for world domination. The series is based on a beloved, best-selling middle-grade novel known for its clever puzzles and riddles. I really enjoyed these books as a kid, and I’m excited to see how they’re adapted for the screen.
There’s Someone Inside Your House (Netflix)
The book: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
What it’s about: Osborne High’s graduating class is targeted by a serial killer. It’s up to a new student and a group of misfits, all with secrets of their own, to stop the killings before they become victims themselves.
The Tragedy of Macbeth (A24)
What it’s about: A trio of witches convinces a Scottish lord that he’s destined to become king. With the help of his ambitious wife, he’ll go to any lengths to seize the crown.
While there are plenty of Shakespeare adaptations out there, director Joel Coen considers the film a sort of thriller. Additionally, composer Carter Burwell says the choice to film entirely on sound stages gives the production a look “untethered from reality” and different from the norm.
Shining Girls (Apple TV+)
The book: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.
What it’s about: A Depression-era Chicago drifter gains the ability to travel through time. But in order to do so, he must murder “shining girls” — bright young women with potential. He stalks his victims through time until one survives, taking on a job as a reporter to bring her attacker to justice.
The novel was published in April 2013. Appian Way, Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, secured the television rights almost immediately.
Who’s starring: So far, Elisabeth Moss is the only announced cast member.
With all this and more, 2021 is officially the year for book to screen adaptations. We have these titles and so many more yet to come. What are your most anticipated books and movies coming out this year?
This article was originally published on 1/5/21
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