17 Books Coming to TV and Film in 2019
Plan your binge viewing accordingly
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The one thing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, my grandmother, and every 17–22 year old girl in the country can agree on is that Timothée Chalamet represents a new golden age of film adaptations. After Call Me By Your Name premiered last year, nearly everybody I know picked up a copy of André Aciman’s tear-jerking novel, if for no other reason than to understand how the peach scene was rendered on the page. (The answer? Markedly less shocking than the toilet scene, but you’ll have to read the book to see for yourself.) I was just thrilled to see unusual suspects throwing themselves into literature — which was, for some, the first time in years. After CMBYN’s sweeping success, it seems Hollywood took notes: nearly every huge indie flick and box office blockbuster we’ve seen this year sourced its screenplay on a book. Before the year is out, be sure to check out such budding-cult phenomena as Crazy Rich Asians, Love, Simon, Ready Player One, Annihilation, Boy Erased, To All The Boys I Loved Before, Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time, and of course, Chalamet’s Oscar-grabby performance in Beautiful Boy, and read the books that inspired them! 2019 is ushering in a whole new wave of adaptations that you’ll surely want to get abreast of! Check them out below.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Release Date: March 22, 2019
After the Before trilogy and Boyhood, I trust Richard Linklater with any and all off-beat romantic comedies, and with Cate Blanchett as the agoraphobic genius at the heart of Maria Semple’s novel, this adaptation is sure to be a riot. Kristen Wiig and Judy Greer round out the perfect comic cast.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Release Date: Early 2019
With shows like The Good Place and Westworld still topping the streaming charts, it seems existential despair is the hottest entertainment property right now. Further stoking our communal weltschmerz will be this Amazon series of Gaiman’s uproarious apocalypse book. Sci-fi vets David Tennant (Doctor Who) and Michael Sheen (Passengers, Tron) are joined by Jon Hamm, who proved his own dystopian chops in my personal favorite Black Mirror episode, “White Christmas.”
Chaos Walking (The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness)
Release Date: March 1, 2019
After we all collectively mourned the tragic death of sweet, innocent Spiderman in the latest Avengers installment, the gods seem to have answered our prayers: Tom Holland is gracing us with another role. Somehow, the producers got Charlie Kaufman to write this YA screenplay, so expect something deeply sinister and nihilistic to underscore the action. Hard to fathom the man behind Anomalisa and Synecdoche, New York adapting a plot written for teenagers, but I’m not complaining. This will definitely be a sight to behold. Plus, who doesn’t want an onscreen romance between Peter Parker and Star Wars’ resident badass Rey?
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Release Date: August 9, 2019
Sir Kenneth Branagh is directing Dame Judi Dench. Need I say more? It’s been ages since all my elementary school classmates collectively came of age with this beloved series, but I couldn’t be more thrilled to bathe in the nostalgia. Don’t lie, when you read the books you too were convinced you were a child criminal mastermind. Just me? Well, in that case, see the film for those bloody good Irish accents.
It Chapter 2 by Stephen King
Release Date: September 6, 2019
While I found the first film to be… underwhelming, I know I was in the microscopic minority. People went crazy for the (allegedly) spine-chilling blockbuster. For some reason (where were my parents?) I got my hands on the book when I was in fifth grade and, after reading the bathtub scene, didn’t sleep for three weeks. With this foundation, when I saw the movie at a special pre-release screening in theaters last year, I found it to be distinctly un-scary and a disservice to King’s talent. Nevertheless, I’ll be giving Hollywood a second shot with the sequel, in which Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy supplant Sophia Lillis and Jaeden Lieberher as likeable power duo Beverly and Bill.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Release date: October 4, 2019
The second story on this list about a woman with agoraphobia, the Hitchcockian New York Times Bestseller Woman in the Window boasts none of the levity and mirth of Linklater’s Bernadette. Child psychologist Anna Fox (Amy Adams) witnesses something horrifying while spying on her neighbors, launching her into a maelstrom of crime and darkness. Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman costar.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Release Date: October 19, 2019
Everybody’s choice book club book from 2013 is hitting the big screen, folks. I’m eager to see what stacked ensemble Sarah Paulson, Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort, and Luke Wilson bring to the celebrated Pulitzer Prize winner.
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Release Date: November 8, 2019
More Kenneth Branagh, in case anyone besides me cares. More importantly though, more Agatha Christie! Branagh follows up Murder on the Orient Express as Poirot in Christie’s classic whodunnit.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Release Date: TBA
I haven’t the slightest clue how they intend to cinemafy Heller’s postmodern satire (although it’s been attempted before), but I do know George Clooney does charismatic antihero as well as anyone. Christopher Abbott, otherwise known as my sexual awakening Charlie Dattolo in HBO’s Girls (r.i.p. Charnie/Marlie), will be playing the befuddled bombardier Captain John Yossarian. Coming to Hulu sometime next year, so be sure to snag your ex’s mom’s login info to stream it.
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
Release Date: TBA
Truth be told, I haven’t read the book for which Lethem won the National Book Critics Circle Award, but I loved Fortress of Solitude and I feel like that gives me substantiated right to speak on the matter. Also, since it won the award, some people probably thought it was pretty good. Also also, Bruce Willis, who’s starring alongside writer/director Ed Norton, Alec Baldwin, and Willem Dafoe, lives in my hometown.
Cats: The Musical! (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot)
Release Date: December 20, 2019
Okay, I’ll be honest again since I’ve set the precedent for that above. I think Cats! is a heinous abomination and nobody should ever pay to see it on Broadway. Don’t @ me. Andrew Lloyd Webber, you did something unconscionable to T.S. Eliot and I do not forgive you. Listen, I’m also bitter because Universal was slated to release Wicked instead, but the seminal Oz story has been reportedly pushed back. Regardless, every time I read something about the Cats! movie it’s somehow more shocking than the last. Ian McKellen, James Corden, and Idris Elba in feline suits? Plus Taylor Swift’s in it, who recently broke her silence against white supremacy, so I guess we can like her again? While the jury’s still out on Swift’s cultural absolution, we can at least thank God that Jennifer Hudson will portray Grizabella. I already know what I’ll be listening to on my morning commutes next winter. Meeeemory, all alone in the mooooonliight…
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Release Date: December 25, 2018
It’s like Greta Gerwig got my Christmas list a year early. Emma Watson as Meg? Timothée Chalamet as Laurie? MERYL STREEP AND LAURA DERN AS AUNT AND MARMEE MARCH?! I’m proverbially salivating. Been psyched for this one ever since Chalamet posted a behind-the-scenes shot of repeat-costar Saoirse Ronan on set.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Release Date: TBA
Another NYT bestseller. Though Netflix’s IMDb description of this YA flick reads like a tweet spoofing John Green — “The story of Violet Markey and Theodore Finch, who meet and change each other’s lives forever. As they struggle with the emotional and physical scars of their past, they come together, discovering that even the smallest places and moments can mean something” — I’m game for everything Elle Fanning does.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Release Date: April 5, 2019
In spite of my disappointment after It, I’ve got a good feeling about this Stephen King adaptation. Should be fun to watch John Lithgow use a Native American burial ground to resurrect the Creed’s dead cat.
Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
Release Date: March 22, 2019
Advertised as “perfect for fans of The Fault in Our Stars” so prepare accordingly, Five Feet Apart follows the tragic star-crossed love story of two cystic fibrosis patients, Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson, after they meet in the hospital. In the trailer, Stella (Richardson) declares, “This whole time I’ve been living for my treatment, instead of doing my treatment so that I can live, and I want to live.” Yikes. Readying my tissues and suspension of cynicism now.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Release Date: January 25, 2019
The story of two sisters struggling to survive amidst the German occupation of France during World War II, this triumphant historical fiction novel spent nearly a year on NPR’s Hardcover Bestseller List.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Release Date: TBA
Last but certainly not least — in fact, the bullet point about which I am personally most excited — Oscar winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) is developing an eleven-episode series for Amazon based upon Whitehead’s novel of the same name. Jenkins just debuted his first book-to-screen adaptation at festivals this year: the critically acclaimed tour-de-force after James Baldwin’s If Beale Streat Could Talk which hits major theaters nationwide December 14th. If you haven’t already, read Whitehead’s heart-wrenching, erudite, revolutionary Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner ASAP. The release date for the film has yet to be disclosed, so the clock’s ticking!