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Things We Love: When the Books You Love Come to Life On-screen (Unless the Book is Way Better...)

November's Book to Screen Adaptations

By Beth Clark • November 09, 2018

Late 2018/Early 2019 Book to Screen Releases

2018 may be winding down, but there are still some epic book to screen releases left to go before it does, plus a couple of early 2019 adaptation releases you won't want to miss. November and December's premieres include The Front Runner, Holmes and Watson, the newest Grinch, Mary Queen of Scots, Mortal Engines, Mary Poppins Returns + more!

The Front Runner—November 6, 2018

The book: All the Truth is Out by Matt Bai

The week "politics went tabloid" was in May 1987. Gary Hart was a handsome, charming, articulate, and progressive presidential candidate who was ahead of George H. W. Bush in the polls and had a real shot at the Democratic nomination for president. And all went up in flames after a party on 'Monkey Business,' Hart's not-so-presidentially-named yacht. His affair with model Donna Rice was outed, and Bai superbly demonstrates how the event gave rise to the 24-hour news cycle, tabloid speculation, and late-night mockery, making it the historical pivot point when a candidate's character came before their experience, private lives became public, news became entertainment, and politics got even dirtier.

Holmes and Watson—November 9, 2018

The book: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

With Will Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes, John C. Reilly as Watson, and Etan Cohen directing, this movie puts a whole new twist on Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective series. Holmes and Watson have four days to solve a murder at Buckingham Palace, or Queen Victoria gets it next.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas—November 9, 2018

The book: How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Most of us are familiar with the classic Dr. Seuss story of how the Grinch, who lives a solitary existence in a cave on Mount Crumpet, pretends to be Santa Claus and steal Christmas from the Whos down in Whoville with the help of his loyal dog, Max, silencing their incessant holiday cheer for good. So, what does the 2018 screen adaptation have that its predecessors didn't'? Two words: Benedict. Cumberbatch. As the Grinch, of course. Plus Angela Lansbury as the Mayor of Whoville, Rashida Jones as Donna Lou Who, Pharrell Williams as the Narrator, and Audrey Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss, as Executive Producer, all put together and animated by Illumination Entertainment, of Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets fame. Your heart will definitely grow three sizes that day.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald—November 16, 2018

The book: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

If you saw the first Fantastic Beasts movie (and if you haven't, it's a must watch!), you'll recall that Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) captured Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) at the end, thanks to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Since then, however, Grindelwald escaped and has made serious progress on his true agenda, which is raising pureblood wizards up to rule over the non-magical beings of the world, and he's managed to gather an impressive following, most of whom have no idea what he's really up to.

The Little Drummer Girl—November 19, 2018

The book: The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré

In this six epsiode mini-series on AMC, Florence Pugh, Alexander Skarsgård, and Michael Shannon add even more brilliance and depth to John le Carré's already phenomenal and riveting New York Times bestselling novel about espionage in the Middle East, with British aspiring-actress-turned-double-agent Charlie at the center.

If Beale Street Could Talk—November 30, 2018

The book: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

The realistically harsh story of a talented young artist named Fonny who is unjustly arrested and incarcerated evokes powerful emotions. Anger and pain are prevalent throughout, but love is the strongest, through the affirmative of love that Fonny's girlfriend Tish has for him and the sustaining love of the black family. While her man is locked in New York City's notorious Tombs, Tish is determined to free him and have his baby.

Mary Queen of Scots—December 7, 2018

The book: Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy

The upcoming historical drama Mary Queen of Scots stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and Margot Robbie as her rival and first cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. The movie explores the fascinating and sometimes twisted life of Mary Stuart, who became Queen of Scotland when she was six days old and Queen of France at 16 when she married the soon-to-be King Francis II. Widowed at 18, she returned to Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne from her cousin Elizabeth but failed. After resisting pressure to remarry for four years, she finally gave into her infatuation with Henry Stuart – another first cousin. With Scotland and England firmly under the rule of Elizabeth, she viewed Mary as a threat and was infuriated by her marriage to Henry, which ultimately didn't end well for either of the Stuarts. Whether you read the book or see the movie first, Mary Stuart's 44 years of life were fascinating, tragic, and...dramatic.

Mortal Engines—December 14, 2018

The book: Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve

In the violent, darkly funny, romantic, action-filled, contemplative, and terrifying first book of Reeve's Mortal Engines quartet, London is hunting again. Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed. In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage – and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.

Mary Poppins Returns—December 25, 2018

The book: Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins, the beloved nanny who floats down from the clouds with her magic umbrella and back into 1930s London and the lives of adult Jane and Michael Banks after Michael suffers a tragic loss. With Meryl Streep as her cousin Topsy and Lin Manuel-Miranda as her street lamplighter friend Jack, Mary is able to bring joy and wonder back into the lives of the Banks family and Michael's three children.

Watership Down—December 25, 2018

The book: Watership Down by Richard Adams

Thanks to BBC, this beloved classic will come to animated life on Netflix, with the first episode of four airing on Christmas! Set in the once idyllic rural landscape of England's Downs, a band of very special bunnies take flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home and embark on an adventure to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they courageously face the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries on their journey for survival. Sam Smith recorded the show's theme song, and the series includes the voices of James McAvoy, John Boyega, Olivia Colman, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Daniel Kaluuya, and Taron Egerton.

Ashes in the Snow—January 11, 2019

The book: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

According to the Washington Post, "Few books are beautifully written, fewer still are important; this novel is both." Lina is a Lithuanian teen girl living a normal life—until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and sardined onto a packed train, Lina, her younger brother, and their mother are sent to a Siberian work camp and forced to fight for their lives. In documenting the events by drawing them, Lina finds solace in her art, and ultimately risks everything by embedding clues to their location and secretly passing the drawings along with the hope that they'll make their way to her father's prison camp. If you've read the book, then you know whether strength, love, and hope are enough for Lina and her family to survive...but no spoiler alerts!

Other 2019 Book to Screen Releases We're Excited About

Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet by Joanne Proulx – February 22, 2019
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (Kevin Costner as Enzo) – TBA 2019
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (Hulu series) – TBA 2019

Not to fuel the classic debate (because duh, the book is always better than the movie!), but we love hearing your firsthand accounts of WHY it was better, so feel free to comment below or on social media. Oh, and if you don't already follow us, what are you waiting for – join the party!

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