By Cady Drell
Some of the most beloved movies ever made actually had books as their source material (think The Godfather, The Help, Forrest Gump, The Notebook), even if the movies became more popular as time went on. And 2019 has a batch of films that may very well outlast the stories they're based on. (Well, maybe except for Little Women, though this adaptation looks really good.) Here are 15 of our favorite books getting turned into movies in 2019. We’ll update as more are announced.
1. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (January 26)
This Netflix movie, which stars Zach Efron as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, is actually inspired by the book The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy by Elizabeth Kendall. Kendall, who dated Bundy, describes his increasingly erratic and violent behavior up until his arrest for the murder of what would turn out to be more than 30 women. Though the book sounds like a shocking read, good luck getting your hands on it: Since it hasn’t been reprinted since its initial 1981 publishing, original used copies on Amazon go for nearly $2,000. But at least you can see the movies on Netflix!
2. The Aftermath (March 15)
Based on the 2013 Rhidian Brook novel of the same name, The Aftermath stars Keira Knightley, a woman in post-WWII Hamburg who has moved there with her husband, who’s been charged with overseeing the rebuilding of the city. When they begin sharing their new home with its former inhabitants, a widower played by Alexander Skarsgård, things start to heat up. We love Keira Knightley in a steamy costume drama, so sign us up.
3. The Best of Enemies (April 5)
The Best of Enemies—which takes its title from and was based on the 2007 book by Osha Gray Davidson—follows a story that seems too wild to be true: In 1971, a summit was gathered to discuss desegregating schools in Durham, North Carolina. Its organizers were the unlikely duo of C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), head of the local KKK chapter, and Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson), a well-known civil rights leader, who somehow became friends despite being on completely opposite sides of the political divide.
4. Pet Sematary (April 5)
Based on the terrifying Stephen King novel, this film follows a family who moves to the woods and, upon losing their pet cat, decide to bury it in a cemetery they find in the woods. And then the cat comes back...but it’s different this time. When a tragedy strikes, the father (played by Jason Clarke) makes a very bad choice.
5. After (April 12)
A story that started out as fanfiction has once again become a phenomenon. This time, it was Anna Todd’s Harry Style fan-fic, initially published on the site Wattpad, that became the book After. That, in turn, became the movie of the same name, which follows goody-goody Tessa (played by Josephine Langford) who goes off to college and meets bad boy Hardin Scott (Hero Fienne-Tiffin), the man who changes her world forever.
6. The Sun Is Also a Star (May 17)
As Jamaican-born Natasha (Yara Shahidi) fights her family’s deportation on what may very well be her last day in the U.S., she meets Daniel (Charles Melton), about to go off to college. The two of them spend a beautiful day together in New York City, and come to understand how fate has played a hand in their falling for each other. Based on the book of the same name by Nicola Yoon.
7. The Kitchen (August 9)
It’s not actually a book, but a DC graphic novel, that inspired the thrilling-looking new movie The Kitchen. Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss, and Tiffany Haddish play three mob wives in 1978, in the New York City neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. whose husbands are sent to jail. That leaves them all financially in a tough spot, until they decide to take over their partners’ rackets.
8. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (August 9)
The horror anthology written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell—you know, the one every '90s kid loved to freak themselves out with—is coming to the big screen. While that theoretically sounds like it could be silly, monster movie mastermind Guillermo del Toro is responsible for the screenplay—and judging by the trailer, there will be some genuinely horrifying monsters coming to life in this adaptation. Is this supposed to be for kids?!
9. Where’d You Go Bernadette (August 16)
It’ll be hard to top Maria Semple’s hilarious novel about a quirky mom who disappears while her daughter and husband desperately search for her (yes, it’s funny!), but the pedigree for this movie just might do the trick: Cate Blanchett stars as Bernadette, Billy Crudup as her husband, and Richard Linklater (the mastermind behind Boyhood and Dazed and Confused) is directing. We can’t wait.
10. The Woman in the Window (October 4)
Amy Adams plays Anna Fox, the Rear Window-like lead of this movie, based on the bestselling novel by A.J. Finn. Fox is a bit of a shut-in, spending her days in her apartment drinking wine and spying on her neighbors—in particular, the idealistic Russell family across the way. But when she sees something that defies simple explanation, she has to decide how involved she wants to get in the lives of people she hardly knows.
11. The Goldfinch (October 11)
If you’ve read Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch, you know it might be a tricky one to adapt. But the trailer for the film, which stars Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, and Finn Wolfhard, looks like it strikes just the right tone of moody, thrilling, and impressionistic. Read the book before the movie comes out.
12. The Good Liar (November 15)
Dame Helen Mirren can do no wrong, and her turn in this film—about an aging con, played by Sir Ian McKellan, who tries to turn one over on a rich widow he met online—looks delectable. It’s a take on the book by Nicholas Searle, which is part love story and part cat-and-mouse thriller.
13. The Rhythm Section (November 22)
Blake Lively stars in this intense film—based on the equally intense book by Mark Burnell—about a woman whose entire family dies in a plane crash. She decides to track down the people responsible, but is it a conspiracy or is her grief getting the best of her?
14. Cats (December 20)
Okay, so this star-studded movie is technically based on a Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. But the musical is based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Books of Practical Cats, a collection of cute cat poems. The film, which is going to be done in motion capture, will star the voices of Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, and a bunch of other megastars.
15. Little Women (December 25)
Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age novel about a group of sisters was published nearly a 150 years ago, and yet remains one of the most beloved books of all time. Though it’s been adapted well in the past, this version—which is directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlon, Florence Pugh, and Timothée Chalamet—looks to be particularly swoon-worthy.
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