10 Books With Epic Movie Potential

I was inspired by the blog post and ongoing conversation over at A Little Book of Blogs about the best book to film adaptations.  I started thinking about the best (and worst) movies I’ve seen based on books.  I actually started writing a blog post including a list of my faves, but while writing it I realized that most my favorite book-to-movies are pretty obvious (The Shining, The Silence of the Lambs, Fight Club, Blade Runner, etc.) and have been heavily discussed all over the internets already. This made me begin to think of all the great un-movied books, which are sitting on my shelves and just begging to be made into epic films.

1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

A terrifying documentary analyzed in obsessive detail by a blind man?  A house which seems to be growing extra rooms and hallways?  An addict falling into madness?  How has this not been turned into a bizarre and creative masterpiece of a film?

2.  Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem

This hard-boiled detective novel is set in a twisted, dystopian future where intelligent animals live as (to some degree) equals in human society.  Gun, with Occasional Music is begging to be one of the coolest mystery movies ever made.

3.  The Children’s Hospital by Chris Adrian

The world ends, and who does god save?  The staff and patients of a children’s hospital, which elevates above a flood-filled world.  Angels, plagues, nefarious youth…  All the makings of a great film are included in this book.

4.  The Dublin Murder Squad books by Tana French

Tana French is one of the best mystery writers living today, and her books are each vivid tales with their own unusual settings (the woods, a creepy house full of young and attractive youth, abandoned track housing, the rough spot in town).  Her Dublin Murder Squad cops practically step off the page and into the real world.  Great actors and actresses could make each of these parts oozy with emotion and amazing to watch.

5.  Rebecca by Daphne Dumarier

I know, I know.  This classic has already been a movie, a play, a TV series, and an opera (really).  This just means the story is that good, and we are due for a modern remake.

6.  The Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

This was one of the best books I read last year, and I think this type of complicated antihero tale set against the lush backdrop of Florida would make a painful, powerful, memorable film.

7.  The Delivery Man by Joe McGuiness

Film rights supposedly sold years ago for this glimpse into the world of the young, surprisingly innocent deviants of Las Vegas.

8.  Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless

Wendy Lawless recalls her mother’s sociopathic behavior.  Even though this is a memoir, much of the stuff is hard to believe and definitely worth building a film around.  Chanel Bonfire, the movie, could be the adaptation that Running with Scissors was meant to be.

9.  Oh the Glory of It All by Sean Wilsey

In the same category as Chanel Bonfire, Oh the Glory of It All is Sean Wilsey’s memoir of growing up with an insane San Francisco socialite for a mother.  This is a sprawling book which would need some heavy editing for a film version, but Wilsey’s emotional struggles and process of healing are uniquely relevant to the modern struggle of every adolescent who has been given every opportunity but taken none.

10.  State of Wonder by Anne Patchett

Hidden deep in the rainforest of Brazil, a pharmaceutical company’s research doctor has gone rogue.  A woman is sent to find her.  I’m imagining this as an Apocalypse Now meets Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

What books do you think are begging for movie adaptations?

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