February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Page to Screen: Kid & YA Lit Flicks to Look Forward to After ‘The Fault in Our Stars’

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This has been a banner year for movies adapted from children’s and young adult books. With the success of Divergent and The Book Thief, Hollywood continues to tap kid’s books, from classic fairy tales to the latest dystopian. To celebrate the highly the anticipated big screen version of John Green’s best-seller, The Fault in Our Stars (our movie review will post Friday, June 6), starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, SLJ has compiled a list of upcoming projects that will be coming to a theater (or TV) near you.

Coming soon

If_I_Stay_1The recent indignation from fans of Lois Lowry’s Newbery-winning novel, The Giver (Houghton Mifflin, 1993), over the colorful trailer and spaceship chase scene, can now be assuaged. The book is set in a gray-scale postapocalyptic world where Jonas (played by Brenton Thwaites) has been chosen to become the Receiver of Memory. Character posters and a brand-new trailer have continued to build interest and excitement for the film that will hit theaters on August 15.

Gayle Forman’s celebrated YA novel If I Stay (Dutton, 2009), about a talented teen (Chloe Grace Moretz) who has an out-of-body experience while in a coma after a terrible accident, is produced by Warner Bros. and MGM and directed by R.J. Cutler, and it also stars Jamie Blackley as the protagonist’s boyfriend. If I Stay premieres on August 22. Watch the trailer here.

Though the release date for The Maze Runner movie, based on James Dashner’s New York Times best-selling post-apocalyptic novel (Delacorte, 2009) was delayed from February 2014 to September 2014, fans will be happy to know that work has already begun on the sequel’s adaptation. Writer T.S. Nowlin and Director Wes Ball will most likely be on board for the The Scorch Trials as well. The books follow a group of teens stuck in a glade surrounded by monsters and who begin to question and fight against their situation with the arrival of a new boy (Dylan O’Brien). A trailer and movie poster are already available. Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Aml Ameen also star.

And for the younger moviegoers, the animated The Boxtrolls, based on the children’s book Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow (S. & S., 2006), about a young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors, who tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator, will release on September 26. The work is directed by Graham Annable and features voice talents such as Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Isaac Hempstead Wright, and Toni Collette.

The_Hunger_Games _Mockingjay_-_Part_1_2The classic children’s picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (S. & S., 1972) by Judith Viorst gets a live-action adaptation and loose interpretation and is gracing the big screen on October 10. Directed by Miguel Arteta and starring Bella Thorne, Steve Carell, Burn Gorman, Jennifer Garner, the film follows Alexander and his family’s hijinks on a very eventful day, gum in the hair and all.

Of course this compilation wouldn’t be complete without mention of the next “Hunger Games” movie, out November 21. The blockbuster franchise, based on Suzanne Collins’s popular series (Scholastic), continues to star Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks. The next installment, Mockingjay, Part 1, has added a few more stars to the lineup, including Gwendoline Christie (from Game of Thrones), to replace Lily Rabe as rebel leader Commander Lyme.

Highly anticipated

cinderellaA Kenneth Branagh-helmed live-action Cinderella is slated for March 13, 2015. Downton Abbey actress Lily James plays the title character and Richard Madden her Prince Charming. The star-studded cast, including Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, and Stellan Skarsgård, will bring classic rags-to-riches story to life. Here’s teaser trailer to whet fans’ appetite—with the popularity of Once Upon a Time, Frozen, and the recent Maleficent, fairy tale aficionados have much to look forward to in this adaptation.

Following the successful Divergent, based on Veronica Roth’s popular series, Insurgent, opens on March 20, 2015, and the first Allegiant movie will open March 16, 2016. Production on Insurgent started May 27 in Atlanta with Robert Schwentke as director. The film has added another high-profile cast member: Naomi Watts has signed on to play Evelyn, the leader of the Factionless. Watts joins recently announced cast members Octavia Spencer (Johanna, the leader of the Amity faction) and Suki Waterhouse. Lionsgate decided to make two films from the book series’ final title, with the last opening March 24, 2017.

Author Ransom Riggs recently revealed on Twitter that his genre- and format-bending Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Quirk, 2011) is slated for July 31, 2015.

A list of summer ’15 movie releases. (Thanks, @PolishedPage!) #Eeeeeeeee pic.twitter.com/VmaKPqRNOV

— Ransom Riggs (@ransomriggs) May 21, 2014

Sony Pictures has set Goosebumps, starring Jack Black as an R.L. Stine-like author, for a August 7, 2015 release in the U.S. The film, based on the series of gruesome kids’ books, will be directed by Rob Letterman. Dylan Minnette will costar as a kid who moves from New York City to the small town of Greendale, Maryland. Israeli-born Odeya Rush will play the author’s quirky niece who will team up with the new kid to battle the monsters unleashed from her uncle’s works. Ryan Lee will also star.

2014 Judge: Patrick NessAnother scary book will be making it to the big screen in time for Halloween. Patrick Ness’s award-winning A Monster Calls, a novel based on  an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, will release on October 14, 2016.  Liam Neeson is onboard to play the Monster and Felicity Jones will also star. Juan Antonio Bayona is set to direct and Ness is adapting the screenplay from his novel.

Ruta Sepetys’s New York Times best-selling World War II-era novel Between Shades of Gray (Philomel, 2011) has been optioned by Sorrento Productions and Tauras Films. Ben York Jones has written the screenplay and Marius Markevicius will direct. Filming began April 2014. The name of the film will be changed in order to avoid confusion with the upcoming adaptation of EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey. Below is a tweet from the author on the set.

Sophie Nélisse will play the title role in Katherine Paterson’s Newbery Award-winning The Great Gilly Hopkins (Crowell, 1978) about a lively girl who’s been in and out of foster care. She joins an already stellar cast: Glenn Close, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover, and Octavia Spencer. The flick is to be directed by Stephen Herek  and produced by William Teitler. The film started shooting on April 9. David Paterson wrote the screenplay.

On the heels of Green’s The Fault in Our Stars movie, the same team hopes to create an adaptation of Paper Towns (Dutton, 2008),  starring actor-singer Nat Wolff, who costars in The Fault in Our Stars. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber are going to adapt, and Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are producing. Green will also be one of the scribes.

Lauren Kate’s paranormal romance Fallen (Delacorte, 2009) was shot on location in Budapest and completed filming on April 29. It stars Addison Timlin as Luce, and Jeremy Irvine as Daniel. Scott Hicks is directing this new YA adaptation, which will tentatively hit theaters in 2015. Joely Richardson, Harrison Gilbertson, Lola Kirke, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Daisy Head, and Juliet Aubrey are some of the other cast members.

Future releases

Dork DiariesDreamWorks Studios picking up film rights to Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park (St. Martin’s, 2013) and Rowell herself has also been hired to write the screenplay. Once the script is in, a director and cast will be attached. The studio hopes to start shooting in 2015.

Summit Entertainment has acquired movie rights to Rachel Renee Russell’s young teen book series “Dork Diaries” (S. & S.). Karen Rosenfelt is in negotiations to produce at her Sunswept Entertainment banner. The highly illustrated book follows eighth grader Nikki Maxwell as she chronicles her middle school drama and trauma.

Disney is in negotiations to acquire the screen rights to Newbery Medal-winning The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2011) by Katherine. Allison Shearmur is on board to produce the live-action movie adaptation, which centers on a silverback gorilla named Ivan who lives in a cage in a shopping mall along with an elephant named Stella and a stray dog called Bob.

Two novels by Ann Brashares are set to be made into film soon. Alcon Entertainment, Alloy Entertainment, and Kira Davis’ 8:38 Productions have reteamed to acquire Brashares’s latest young adult novel, The Here And Now (Delacorte, 2014). A follow-up the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is also in development. Sisterhood Everlasting (Random, 2011) will be directed by Ken Kwapis and Liz Garcia is writing the script.

Belle EpoqueStefanie Huie has optioned the rights to Morris Award finalist Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. The author will adapt the screenplay with Huie producing the project. The story follows a young woman in 1880s Paris who answers an ad for a job at a repoussoir agency— a place where society’s elite can hire “unattractive” companions for their debuting daughters as a way of making their daughters seem more beautiful.

Nickelodeon has optioned author Chris Grabenstein’s Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library (Random, 2013) for a television movie adaptation. The middle grade novel takes place over one weekend in the world’s most “fabulous” library, and follows 12 middle-school students who are competing for a grand prize. In the competition, the students have agreed to be locked in the library overnight and must use its technical resources to find their way out.

Chloe Grace Moretz has also been confirmed to be cast as Cassie Sullivan from Rick Yancey’s thriller, The 5th Wave (Putnam, 2013). J Blakeson and Susannah Grant is writing the script.

For more information about future releases based on children’s and young adult books, check out our previous “Page to Screen” posts.

Page to Screen: A Year’s Worth of New Adaptations

Page to Screen: From YA Best-sellers to Big-Screen Blockbusters

Page to Screen: Summer Reading Blockbusters, Dystopian Teen Lit, and Childhood Classics

Page to Screen: Upcoming Kids’ Books Set for Film Adaptations

Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz (sdiaz@mediasourceinc.com) is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.

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