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12 Anticipated Book Adaptations Starring High-Profile Actors 2019

There are truly fewer things more satisfying than seeing an author's imagination come to, so I'm always excited to see big screen adaptions especially when some of my favourite actors and filmmakers are involved in these anomalous projects. This seems to be shaping up to be quite the year for contemporary book adapations. Netflix is leading the charge with four humble adaptations on the way, while HBO partners with leading indie film studio A24 to bring to life one of the most influential Black literary pieces.

Some of Hollywood's finest stars include Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett, Taylor Swift (for the Swifties!) and many more. Check out the list below and keep up with us for more updates and release dates for all these films!

See below for all the book-to-screen wonders coming this year.

1. The Last Thing He Wanted (Netflix)

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Joan Didion‘s novel The Last Thing He Wanted is being adapted into a movie starring Ben Affleck, Wilem Dafoe and Anne Hathaway. There’s no release date yet, but it’s marked as being in post-production. The movie will be released on Netflix.

The Last Thing He Wanted is a (fictional) crime/suspense thriller about a reporter who walks off her job as a reporter covering the 1984 election to take care of her father. However, in a turn of events, ends up working for a covert agency as an arms dealer for the U.S. Government in Central America.

2. The Laundromat (Netflix)

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Netflix will be releasing a movie about the Panama Papers called The Laundromat, based on the book The Secrecy World by Jake Bernstein. Steven Soderbergh is directing and Meryl Streep is starring.

If you’re not familiar with it, the Panama Papers were a trove of leaked documents that revealed a lot about offshore financial arrangements, politicians, etc — basically a lot of financial information about wealthy individuals.

3. The Earthquake Bird (Netflix)

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Netflix seems to be making lots of bets on book adapations. This one stars Alicia Vikander and Riley Keough, is an adaptation of The Earthquake Bird by Susanna Jones. It’s a crime/mystery drama — “a young ex-pat living in Tokyo is suspected of murder, which uncovers a mysterious love triangle.”

4. The Irishman (Netflix)

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This highly anticipated movie directed by Martin Scorsese will have a short cinematic run, followed by Netflix availability sometime in 2019. (Netflix reportedly paid $105 million to buy this movie.) It’s based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. It tells the story of the killing of Jimmy Hoffa.

“I Heard You Paint Houses” (in mob-speak it means to kill someone because of the blood on the walls) were the first words he reportedly spoke to the man who would later kill him. This movie has a lot of big names (Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Ray Romano, etc.) and is almost sure to generate a lot of buzz as it gets closer to being released.

5. Native Son (HBO)

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Native Son by Richard Wright is a coming of age story about Bigger Thomas, an African American kid in the South Side of Chicago growing up in the 1930’s. It looks like this will be more of an indie film than a big blockbuster-type movie. It is team-up between two media giants, HBO and A24, and stars Moonlight's Ashton Sanders, If Beale Street Could Talk's KiKi Layne, Sanaa Lathan, and Love, Simon's Nick Robinson.

6. The Woman in the Window

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The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finnwas a surprise hit with a huge bidding war that was actually only released earlier this year. It’s a solid thriller about a woman who believes she sees a crime being committed through the window in a house across the way. The book includes a number of homages to Hitchhock’s Rear Window, so I’m curious if the movie will do the same. Amy Adams is starring in the movie, so I'm personally anticipating a timeless piece of cinema.

7. Where'd You Go Bernadette

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is a story about a woman who is a genius shut-in who lives with her family in Seattle. Her daughter attends private school nearby and her husband works at Microsoft. When her neuroses get the best of her, Bernadette disappears, leaving her daughter to embark on a search for her whereabouts.

Cate Blanchette, plays Bernadette. Kristin Wigg, Judy Greer and Pretty Little Liars' Troian Bellisario star as well. Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Before Sunrise) is directing. The book is funny and heartwarming, and judging from the trailer the movie will be too.

8. The Goldfinch

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The pulitzer-prize winning novel The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is hitting the big screen with a cast that includes Sarah Paulson, Nicole Kidman, Ansel Elgort and Luke Wilson.

The novel is a bildungsroman about a boy, Theo Decker, who steals a famous painting during a bombing at a museum. It’s an eventful Dickensian-type story, which is accessible, intelligent and entertaining so it's a surefire adaption for screen.

9. The Good Liar


The Good Liar by Nicholas Searleadaptation will star Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen. It’s a psychological thriller about a man who meets a wealthy widow online and spins a web of lies to try to woo her.

10. Motherless Brooklyn


Motherless Brooklyn is a classic detective novel by Jonathan Lethem. Lionel Essrog is an orphan with tourettes who works for a small-time mobster and makeshift detective agency owner Frank Minna. When Frank is killed, all hell breaks loose among his men.

Ed Norton is directing and starring, along with Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin.

11. Cats: The Musical!


Cats: The Musical! is getting a star-studded movie adaptation with Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift and James Corden in the mix. (Originally, Wicked was slated for this date, but it’s getting pushed to 2020.)

What people sometimes forget, but book lovers tend to remember is that Cats: The Musical is originally based off a T.S. Elliotcollection of poems, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. I can only be excited to see one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century's work get adapted.

12. Little Women


Greta Gerwig is directing an adaptation of Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott. The film stars Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan.

Gerwig’s version will focus on the character’s lives as adults moreso than the 1994 adaptation starring Winona Ryder. This one is slated for a Christmas release.

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