As we enter a new year, the world of literature-to-film adaptation continues to grow. Today’s filmmakers (like Shakespeare and his contemporaries) are cashing in on the idea that invention does not always depend on originality.
The line-up for 2011 includes animated film, drama, and thriller, and it pulls material from plays, novels, and children’s fairy tales. From the beginning, changes in genre and audience are likely to receive some notice. In part ironically, in part appropriately, it’s Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that becomes an animated comedy and Little Red Riding Hood that becomes a suspense/thriller.
Here are a few of the literary adaptations scheduled to hit the screen sometime in 2011:
Jane Eyre – starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, 300) and directed by Cary Fukunaga.
On the Road – starring Garrett Hedlund (TRON, Four Brothers) and Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Into the Wild) and directed by Walter Salles (Dark Water, The Motorcycle Diaries).
Gnomeo & Juliet – voiced by Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria) and James McEvoy (Atonement) and directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Spirit).
Water for Elephants – starring Reese Witherspoon (Just Like Heaven, Vanity Fair) and Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Remember Me) and directed by Francis Lawrence.
The Three Musketeers – starring Logan Lerman (3:10 to Yuma), Ray Stevenson (The Book of Eli), Matthew Macfadyen (Frost/Nixon), and Luke Evans (Robin Hood) and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (Alien vs. Predator).
Red Riding Hood – starring Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight) and Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) and directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).
I don’t usually watch a movie simply because it’s based on literature, but I do look forward to seeing at least a few of these. Although the entertainment value is an important factor, I’m also interested to see how these directors and actors re-interpret classic stories for a new audience, a new medium, and a new cultural climate.