From page to screen in 2019

book adaptations 2019

When Hollywood and television bigwigs sit around their sizeable boardrooms sipping cortados in production meetings, where ‘The Next Big Thing’ is coming from is usually at the forefront of the conversation. The answer to that question usually containing the words ‘sequel’, ‘remake’, ‘superhero’ or any combination of the three.

The next best guess of the entertainment industry comes in the shape of the literary adaptation. And not without reason. Us crime fiction buffs know better than most how creative, imaginative and effective the storytellers that come up with our favourite books are. Okay, so they don’t always work out. But when they do work, they really work, like with ITV’s excellent crime dramas Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Inspector Morse.

So it will come as little surprise to you when we tell you that 2019 has plenty of book adaptations in store, both in cinemas and available to watch in the comfort of your own living room…

All release and broadcast dates accurate as of January 2019.

7 books being made into films in 2019

book adaptations 2019Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellström

The award-winning Swedish crime-writing team of Borge Hellström and Anders Roslund have had plenty of success with their ‘Ewert Grens’ series of novels. The adaptation of this one, Three Seconds, sees the action move from Stockholm to New York City, with Detective Superintendent Grens played by John Wick and Suicide Squad star Common. The title’s changed too. The film version is set to be called The Informer and will star Joel Kinnaman as the undercover type getting in well over his head when he tries to infiltrate the Polish mob. Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen co-star.

Expected release: March

book adaptations 2019The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

Set in post-World War Two Hamburg, this tense and thrilling story was a huge critical hit on publication back in 2013. The adaptation has Keira Knightley in the lead role of Rachael Morgan, a woman married to a British colonel (Jason Clarke) who is tasked with helping the city rebuild after the carnage of the war. The drama really unfolds when Rachael discovers that her grand home still has residents, German widow Siegfried (The Little Drummer Girl’s Alexander Skarsgård) and his distressed daughter.

Expected release: March

book adaptations 2019I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt

This true crime bestseller outlines the 25+ mob hits that Frank ‘The Irishman’ Sheehan performed for the mafia families of New York City and even – rather convincingly – outlines what really happened to union boss Jimmy Hoffa. A film version of the book (to be called The Irishman) has been in the works for some time, with production only recently wrapping up. Martin Scorsese directs a killer cast of legends in Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel.

Expected release: autumn

book adaptations 2019The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch is Donna Tartt’s third novel and has the rather impressive distinction of having won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. So it’s more than likely that the film version will be handled with the utmost care. Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort plays the central character Theo, a multitasking kid who steals a priceless artwork while surviving a terrorist bombing in a museum. Directed by Brooklyn’s John Crowley, The Goldfinch also counts Jeffrey Wright, Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson and Nicole Kidman amongst its cast.

Expected release: October

book adaptations 2019The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

A J Finn’s hugely popular debut novel, The Woman in the Window, was one of last year’s must-reads. The director of Hanna, Atonement and Darkest Hour is behind the camera for the adaptation, with Amy Adams playing the lead, Dr Anna Fox. So this is almost certain to be a quality picture. Its plot borrows from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 mystery thriller Rear Window (itself based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 short story, ‘It Had to Be Murder’), seeing Adams’ Dr Fox witnessing a brutal crime while spying on her neighbours. Support comes from Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore and Anthony Mackie.

Expected release: October

book adaptations 2019The Rhythm Section by Mark Burnell

Mark Burnell’s much-read Stephanie Patrick series is getting the Tinseltown treatment, with Blake Lively in the role of the grieving/vengeful Mrs Patrick. The fast-paced books offer enough thrills and spills to propel a series of movies, something the producers – the same people behind the James Bond franchise – are very much hoping for. Can Lively, co-star Jude Law and director Reed Morano deliver? Well, we’ll soon find out.

Expected release: November

book adaptations 2019The Earthquake Bird by Susanna Jones

The movie version of this CWA John Creasy Dagger winner looks like it will heading straight to Netflix. Starring Tomb Raider‘s Alicia Vikander as central character Lucy Fly, the film also features Riley Keough, Naoki Kobayashi and Jack Huston. Fly is a young ex-pat living out in Tokyo who is suspected of murdering her best friend. As she answers the police’s questions, a dark and complex love triangle is revealed.

Expected release: late 2019

6 books being made into TV shows in 2019

book adaptations 2019The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

Mrs Wilson’s Anna Symon is on writing duties here as Paula Day’s gripping 2015 page turner is turned into an ITV drama called Deep Water. Anna Friel (Marcella), Sinead Keenan (Little Boy Blue) and Rosalind Eleazar (Rellik) take on the three main roles. All three are women in the Lake District facing tough emotional decisions and dilemmas about family, motherhood and happiness.

Expected broadcast: spring

book adaptations 2019The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Il Nome Della Rosa is famously the debut novel of the great Italian author and thinker Umberto Eco. An historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery way back in the 14th century it is, without doubt, a classic piece of literature. One that’s shifted well over 50 million copies in its 40-year history. Film buffs may know it best in its cinematic form, with Sean Connery playing the monk detective William of Baskerville (no, not Cadfael…). Well, now it’s television’s turn with John Turturro taking on Connery’s role. Crime dramas won’t come much classier than The Name of the Rose in 2019.

Expected broadcast: spring

book adaptations 2019Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels

‘Everyman’ analyst-turned-reluctant-action-hero Jack Ryan is author Tom Clancy’s most popular series of books, with high-budget big screen adaptations starring the likes of Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck in the lead role. The maiden series of the first TV show to feature the character proved to be a big hit last year too, with the charisma and acting skill of John Krasinski, coupled with top drawer action sequences, wowing Amazon Prime audiences and critics alike. Season 2 looks likely to pick up where the first left off.

Expected broadcast: summer

book adaptations 2019Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This New York Times bestseller was a hit on its release back in 2014. Its TV adaptation – starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley – caused an even bigger storm three years later. David E Kelley’s HBO show was perhaps 2017’s best TV drama. The novel’s plot taken care of in the debut season, Liane Moriarty herself has written the follow-up season, so fans needn’t worry about the storyline going too off-piste. Oh, and Meryl Streep’s joining the cast. So there’s that too.

Expected broadcast: summer

book adaptations 2019Death Comes As the End by Agatha Christie

Famed in crime fiction-loving circles as the only novel of Christie’s not to be set in the 20th century, little is known about this leftfield adaptation as yet. The very idea of a lavish BBC imagining of an Agatha Christie novel about a serial killer, set in Ancient Egypt, should appeal enormously to both fans of the legendary Devon-born writer and anyone who likes quality TV drama.

Expected broadcast: Christmas

book adaptations 2019Dublin Murder Squad: In The Woods & The Likeness by Tana French

American author Tana French has won plenty of fans, plaudits and awards for her series of Dublin Murder Squad novels. The first two of those books have now been made into a joint production between the BBC, RTÉ and Starz which is due to hit screens later this year. The series blends the first two books into one overarching story and will star Killian Scott (Ripper Street, Jack Taylor) and Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful, Ransom) as detectives Rob Reilly and Cassie Maddox. This eight-part series is being adapted by Sarah Phelps who has And Then There Were None, Ordeal by Innocence and The ABC Murders on her lengthy and rather impressive CV. So we’re expecting big things here.

Expected broadcast: TBC

There are our stand-out picks. Know of another exciting book adaptation hitting screens in 2019? Let us know in the comments below…

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.

Please note: Moderation is enabled and may delay your comment being posted. There is no need to resubmit your comment. By posting a comment you are agreeing to the website Terms of Use.

1 Comment

  1. Lesley Jarvis says

    Looking forward to a few of those especially the second season of Jack Ryan….loved the first on Amazon….also Name of the Rose and Dublin Murder Squad….