It’s like the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies said in their hit song: It’s all been done before.
But of course it hasn’t.
We sometimes tell ourselves that when we run out of ideas. But just as much as there are always going to be millions more stories for writers to tell, there are stories out there already created that are waiting to reach a new audience. Stories we love, but stories that we’d really love to see transformed into another medium– onto the TV or silver screen. These are the film adaptations. And they are a key part of movies of any genre. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences even has their own Oscar for adapted screenplay that often coincides with the Best Picture winner.
What are your favorite stories? Have they all been made into movies? Do you wish that any of them would be turned into a movie? Do you wish most of them hadn’t been made into movies? What stories would you like to see that have not yet been adapted to film?
You can adapt anything into a movie if you’re creative enough. The biggest source for adaptations are books. The result? Some are good (Jaws, Godfather, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jurassic Park) and some bad (like every live action film based on Dr. Seuss/Theodor Geisel, who must be turning in his grave at what happened to his franchise after his death), or even hopelessly bad (like The da Vinci Code, which should probably not have merited a novel in the first place). A painting by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer inspired a novel and then a film adaptation—The Girl with a Pearl Earring. The movie Ever After takes a fairy tale and merges it with a painting of Leonardo da Vinci’s Head of Woman to create both a retelling and an alternate history of sorts, placing Leonardo himself in the middle of the fairy tale.
The Phantom of the Opera was turned from a theatrical musical into a movie (and even the reverse happens, as Sunset Boulevard went from film to musical). The video games Tron, Doom, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider all have been adapted into movies (how about Pitfall?). Even the Parker Brothers games Clue and the Milton Bradley game Battleship have been adapted into film (wouldn’t it be great to try again with the characters in Clue?).
Wait long enough and even classic TV gets made into movies, like The Dukes of Hazzard, The Addams Family, The Brady Bunch, and the new Johnny Depp adaptation of Dark Shadows. Last week the BBC reported that Bob Dylan’s album Blood on the Tracks is currently being made into a movie (and the album itself was even inspired by the short stories of Anton Chekhov), and the story of the song Amazing Grace (with Ioan Gruffudd and Benedict Cumberbatch) hit theaters only a few years ago. Then there are adaptations of a writer’s angle on some famous or infamous figure in real life, like Schindler’s List—the biopic or historical adaptation is everywhere–but usually starts with the novel. And even newspaper articles can end up as the original source for an award winning film, like All the President’s Men. Certainly last but not least, comic books and graphic novels are the current rage, with movies adapted from Road to Perdition to Cowboys & Aliens to the soon to be released Avengers.
Source material for film adaptations is virtually unlimited.
We’ve asked our four borg.com writers not what the best adaptations are, but instead what are their picks for what should be the next adaptation from Hollywood. What are the top 5-10 books, comic books, video games, or characters, etc. you’d like to see adapted into a movie—that haven’t been adapted yet? We’ll start with Art Schmidt’s take on would-be adaptations tomorrow.