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Most Anticipated Book-to-Film Adaptations of 2021

By Brandon Miller
Feature Image: M. Night Shyamalan on the set of Old. Courtesy of IMDb.

With all our time spent at home, the release of a new movie to stream or a new book to read is cause for celebration. What could be better? A book-to-film adaptation. Here are nine that we’re waiting for, popcorn at the ready.

Deep Water

By Patricia Highsmith

Starring: Ben Affleck, Ana de Armas, Tracy Letts, Lil Rel Howery, Rachel Blanchard

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1957 book, Deep Water is a thriller starring real-life couple Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. They star as a married pair who fall out of love and agree to an open marriage. When the wife’s lovers start disappearing, you can guess who becomes the main suspect.

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning

Popular historical novel The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah — a No. 1 New York Times bestseller — is a rich tale of two French sisters, who attempt to resist the German occupation of France during World War II. The much-anticipated film adaptation is set to star real-life American sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning and directed by French actress Mélanie Laurent, who first directed Elle in the book-to-film adaptation Galveston. With a December 2021 release date, it’s easy to imagine The Nightingale as a gorgeous period drama with awards season potential.


By Aileen Mioko Smith and Eugene Smith

Starring: Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, Hiroyuki Sanada

Written by Aileen Mioko Smith and Eugene Smith, Minamata is an account of Eugene’s experiences as a photojournalist covering the issue of mercury poisoning in coastal Japanese communities. The book, Minamata: The Story of the Poisoning of a City, and of the People Who Choose to Carry the Burden of Courage, came out in 1975. Directed by Andrew Levitas, Johnny Depp stars as the lead character in the film adaptation, which is set for a February release.

The Mauritanian

By Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Starring: Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Shailene Woodley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zachary Levi

The Mauritanian — releasing in February 2021 after being pushed back due to the pandemic — is a legal thriller based on the 2015 memoir Guantánamo Diary. The author, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, was held for 14 years, without charge or trial, by the United States military. After securing a defense team (played by Jodie Foster and Shailene Woodley), Slahi and his legal advocates uncover a far-reaching conspiracy that’s beyond anything they could have imagined.


By Matthew Logelin

Starring: Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Melody Hurd, Lil Rel Howery, Paul Reiser, DeWanda Wise

Fatherhood is based on Matthew Logelin’s non-fiction book, Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love. Kevin Hart stars as Logelin, a single father who struggles to raise his infant daughter alone after his wife dies a day after the baby’s birth. We’re looking forward to watching a more serious and dramatic side of Hart in this story of grief and love.


By Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters

Starring: Gael García Bernal

Controversial filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan’s next project is writing and directing an adaptation of the graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters. In Publisher Weekly’s review, they described the graphic novel as it “begins like a murder mystery, continues like an episode of The Twilight Zone, and finishes with a kind of existentialism that wouldn’t be out of place in a von Trier film.” We can’t wait.



By Frank Herbert

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

This certainly isn’t the first film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s renowned science fiction novel, but it's likely to be the most epic. The first in a two-part adaptation, the movie revolves around the son of a noble family who must protect a desert planet that houses the most valuable substance in the galaxy.

The United States vs. Billie Holiday

By Starring: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Natasha Lyonne, Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Grammy nominee Andra Day stars as Billie Holiday in this upcoming biopic, directed by Lee Daniels. Based on the book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, written by Johann Hari, the movie follows Holiday’s career and the undercover sting operation that led to her 1947 arrest for possession of narcotics.

French Exit

By Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots, Susan Coyne, Danielle Macdonald, Isaach de Bankolé, Tracy Letts

Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges star in this comedy about a New York heiress who moves to Paris with her son and cat because she has little inheritance left. Oh, and her cat is actually her reincarnated dead husband (did we mention this is a surreal comedy?). The movie was written by Patrick deWitt, who also wrote the book of the same name.

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