28 Science Fiction Books Being Adapted Into Movies

Thursday, 04 February 2016 - 3:20PM
Sci-Fi Movies
Ready Player One
Thursday, 04 February 2016 - 3:20PM
28 Science Fiction Books Being Adapted Into Movies
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It's a great time to be a sci-fi fan, as every day it seems more announcement of sci-fi novel adaptations are coming out. Television is becoming a haven for many sci-fi adaptations, but film has just as many exciting sci-fi book projects coming up, if not more. From classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to new favorites like Ready Player One, here are all of the sci-fi novel adaptations to look for in theaters:

High-Rise by J.G. Ballard - March 18, 2016

Ben Wheatley's adaptation of Ballard's classic morality tale follows Tom Hiddleston's Dr. Laing as he's seduced by the lavish lifestyle of the elite in the upper part of a high-rise, isolated community. Also starring Sienna Miller and Jeremy Irons and featuring a breakout turn from Luke Evans, the film is getting mixed but intriguing reviews after screenings at TIFF and the San Sebastian Film Festival, with some reviewers adoring it and others not knowing quite what to make of it. We would expect nothing less.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant - March 18, 2016

By now, you know whether you like the Divergent series or not, but if you're a fan, then the third film in the tetralogy (which will culminate in 2017's Ascendant) should be fairly exciting, especially now that the series has diverged (sorry) so significantly from the novels. And, if nothing else, it has a wonderful cast, with Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, and Octavia Spencer all returning, with the new addition of The Flash's Keiynan Lonsdale as fan favorite Uriah. 

The Circle by Dave Eggers - 2016

The Circle is an extremely timely dystopian novel, painting a near-future in which Google, Facebook, Apple, and all of the other technologies that have taken over our lives band together to form an insidiously totalitarian super-corporation. It will be adapted by James Ponsoldt, who has achieved lots of acclaim with films like The Spectacular Now and The End of the Tour, and will star big names like Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and John Boyega. 

This hilarious short story follows a young man who struggles to flirt with exchange students at a party, and then realizes that they are not international, but actually interplanetary. It won the Locus Award and was nominated for the Hugo Award when it came out in 2007, and is now set to be adapted into a film by John Cameron Mitchell, who is best known for originating the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and directing the acclaimed film Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. How to Talk to Girls at Parties will star Kidman, Elle Fanning, and Ruth Wilson (The Affair, Luther).

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey - 2016

A unique take on the zombie genre, The Girl with All the Gifts takes place in a future in which most of humanity has been infected by a fungus that turns them into flesh-eating, mindless "hungries," but a few children with the infection are able to retain their mental powers, including the protagonist, a prodigious 10-year-old named Melanie. The book was highly acclaimed, and Carey announced that he would adapt his own feature script called She Who Brings Gifts, to be directed by prolific BBC director Colm McCarthy and starring Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton.

Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang - 2016

Story of Your Life, a short story written by Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author Ted Chiang, follows a linguist, played by Amy Adams, and a physicist, played by Jeremy Renner, who are recruited by the military to discover whether an invading alien species are peaceful or a threat. It will be directed by Denis Villeneuve, best known for helming the acclaimed thriller Prisoners and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel. Filming on the project began last June, and we should be seeing it sometime this year.

Cell by Stephen King - 2016

This technophobic horror story features a mysterious cell phone signal that causes anyone who hears it to go on a murderous rampage and the world to go into chaos. The film stars Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, and The Hunger Games' Isabelle Fuhrman, and will be directed by Tod Williams from a screenplay co-written by King himself.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - December 15, 2017

Sci-FI Book Adaptations
Ready Player One, which follows a young boy's high-stakes Easter Egg hunt within an immersive 80s-style virtual reality video game, is becoming one of the most anticipated sci-fi movies that doesn't have the word "Star" or "Wars" in the title. None other than Stephen Spielberg is set to direct, with Cline adapting the script and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl breakout Olivia Cooke set to star as Ar3mis. The lead role of Wade Watts has not been cast yet, but Jurassic World and The Fifth Wave star Nick Robinson is reportedly an early favorite.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne - TBA

Sci-FI Book Adaptations
Jules Verne's classic sci-fi adventure novel, which famously predicted submarines, follows ship captain Nemo as he attempts to destroy a giant sea monster. It was already adapted into a film in 1954, but now X-Men's Bryan Singer is set to adapt it once again, after it slipped through the fingers of David Fincher. No word on casting yet, but the film is set to begin production this fall.

Revival by Stephen King - TBA

The Fault in Our Stars and New Mutants director Josh Boone just announced that he is delaying production on the adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand in favor of another King adaptation—Revival. Revival is a horror story with some sci-fi elements involving a minister who denounces God after the death of his wife and child. He begins to conduct experiments involving electricity and becomes a controversial faith healer, ultimately descending into madness and evil. 

The Stand by Stephen King - TBA

Sci-FI Book Adaptations
Boone is also set to adapt King's environmental tome, The Stand, into four feature films. It has now been delayed, and has reverted back to CBS films after its option at Warner Bros. lapsed, so its future is somewhat uncertain. But Boone has reportedly written the script and is still committed to the project, but simply "needs more time," and Matthew McConaughey is still set to star as Randall Flagg, the novel's Satanic antagonist who uses gruesome methods to maintain his tyrannical rule in a world that has been ravaged by a weaponized flu pandemic.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - TBA

Game of Thrones favorite Maisie Williams is set to star in this adaptation of the acclaimed zombie YA novel, which follows a young girl named Mary who lives in a fenced-in dystopian society following an unknown disaster that turned most of humanity into mindless cannibals. It sounds like a mixture of Divergent, 28 Days Later, and The Village, which could be amazing or absolutely terrible, but it's encouraging that it will be co-produced by Edge of Tomorrow's Doug Liman. It is reportedly fast-tracked at Hetherwood Productions and will begin filming sometime this year.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman - TBA

The Forever War was once in development at Fox with Ridley Scott, but after years of development hell, was optioned by Warner Bros. The project has been quiet since the initial announcement last May, but they are apparently moving forward with the project, as Prometheus' Jon Spaihts is writing a new version of the script and Channing Tatum is set to star as William Mandella, a soldier who leaves Earth to fight an alien species called the Taurans for two years, only to find that, as a result of time dilation, decades have passed on Earth.

The Gone World by Thomas Sweterlitsch - TBA

After the success of Sweterlitsch's first novel, Tomorrow and Tomorrow, the film rights to his upcoming follow-up The Gone World were optioned before the book even got an official release date. We know little about the plot of the book, other than its description as a "time travel procedural," and there's still no release date for either the book or the movie, but Neill Blomkamp is in talks to direct, so expect this movie to be fast-tracked once the book finally comes out.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson - TBA

Robopocalypse has been in development for several years, and has now been put on hold "indefinitely," but Steven Spielberg continues to insist that the project isn't dead, only on the backburner while he focuses on other scripts. Last we heard, Drew Goddard was set to write the script, and big stars Chris Hemsworth and Anne Hathaway were attached to star, although there's no guarantee any of them will be available when and if the ball gets rolling again.

Yukikaze by Chohei Kambayashi - TBA

Back in 2013, Tom Cruise was attached to star in the adaptation of Yukikaze, a series that takes place on a post-apocalyptic Earth ravaged by war with a mysterious alien force called JAM, who came to our planet after a hyper-dimensional passageway opened over Antarctica. Edge of Tomorrow producer Tom Lassally was also attached to the project, which seemed promising, but we haven't heard anything since the initial announcement. 

The Destroyer by Warren Murphy & Richard Sapir - TBA

The Destroyer series follows protagonist Remo Williams, a former cop whose death is faked by the government so he can become a deniable assassin who fights villains like cyborgs, shape-shifting androids, and genetically engineered weretigers. Iron Man 3 helmer Shane Black was attached to direct the film back in 2014, but has been put on the backburner while he directed the Ryan Gosling film Nice Guys and works with Fox to reboot the Predator series.

Fortunately, the Milk - TBA

Neil Gaiman's charming sci-fi children's book, which is described as "a story of time travel and breakfast cereal," will be a live-action/animation hybrid that already has an amazing pedigree, as Johnny Depp is set to star and Shaun of the Dead's Edgar Wright is attached to direct, collaborating with Bret McKenzie, one-half of the folk music duo Flight of the Conchords who won an Oscar for his work on the Muppets soundtrack. Everyone is still in negotiations, but this project seems to be very much in development.

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu - TBA

The first novel in Chu's Time trilogy, Time Salvager follows a convicted criminal who is reluctantly tasked with traveling through time in order to change a post-apocalyptic future in which humanity struggles to survive in barely habitable solar systems. The film has been optioned by Paramount with Michael Bay set to direct. 

The Tempest by Julie Cross - TBA

This time-traveling novel follows a 19-year-old who witnesses the murder of his girlfriend and accidentally travels back in time two years, where he is recruited by a shadowy government organization and vows to save his girlfriend's life. The book was optioned by Cross Pictures and will be produced by Scott and Sean Cross (no relation), as well as Brendan Deneen, head of Macmillan Entertainment, and Mimi Polk Gitlin, who produced Scott Cross's classic film, Thelma and Louise. 

Monument 14 - TBA

The first in a futuristic trilogy by Emmy Laybourne, Monument 14 follows a group of 14 kids who are trapped in a superstore during the apocalypse (which would be a great, great place to be). The script was adapted for film by Laybourne and San Andreas director Brad Peyton, and will be directed by award-winning filmmaker Sandy Widyanata.

1984 by George Orwell - Optioned

Sci-FI Book Adaptations
This classic dystopian novel is no stranger to film adaptations, but there may be yet another one on the horizon. Back in 2012, several Hollywood production companies had teamed up to produce another 1984 film, and had secured the rights from Orwell's estate. There's been no news since, but considering the book's name recognition, we're sure they'll do it when the time is right.

Rant by Chuck Palahniuk - Optioned

Rant, an even weirder sci-fi novel by Fight Club's Chuck Palahniuk, was optioned by James Franco to produce (and maybe star) in 2014, but nothing has been announced since. But we haven't lost hope, if only because Franco would make a perfect Buster Casey, an abrasive, slightly evil protagonist with senses of taste and smell enhanced beyond that of any other human.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow - Optioned

Little Brother, which is as much political treatise as novel, follows four teenagers following a terrorist attack who fight against the Department of Homeland Security's attacks on the Bill of Rights. As part of the novel's free speech philosophy, the novel is free and available under a Creative Commons license. It received several awards, becoming a finalist for the Hugo in 2009, and was optioned by AngryFilms "with the aim of translating it to the big screen."

Wool by Hugh Howey - Optioned

In the world of Wool, the remains of humanity after an apocalyptic event cling to survival in the Silo, a subterranean city that extends 144 stories below the Earth's surface. The rights have been optioned by 20th Century Fox, with big names like Ridley Scott and Steve Zaillian expressing interest in directing, but no official news of the adaptation has been announced yet.

The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle - Optioned

A.G. Riddle's Origin series, beginning with The Atlantis Gene, revolves around a geneticist and a counterterrorism agent who attempt to prevent a global pandemic that holds the key to the origins of humanity. The series was optioned by CBS Films back in 2014, and we haven't heard a peep since, but there's still a possibility this could come out of development hell and reach our screens. 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch - Optioned

Tomorrow and Tomorrow, a sci-fi thriller about a man who lives in a completely virtual environment within a post-apocalyptic Pittsburgh reliving his past with his wife and unborn child, was published last year and drew comparisons to big names like Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick, and Haruki Murakami. TriStar optioned the film rights shortly after the book came out, but no development on the project has been announced yet.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson - Optioned

Neal Stephenson's 2015 speculative fiction novel tells the story of the efforts to preserve human society in the aftermath of apocalyptic events on Earth, caused by the disintegration of the moon. Voted one of Amazon's best nooks of 2015, Sevenses manages to combine science, philosophy, technology, and psychology into an eerily recognizable view of the future. Now, Ron Howard is slated to direct an adaptation, reuniting with Apollo 13 partner Bill Broyles, who will pen the script. 

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