Here are my ten. Keep in mind, all are fabulous books and deserve to be read even if they don't make it to Hollywood. (Which makes me think, I am not sure I want Hollywood making these films. They usually really screw it up. But I am sure we could find enough Ang Lees and Merchant/Ivory's to make these all work.)
In no particular order...
1. Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico.
This would be not just the feel good picture of the year, but also a visual stunner. Imagine a meticulously made period piece full of Christian Dior post war fashions brought gloriously to the screen. A kind of 1950s The Devil Wears Prada meets, oh I don't know, who is the sweetest, most uplifting female character you can think of? [Stefan reminds me in the comments below that this has already been made into a movie with Angela Landsbury. I knew this in the back of my brain somewhere, but still want it (re)made into a film.]
|Dior in 1957 right before his death. Mrs. Harris was published in 1958.|
2. The Student Conductor by Robert Ford
Both novelists and filmmakers have a really hard time making enjoyable products about classical music that don't either dumb it down or make it so name droppy you want to strangle the writer for his/her pretensions. However, in The Student Conductor Robert Ford has created a fascinating, well written novel about life in the music world in Germany around at the time of reunification. And Ford is a playwright, so I am guessing he could really come up with a good screenplay.
|I couldn't decide on just one young conductor.|
(l to r) Kevin Griffiths, Oliver Zeffman, Han-Na Chang
Only in Paris would one find a piano shop that is essentially open by invitation only--you have to know someone who purchased a piano there before they will let you in. Thakfully they let Carhart in because it inspired to write this wonderful book the shop and pianos in general. I don't think I want this one fictionalized. How about just a really good documentary based on the book?
|Possibly the actual shop.|
4. Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
A powerful, beautifully written novel written about an extremely dramatic period of South Africa's history. My only request is that they hire South African's to play the roles. That's a hard accent to nail.
|The cover on the right is more indicative of the content, but the cover on the left is so wonderful I couldn't resist.|
|Bam. I was looking for cover art and came across this. Apparently the film has already been made.|
Check out Literary Kicks for more on that.
Two memoirs of a life loving food writer would make a wonderful fictionalized adaptation. It could be like Julie and Julia meets Augusten Burroughs meets Under the Tuscan Sun. Reichl has such a joie de groove it is hard not to be swept up in her life.
6. The Hopkins Manuscript by R.C. Sherriff
The best part about turning this one into a film would be to not update anything. The novel is a WWII-era story of the moon on a collision course with Earth. It would be no fun if the film used 21st century technology to track and deal with the problem. I want the film to be just as cozy and old fashioned as the book. My review is here.
|An alternate title.|
This is perhaps not the novel that is most representative of Cather's writing, but it is such a wonderful book. Just imagine Little House on the Prairie meets Anne of Green Gables, except it doesn't take place in the Midwest or the Maritimes, but Quebec. My review is here.
8. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
I've said this one a million times before. Helen Mirren needs to reprise her QEII and turn this most delightful book into screen magic. My ecstatic review is here.
|This rather uncomfortable photo could be a before image. As in before QEII discovers the pleasures of reading.|
There are so many bad scripts that get turned into really, really expensive films. Why not take these three fascinating, expertly written novels, turn them into three excellent scripts without dumbing anything down, and then spend about a billion dollars filming all of them. I want epics! I want to see liobams and pigoons and those "living" chicken breasts and perhaps above all, I want to see the mo'hairs. But here is a question: Do the Crakers run around naked in the film? Do we get to see the giant blue penises? My review is here.
10. All of Barbara Pym's novels
I left this one for last so those who are tired of my Pym cheer-leading don't write off this whole post. Unlike Murdoch or Brookner whose works deal so much with what is going on in a character's head, Pym's characters' mental tics are easily translatable to visual expression, physical action, or sensitive stage dressing. As I have said many times before, I think I would start with Some Tame Gazelle and then just film them all in the order they were written. I've written about Pym in many places, here is something about bringing her work to the screen.