Hollywood Leans on Literary Classics This Winter

It seems the drive to create something completely new and different has been sucked out of Hollywood. Lately, it’s either generating pointless remakes (with The Amazing Spider-man only five years after the last trilogy concluded), endless sequels, or the same comic books and graphic novels turned into summer blockbusters.

Theater and literature have always been inextricably linked, so its difficult to argue that film adaptions of novels are truly part of this degradation of creativity. And since six out of the nine nominations for Best Picture at the 2012 Oscars were based on books, this is a trend that continues to produce excellent films. This coming winter, we will see several theatrical adaptions of not just books, but literary classics. These are novels we have clenched in the middle of the night as our imaginations ran wild; as our hearts pounded along with the plot and cried along with the characters.

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina is often considered the greatest romance ever written, and explores a love scandal amongst Russia’s aristocracy. Of course, the lead role is played by none other than Keira Knightley, who can add yet another period piece to her resume (along with Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, The Duchess, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series).

Release Date: November 9, 2012

Cast and Characters:

  • Keira Knightley: Anna Karenina
  • Jude Law: Alexei Karenin
  • Aaron Johnson: Count Vronsky

2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Canadian author Yann Martel wrote the most recent novel to grace this list of “literary classics,” since Life of Pi was only published in 2001. However, it won the Man Booker Prize for fiction the following year and has been a continuous best-seller since its debut on the shelves.

Release Date: November 21, 2012

Cast and Characters:

  • Tobey Maguire: Yann Martel
  • Suraj Sharma: Pi Patel
  • Irrfan Khan: Older Pi

3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

While Les Miserables has been adapted into film and musical theater versions dozens of times, this event will still be mind-blowing. With Anne Hathaway’s chilling rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” throughout the trailer, its clear the film promises to not only be a spectacle of set design, costumes, and celebrity appearances, but also of unexpected musical talent.

Release Date: December 14, 2012

Cast and Characters:

  • Anne Hathaway: Fantine
  • Amanda Seyfried: Cosette
  • Russell Crowe: Javert
  • Hugh Jackman: Jean Valjean
  • Helena Bontham Carter: Madame Thenardier
  • Sasha Baron Cohen: Thenardier

4. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

After countless delays in production, J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel and children’s favorite The Hobbit is finally coming to theaters in December 2012. With the last installment of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy out in 2003, Peter Jackson’s fans have been eagerly awaiting this prequel to the series for almost a decade.

Release Date: December 14, 2012

Cast and Characters:

  • Martin Freeman: Bilbo Baggins
  • Elijah Wood: Frodo Baggins
  • Ian McKellen: Gandalf
  • Cate Blanchett: Galadriel
  • Hugo Weaving: Elrond

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The “modern” interpretation shown in the trailer of Fitzgerald’s sparkling 1920’s dream has some critics worried that this Gatsby might be a little too great. Did Long Islanders really party with zebras in a pool (seen at 00:17 of the trailer)? But never mind all that, it’s bound to be a film worthy of at least one Oscar nomination.

Release Date: December 25, 2012

Cast and Characters:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio: Jay Gatsby
  • Carey Mulligan: Daisy Buchanan
  • Tobey Maguire: Nick Carraway

UPDATE: The Great Gatsby release has been delayed until Summer 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: