Film adaptations 2011: Our wish-list

10. The Death Of Grass

By Samuel Youd

People love apocalypse films. You want to make some money? Show everyone in the world the worst way they could possibly die. In his 1956 novel, Samuel Youd paints an absolutely terrifying picture of a world struck by a virus that kills all grass. Gradually all vegetations ceases to exists, animals become extinct due to lack of food and the entire world descends quickly into an excessively-murdery chaos. The story follows John, an architect who is determined to get his family to potato-farm-based-safety – but in a world without morals, where entire families are slaughtered for the bread in their hands, do they have a chance? A grainy, heart-pumpy thriller in the making; a world where no-one is trustworthy and giving away your last rolo is, frankly, mental.


Roland Emmerich, natch.


Viggo Mortensen, a slender looking babe of some description and some of those massive-eyed children. Also lots of guns and almost no potatoes

9.The Handmaid’s Tale

By Margaret Atwood

Dystopia! After being told how we’re going to die, the thing we like best is being told how rubbish the earth will be even if we somehow don’t die. In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, after some terrible usurping of democracy and re-exertion of scripture-based male supremacy all women are left powerless, dependent on whatever man they are bestowed upon. Pregnancy has become a sacred, increasingly rare thing and so fertile women are forced to become “Handmaidens” – concubines to respected gents who are hidden away from respectable society. The tale follows a handmaid by the name of “Offred” (ie “Of Fred” – her sex master bloke) and her slow discovery of an underground uprising… Yes Harold Pinter already had a go in the early 90s, but everyone was so unhappy with the result (he didn’t even want to be credited in the end) its definitely worth a proper try.

Directed by?

Mark Romanek


Amanda Seyfried, Andrew Garfield – anyone with scared, “the men are coming” looking faces.

8.The five people you meet in heaven

By Mitch Albom

Get your weepy out for the lads. This book – a tale about understanding your own significance in this puffy, fairy-lit world of ours – is begging for a slow-motion, soft lens upgrade. We meet Eddie, a theme park technician who, at the point of death, meets the five people who most affected the course of his life. Through these surreal encounters, Eddie finds peace with the universe around him, learns lots of lessons about lots of lovely things and deals with various bits of abuse in a slightly-romanticised-yet-still-harrowing way . Also, it’s set at a fun-fair. Come on Hollywood, can you say “thoughtful and tragically ironic waltzer montage”?

Directed by?

Whoever does the Nicholas Sparks ones – we’re golden.


Morgan Freeman. As any character. As all the characters

7.Measure For Measure

By William Shakespeare

After all, if Gnomeo and Juliet can climb those international steps to stardom, why not let the lesser known Shake-stories take a running jump at the staircase? Measure For Measure is a great little tale about dark desires, political hypocrisy and accidental bed-hopping; centring on a struggle for power between a brilliantly articulate nun and a pious-yet-oh-so-lusty Duke. It’s got sex, it’s got politics, it’s got a race against time and it’s got one of the funniest wise-cracking sidekicks in literary history – Lucio, you will get the audience you deserve. And probably you will be played by Zach Galifianakis. Sorry about that.

Directed by?

Oliver Stone. Though he’ll probably need to change the name to something like “Sex Nun”. Come on Shakespeare, keep up would you?


Leonardo Di Caprio being very stern and tortured and sexed. He’ll win an Oscar for it. Four Oscars.

6.Jamaica Inn

By Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne Du Maurier is a relatively untapped source of dense, black, wriggly story goodness – she wrote Rebecca; later adapted for film by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Lawrence Olivier. Yeah, that’s right – have any of your books been adapted by Alfreck Hitchcock recently? I said recently. Anyway, Jamaica Inn is a tale of a young girl forced to live and work in her dastardly uncle’s hotel, set back on the darkest moors of Cornwall. She’s sure he’s up to no good, and the the horrible crew of mis-matched strangers who make up his only customers are little comfort. But when she meets his outcast brother Jem and feels an unexpected spark, she doesn’t know what to make of the family or its dark deeds. Long, mournful shots of sparse landscape and a dreamy, haunty (available to download) soundtrack are just waiting to pounce.

Directed by?

Roman Polanski, if he keeps his head down.


Someone really terrifying but strangely enigmatic… Lenny Henry?

5.The Secret History

Greek mythology, modern-day murder and beautiful young things tripping down the unforgiving road from naivety to experience? Chuck in an explosion or two and you’ve got literally the greatest film ever (please don’t chuck in any explosions, I’ll cry myself to sleep forever). Classic everyman Richard enters a dark world of myth when he joins the study of Ancient Greek at the University of Hampden. Though at first his mysterious classmates fascinate him, when he is finally accepted into their clique he finds himself involved in a murder he never wanted to commit. Beautiful, haunting and absolutely unforgettable – please, film, just don’t mess it up.

Directed by?

Gus Van Sant


Gorgeous, clear-skinned young things we’ve never heard of is probably the best bet. And Ian McKellen. He’ll make sure everyone buttons up their shirts properly.

4.The Whitby Witches

How has this children’s classic slipped through Hollywood’s greasy, gilded net? Two orphans are sent to live on the coasts of Whitby – one of whom has the power to see creatures not of this world; ghosts, ghouls and most importantly strange coast-wanderers that call themselves the Aufwaders. Cue demonic rituals, mad old granny-witches, sea Gods and a plot to destroy the whole mother-fluffing world – there is simply nothing about this that isn’t fundamentally bitchin. And there are three whole books to be taken advantage of – cash in hand Hollywood. Cash in hand.

Directed by? Alfonso Cuarón


Chloe Moretz and a Rupert-Grint-a-like, wearing lovely nautical jumpers and haunted expressions.

3.Vernon God Little

This Booker Prize winning novel manages to be both hysterical and heart-wrenching in its portrayal of a teen in modern day Texas; its like a sticky Catcher In The Rye covered in fried chicken. 15 year old Vernon finds himself rather in a pickle after his best friend Jesus guns down sixteen of his classmates before turning the gun on himself. In the aftermath of the slaughter the line of questioning turns to Vernon and, desperate for a scapegoat, the entire town bays for the blood of the apparently not-so-innocent. All Vernon wants to do is get off with the local hottie, and, if he can, avoid the electric chair. Mad, surreal, funny and dark dark dark, this claustrophobic account of a small town gone crazy would make a glorious animation-flick for all sick of the traditional crime-caper.

Directed by?

Terry Gilliam, just imagine his shiny cartoon sweat-mob.


Brad Pitt will have to voice something, or else it will never get the funding.

2.The End Of Mr Y

Stories about curses make excellent films. That’s just a fact (probably). The End of Mr Y deals with the ultimate of curses – a BOOK curse, yeah, in your FACE Ringu. A PhD student researching her favourite author discovers that he wrote a tale called The End Of Mr Y – but anyone who ever finished it died shortly afterwards. Determined to track down the book for herself and learn its secrets, we join her on an adventure about space, time and the nature of the universe itself. It all gets a bit Matrix-y, which is nice, and there’s enough sex to keep the producers interested.

Directed by:

Aronofsky – he’s excellent at tricking us into believing geeky things are icy cool.


Emma Stone. She’s lovely and could do with a good cursing.

1. Five Quarters Of The Orange

by Joanne Harris

We’ll end on a high: Nazi invasion, mental illness, concealed childhood secrets and potential drowning, READING IS FUN DAMMIT. All this and more feature heavily in this delicious split narrative by the author of Chocolat; an old woman moves back into her childhood village and opens a cafe, only to discover the repercussions Nazi occupation had on its residents during the war. The problem is that as a child she found herself mixed up in the dealings of a Nazi solider, and at all costs she must avoid being recognised. So why come back to this village in the first place? A lovely, sad tale of loyalty, bitterness and revenge, tempered by lots of glisteny food. Mmmm delicious, chewy betrayal. Streaming tears are the tastiest condiment.

Directed by?

Nora Ephron – but nothing by a beach Nora, we know what you’re like.


James McAvoy – he loves this sort of stuff. Also, Judi Dench will be in it for maybe 30 seconds just to shit on everyone and get the biggest font on the poster.

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