TV & Movies

10 Upcoming Book To Screen Adaptations You Need To Know About

By Tim Piccione
30th Mar 2021

a colourful collage of actors Michael. B Jordan, Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Daisy Edgar Jones and various book covers

As long as movies and TV shows have existed, books have been used as source material. That’s essentially why the Academy Awards has a Best Adapted Screenplay category–with so many of our favourite movies being based on the words of talented authors. 

This year has already given us plenty of successful book-to-screen projects, with movies like The Dig, To All the Boys: Always and Forever, and Cherry, or TV shows like Firefly Lane and Behind Her Eyes. Without exact details of when things are being released over the next year or two (thanks to a global pandemic), we’re here to get you excited for upcoming projects and to give you all the deets. We’ve got projects currently being filmed, ones in post-production and ones that have just been announced with some juicy names attached. 

So, whether you’ve already read these books and eagerly await their arrival on screen, or you’re in dire need of a novel recommendation, here are the book-to-screen projects in the works that we’re most looking forward to.  

Where The Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing, a 2018 mystery novel by Delia Owens, follows the murder of a young man in the small North Carolina town of Barkley Cove in 1969 and of Kya Clark, the loner “Marsh Girl” presumed guilty. The bestselling novel jumped to fame after making Reese Witherspoon’s highly sought-after Hello Sunshine book club in September of 2018, with the actor jumping on to produce the upcoming film as well–as she did with the TV series Little Fires Everywhere. There are no real production details or dates yet, except that Normal People’s Daisy Edgar-Jones is lined up to play the lead role of Kya.

Death On The Nile

If Agatha Christie novels still exist, some mystery remains in the world. History’s best-selling author is coming to the big screen once again, with a new version of Death on the Nile. After directing and starring in 2017’s box office success, Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh is back as the world’s greatest moustached, French-speaking detective, Hercule Poirot. This time, Poirot investigates the murder of a young heiress on a cruise ship floating along the Nile River. With another cast overflowing with big names, the murder mystery will also feature Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Russell Brand, Emma Mackey, and Black Panther’s Letitia Wright. At this stage, we can expect the movie in September of this year. 

The Water Dancer

From acclaimed American journalist and novelist Ta-Nehesi Coates, The Water Dancer follows a young slave named Hiram Walker living on a Virginia plantation, son to a slave mother and a plantation owner father. When Hiram almost drowns in a river, he discovers a mysterious power that saves his life. Announced in late 2020, we don’t yet have a lot of movie production or cast details. However, we know that the film will be produced by everyone’s favourite human, Oprah Winfrey, with Harpo Films, and by Brad Pitt and Plan B. The last time the pair and their production companies teamed up, they gave us 2014’s Selma—so expectations are high. 

The House Of Gucci: A Sensational Story Of Murder, Madness, Glamour And Greed

If you’ve been paying attention, then you’ve seen photos of Adam Driver and Lady Gaga looking glamourous and retro as hell surrounded by picturesque mountainscapes for their new film, House of Gucci. Based on the best-selling novel by Sara Gay Forden, the story portraits the stranger-than-fiction true story of the Gucci dynasty and the assassination of Maurizio Gucci. If that all doesn’t get your motor revving, the film, currently in production, is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Jared Leto, Al Pacino, and Jeremy Irons, alongside Driver and Gaga. If the world is kind to us, we can expect the movie in November this year. 

Daisy Jones & The Six

From novelist Taylor Jenkins Reid, Daisy Jones & The Six stories an epic rock band rising in the 1970s and 1980s who eventually break up–told in the unique style of a dialogue-heavy, extended oral history. The novel has all the ideal rock band story traits like sex, drugs, and chaos, perfect for a highly binge-worthy TV series. What we know so far is all good news. Amazon Prime has greenlit a 13-episode series with actors Riley Keough (Elvis Presley’s granddaughter couldn’t be more suited to lead the rock-n-roll series) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games, Enola Holmes) starring. And once again, Reese Witherspoon, who championed the book, is back to produce the upcoming series. 

Nine Perfect Strangers

After the incredible success of HBO’s Big Little Lies, we’re putting our blind faith in any Liane Moriarty novel-turned-TV-series. This time, it’s the Aussie author’s Nine Perfect Strangers, a suspenseful story about nine people forging an unexpected connection while staying at a remote health resort. Produced by Hulu, we already know a lot about the limited series and its all-star cast. Big Little Lies show creator David E. Kelley reunites with the show’s shining star, Nicole Kidman (who will also produce), alongside Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans, Regina Hall, Michael Shannon, Australian favourites, Asher Keddie and Zoe Terakes, and The Good Place’s Manny Jacinto. The Byron Bay production wrapped up last December, and we’re told to expect the series sometime this year–fingers crossed. 

Without Remorse

If there’s one thing we can always guarantee with a Tom Clancy novel adaptation, it’s action and pure entertainment. Without Remorse, from Clancy’s 1993 novel, looks to be more of the same. The upcoming film (releasing April 30 on Amazon Prime) brings John Clark, a popular figure in the Jack Ryan universe, into the modern-day. Without Remorse finds an elite Navy SEAL soldier amidst an international conspiracy while also seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife. Tick, tick, tick–if you’re playing action movie bingo. And the best part: Michael B. Jordan is starring as our protagonist.

Conversations With Friends

This time bringing Sally Rooney’s debut novel to life, Hulu hopes for the same success as its previous work adapting the author with 2020’s Normal People. Conversations with Friends follows the relationship between two creative friends drastically changing when they become embroiled in a Dublin married couple’s lives and work. We already know that Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson (also director of Oscar-nominated Room) and writer Alice Birch are back for the new project. The 12-episode series will also star several young unknown (soon to be well known) actors, which is always exciting. Production is set to begin filming in Ireland later this year, with the show expected to be available for streaming in 2022. 


Okay, this is cheating a little bit since the upcoming Cruella movie, starring Emma Stone, is more so based on a character from Dodie Smith’s classic 1956 book, The Hundred and One Dalmations. But we’re just too excited for the villain origin story to not include it on this list. The live-action prequel story is set to be a little grittier than the Disney stories we’re used to. With some violence and adult themes expected, we could be in for a (very) toned-down version of a villain movie like Joker. Safe to say that we’re excited for whatever Oscar winner Emma Stone brings to the role, playing alongside Mark Strong and Emma Thompson. We can expect the movie to be released this May. 

Killers Of The Flower Moon: The Osage Murders And The Birth Of The Fbi

Realistically, all you need to know about this upcoming film is that it’s Martin Scorsese’s newest project. Almost in his 80s, the revered auteur is showing no signs of slowing down. After teaming up with Netflix for The Irishman, Scorsese is now working with Apple TV+, discovering just how much money and freedom can come from streaming services. The novel Killer of the Flower Moon by David Grann tells the true and historically appalling story around the murders of Osage Native Americans in 1920s Oklahoma and the FBI investigation and conspiracy surrounding it. Did we forget to mention the film, reportedly budgeted at over $200 million, will star Robert Deniro, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jesse Plemons? Well, now, you know. The film is expected to begin production this year. 

Until then, work your way through the all of the films nominated for best picture at this year's Oscars. 

Design Credit: Kate Mason

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase.

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