Student Life

Five popular books to hit the box office as screenplays

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Recently, it seems like every other movie that comes out is on based on a popular novel. Have Hollywood writers completely run out of ideas? On the contrary, film companies know when they’re making a movie based on a popular novel that the plotline is solid and it already has an established fan base. However, the fans are bound to have many expectations about their favorite book being turned into a movie. Screenwriters must know they have to walk a fine line of creative freedom and loyalty to the book, because if those die-hard fans don’t like it, it will be dead in a second thanks to social media sites.

Yet, the directors in charge of these five upcoming movies seem to be up to the challenge. With some premiering as early as November of 2013, and some a full year later, fans are already in a frenzy to see their favorite books come to life.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief is a novel by Markus Zusak about the Holocaust but with a unique twist. The novel is narrated by Death, and it follows the life of a German girl named Liesel whose foster family is hiding a Jew in their basement. It has captured the heart of both young and old with its creative story-telling techniques and its epic characters who sacrifice everything for the people they love.

The Book Thief is a great book,” senior Kristen Rehl said. “I like that is was told from the perspective of a German family sympathizing with the Jews.”

The movie is set to hit theaters Nov. 8, 2013. The cast includes Sophia Nelisse as Liesel, Ben Schnetzer as Max, Nico Liersch as Rudy, and Geoffrey Rush as Hans Hubermann, or Papa. Rehl said that after seeing the trailer, the movie looks promising. The only major change she noticed is that the trailer is narrated by Liesel, rather than by Death. “I think it’s going to be good. The characters all look like how I picture them. I wish it was still narrated by Death, though,” Rehl said.

Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth is a dystopian novel in which society is divided by into five different factions of thinking : The Dauntless, who value bravery;  the Candor, who value honesty; the Erudite, who value knowledge;  the Amity, who value harmony; and the Abnegation, who value selflessness. The heroine of the novel, Tris, is divergent, meaning she cannot be cornered into one faction. In this society, being divergent means being uncontrollable, and the government will do anything to try and eliminate them. It’s full of epic battles, a forbidden romance, and Tris’s constant moral struggle, which is relatable to all readers.

“I really like this book because you really start to identify with the characters,” senior Grace Hiltz said. “The ideals and morals of the factions are very similar to the ideals and morals of today’s society.”

The movie won’t be released until March 21, 2014, but the recent release of the first official trailer and a behind the scenes featurette has Divergent fans excited. Shailene Woodley will play the leading role of Tris. Other cast members include Theo James as Four, Zoe Kravitz as Christina, Maggie Q as Tori, and Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews. Hiltz said the movie definitely has the potential to be good, and the trailer seems fairly faithful to the story line.

Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card follows a young boy named Ender in a time where Earth is at war with an alien species. To prepare for the return of these aliens, the government has created the Command School to train future military heroes who can save the world from the impending alien return. Ender, while young and small, is the only one who can save the day.

“I like this book because I like books that have alternate realities,” junior Matthew Waldeck said. “They show me things that happen in other worlds and how cool it would be for that to be me, and putting myself in the main character’s shoes and feeling what he is feeling.”

This movie is the first of all five to premiere, coming out on Nov. 1, 2013. Asa Butterfield will take on the role of Ender. Also in the cast is Abigail Breslin as Valentine, Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham, and Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff. While the author is not directly involved in the project, the trailer appears promising and loyal to the book’s storyline. Waldeck is really looking forward to seeing the book come to life. “I have some high hopes for this movie and I hope it turns out really well,” Waldeck said.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars is a novel by John Green about Hazel, a teenage girl fighting cancer. Just when Hazel is starting to lose hope, Augustus Waters shows up at the Cancer Kid Support Group. Their friendship turned love story develops throughout the novel as they support each other and fight together to stay alive. Hazel and Gus learn to love, to sacrifice, and to live like they are dying.

“I absolutely love this book because I think it’s a truthful portrayal of teenagers,” senior Anna Schuh said. “The characters are quirky, which is what makes them so endearing.”

The movie is planned to premiere June 6, 2014. While the trailer has not yet been released, the cast list is available. Shailene Woodly plays Hazel and Ansel Elgort plays Gus. The movie still has a few more months of production, but Schuh is positive that it’s going to be a great film adaptation.

“I think it’ll be good because [author] John Green is actively involved,” Schuh said. “He tweets from the set all the time.”

Maze Runner

Maze Runner , a novel by James Dashner, is about a mysterious place called the Glade, which is surrounded on all sides by a dangerous and ever changing maze. Once a month, a new boy is sent into the Glade with no memories of his previous life. Thomas is one of these boys, but he will play a special role. Soon after Thomas arrives, a girl is sent into the Glade for the first time, and she is said to be the last one who will be sent in. Thomas befriends her and becomes a maze runner, someone who travels in the maze by day attempting to map it and find a way out. When the maze starts acting even more strangely than usual, it is up to Thomas and his friends to lead the escape.

“I liked this book because it was humorous, exciting, and very well written,” junior Michelle Rowekamp said. “I think the movie will be very good because the author is directly involved with the making of the movie.”

In fact, it was Dashner who wrote the screenplay. This is very promising for the film, which is set for release Sept. 19, 2014. Dylan O’Brien will play Thomas, Kaya Scodelario will play Teresa, and Blake Cooper will play Chuck.

Seeing these best-sellers come to life on the big screen is great for fans of the books, but it also can be a problem for reading. More and more people are inclined not to read books, because they can just wait for the movie to come out. All the students who were interviewed agreed, though, that no matter how amazing a movie is, it can never compare to the book.

“Books will always be better than the movies because you can imagine them exactly how you want,” Hiltz said.

Rehl agreed. “They tend to change things in the movies. It’s never exactly how you imagined it.”

So, as students are scurrying to movietickets.com to preorder their midnight showing tickets, they should make sure to read the books first if they haven’t already. It’s the only way to make the story perfect in the eyes of the reader. As Rehl said, “You’re always going to like it better in your own head.”

About Sarah Ruwe

Senior Sarah Ruwe is an Advanced Journalism student and a staff reporter. She enjoys cheerleading and has been on the McNicholas cheerleading squad for four years. She is involved in Service Club, Spirit Club, and is a McNicholas ambassador. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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Photo of the Week

U.S. Representative and U.S. Army Reserves Colonel Brad Wenstrup presents WWII veteran Frank "Bud" Buschmeier with the French Legion of Honor Medal on Nov. 10 during McNicholas's Veterans Day assembly. Following the assembly, McNick hosted its annual Veterans Day Breakfast to thank veterans and active service-members for their service to the United States.

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