25 Book-to-Movie Adaptations to Read up on for 2022

25 Book-to-Movie Adaptations to Read up on for 2022
Image: White Noise, by Don DeLillo/Penguin Publishing

As much as we love our screens — and we passionately love our screens — it’s good to remember that basically everything you watch on those screens begins with the written word, whether a screenplay or, yes, a book.

Those rectangular paper things have long provided the basis for a large chunk of what hits our screens (both big and, increasingly these days, less big and in our homes), but especially as the proliferation of streaming platforms has turned publishing into a race between a bunch of deep-pocketed companies desperate for IP, the book-to-film pipeline is practically gushing.

Take next year for example — we were able to dig up the details on 25 books arriving in theatres and on streaming next year, and that doesn’t even include the stuff being adapted in TV series/miniseries format (we’ll cover those next week). Plan your book club meetings accordingly.

Deep Water, by Patricia Highsmith

Deep Water combines Patricia Highsmith’s deeply cynical take on humanity with the powerful charisma of Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. If you forgot how Affleck and de Armas seemed to dominate the lockdown phase of 2020 (before Affleck and Jennifer Lopez came to dominate the Delta variant phase) with all those totally spontaneous, not-at-all-posed photos, the synergy of this movie will amaze you: Affleck plays a husband who keeps his marriage together by allowing his wife to have as many affairs as she wishes. When one of her lovers turns up dead, a twisty and pitch-black psychological game ensues, leading to a truly bleak ending. In other words, an ideal feel-good movie to kick off the new year.

Release date: Jan. 14 (US)

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers

Rivers’ historical romance was a worldwide bestseller, so a film adaptation seemed inevitable. Set in the 1850s Californian Gold Rush, it’s the story of Angel, a woman sold into prostitution as a young child who struggles to survive and endure the hatred and anger that boils within her. When she meets Michael, she refuses to believe he loves her unconditionally — and once she finally does, it inspires a fear she can’t face. Starring Abigail Cowen and Tom Lewis as Angel and Michael (along with Famke Janssen, Logan Marshall-Green, Nina Dobrev, and Eric Dane), this one is squarely aimed at the true romantics out there.

Release date: Jan. 21 (US)

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

The Unbreakable Boy, by Scott Michael LeRette

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LeRette’s memoir tells the story of his son Austin, an autistic boy born with a rare brittle bone disease. Despite his physical limitations and spending time in a mental ward as a child, Austin views the world with unrelenting wonder and positivity. The feel-good nature of the story is amplified by the fact that it’s based on a real kid and the adults around him inspired by his unbreakable spirit. The adaptation stars Jacob Laval as Austin and Zachary Levi as the father.

Release date: March 18 (US)

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Bullet Train (Maria Bītoru), by Kōtarō Isaka

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Isaka’s taut, innovative thriller about five assassins who find themselves on the same high-speed bullet train is the ideal book to adapt into a fast-paced thriller. If that premise doesn’t convince you, the cast probably will: Zazie Beetz, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Joey King, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson — and that’s just for starters (even Bad Bunny is in this). If you’re looking for a fresh take on the old “group of killers go after each other in a constrained space” trope, this looks like the one.

Release date: April 7

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Bad Guys, by Aaron Blabey

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Wondering how you’re going to keep your kids entertained in 2022? This has you covered: Aaron Blabey’s hit book series is arriving as a star-studded animated feature. Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Ms. Tarantula look, sound, and smell like bad guys — but they’re tired of it, and decide to change their image by doing heroic feats of goodness…but complications ensue. With Sam Rockwell voicing Mr. Wolf, Awkwafina as Ms. Tarantula, Anthony Ramos as Mr. Piranha, Marc Maron as Mr. Snake, and Craig Robinson as Mr. Shark.

Release date: April 2022

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King

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King’s second novel remains a classic of vampire li. It’s been adapted twice before, both times for television, but third time might be the charm, given that the story calls out for a bigger budget. The story mixes old-school horror tropes with a modern sensibility in classic King style: An ancient vampire arrives in the small town of Jerusalem’s Lot, sets up shop, and begins infecting the townsfolk, eventually leaving a writer and a young boy as the only ones who have any hope of stopping it. The film stars Lewis Pullman, Makenzie Leigh, Bill Camp, Spencer Treat Clark, William Sadler, and Alfre Woodard.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Dark Harvest, by Norman Partridge

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This adaptation of Partridge’s horror novel arrives just in time for those Halloween vibes to kick in. Every year, a small Midwestern town sends its young men to fight off the terrifying pumpkin-headed creature known as Sawtooth Jack (renamed October Boy in the film). The “winner” of the battle gets financial security and a hero’s welcome — but the trick is in the surviving part. Starring Elizabeth Reaser, Luke Kirby, and Jeremy Davies, this one will fill that Jack-o-Lantern sized hole in your fall.

Release date: Sept. 22

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, by Bernard Waber

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Combining live-action with CGI, this adaptation of Waber’s classic 1962 children’s book will either be a home run or a Cats-like nightmare. We’re hoping for the former, because the story of a crocodile living with the Primm family in their brownstone on 88th Street in New York City is about as charming as it gets. After a nasty neighbour has Lyle taken to the zoo, Lyle must prove he’s a good crocodile in order to stay with his family. Starring Javier Bardem, Brett Gelman, and Constance Wu.

Release date: Nov. 18 (US)

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Blonde, by Joyce Carol Oates

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The ever-surprising Oates once said she thought Blonde would be one of two books she’d be remembered for (the other being them), and it’s an easy argument to make. It’s the life story of Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean) told from Monroe’s perspective, a jazzy, surprising story that takes someone so famous they’re almost invisible and remakes them into a character. Starring Ana de Armas as Norma Jean along with a powerhouse cast including Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Garret Dillahunt, Scoot McNairy, Sara Paxton, and Julianne Nicholson, with direction by artsy auteur Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and prerelease rumours that it is very weird and very explicit, there’s every reason to be excited for this one — once Netflix finally sets a release date.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: Netflix

The Black Phone, by Joe Hill

When the trailer for The Black Phone, adapted from Joe Hill’s terrifying short story, hit the Internet all anyone could focus on was the incredibly disturbing mask Ethan Hawke wears; if you are looking for some nightmare fuel to totally ruin your January, here it is. When a young boy is kidnapped, he’s kept prisoner in one of those classic serial killer soundproof basements, where an old, disconnected landline sits. He soon discovers he can use the phone to communicate with the killer’s previous victims, who attempt to give him advice that will help him survive and escape.

Release date: Jan 27

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie

Kenneth Branagh’s follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express was supposed to come out in December 2019, then was delayed until 2020. Then the pandemic hit, and the film bounced around the schedule a few times (in retrospect, the idea it might have come out in October 2020 seems charmingly optimistic). When star Armie Hammer decided to reveal his true self, causing the world to recoil in horror, the movie got pushed again. Now it’s due out in February. Christie remains the best-selling novelist in history, Nile is one of her best and best-loved novels, and the first movie was a surprise hit, so maybe it still has a shot.

Release date: Feb. 10

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, by Paul Gallico

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Gallico’s classic 1958 novel about a London charwoman who becomes obsessed with owning a gown from House of Dior in Paris is getting its second adaptation. The novel remains beloved to this day for its warmhearted humour and surprisingly poignant ending, and the House of Dior, of course, remains the House of Dior. Starring Lesley Manville (as Ada Harris), Isabelle Huppert, and Jason Isaacs, the film is sure to be hit with anyone who has leafed through an issue of Vogue and dreamed of someday owning a piece of custom couture.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

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The Summer of 2022 will kick off in June with the arrival of this adaptation of Owens’ blockbuster bestseller. Daisy Edgar-Jones of Normal People fame will star as Kya, a girl who grows up in isolation in the marshes of North Carolina after her mother and eventually the rest of her family abandons her. Half unique coming-of-age story and half murder mystery, Edgar-Jones seems perfectly cast as a conflicted outsider who learns to hold her secrets close to her heart.

Release date: June 24

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

White Bird, by R.J. Palacio

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White Bird is a sequel of sorts to Wonder, Palacio’s bestselling book about a young boy with a rare facial deformity growing up in Brooklyn. The bully from that book (and film), Julian, is visited by his grandmother, who tells him her remarkable story of being a young Jewish girl in France who was hidden from the Nazis by her classmate’s family. With Gillian Anderson and Helen Mirren providing plenty of star power, there’s a reasonable chance this one will recreate the magic of the first film.

Release date: Sept. 16 (US)

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

She Said, by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor

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Time has no meaning anymore, so it might seem like the Harvey Weinstein scandal came and went decades ago — but the fight never really ends. Twohey and Kantor’s journalism took down Weinstein and made the sexist culture that enabled him undeniable. The film version of their true-life investigation stars Zoe Kazan ad Kantor and Carey Mulligan as Twohey and promises to follow in the tradition of classic journalism thrillers like All the President’s Men and The Insider.

Release date: Nov. 17

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

The Nightingale, by Kritsin Hannah

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Hannah’s blockbuster novel about two sisters who take different paths to survive — and resist — Nazi-occupied France during World War II gets some serious star treatment, with Elle and Dakota Fanning starring as Vianne and Isabelle. This is the first time the sisters have acted opposite one another, which is a decent hook; that, plus the holiday release date, makes this the sort of film with the epic sweep to become both a box-office hit and an Oscar contender.

Release date: Jan 1

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue

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It’s Florence Pugh’s world right now, we’re just living in it. After breaking through in Midsommar and getting into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Black Widow, she’s set to star in the adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel about a young girl in 19th-century Ireland who begins a fast for spiritual reasons and seemingly suffers no physical harm, surviving for a month without food or drink. It was filmed on location in Ireland, so you know it’s going to look amazing. Donoghue co-wrote the script, and she knows a little something about screenplays — she was nominated for an Academy Award for her work on the adaptation of her novel Room.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: Netflix

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

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Zevin’s novel has that indescribable quality that inspires hope the human race might not be totally fucked. A.J. Fikry is the widowed owner of a failing bookstore who plans to simply give up and sink into a bottle. His self-destructive plans are sidetracked when an abandoned baby is left at his store and he suddenly finds a reason to shape up his life. Starring Kunal Nayyar as Fikry (along with Lucy Hale, Christina Hendricks, and relative newcomer Blaire Brown), it has effective tearjerker written all over it.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani

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Chainani’s series, set in the magical Endless Woods where children attend the titular school to learn how to be fairy tale heroes or villains, hits screens in 2022 with Sofia Wylie and Sophia Anne Caruso as best friends Agatha and Sophie, who are taken to the titular school and assigned to different sides. They must then figure out how to get back home while maintaining their friendship. With Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Laurence Fishburne, and Michele Yeoh playing faculty, this might just scratch the Harry Potter-shaped itch you and your kids have been feeling.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: Netflix

The Stars at Noon, by Denis Johnson

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Johnson’s brooding, thoughtful 1986 novel is the type that really stays with you. It tells the story of an unnamed journalist living in Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution. She’s bitter and jaded towards all the players in the political chaos and violence but falls in love with a wealthy businessman that leads them both to risk everything. It’s being brought to the big screen by acclaimed French director Clair Denis (who also co-wrote the screenplay) and stars Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn as the desperate lovers.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: In theatres

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

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People just can’t stop adapting Jane Austen novels, a fact that has generated seriously variable results. Persuasion, the last novel Austen completed before her death, is no exception — it’s been adapted five times already. And why not? The story is evergreen: Anne Elliot falls in love with the dashing Captain Wentworth, but her family convinces her she can do better she dumps him. Seven years later the Elliots are broke and have to rent their gorgeous home out — to Wentworth’s extended family, which brings him and Anne back into contact. With Dakota Johnson in the lead as Anne Elliot, this Netflix-produced film should be a real treat. As with all Austen books, it’s the journey, not the destination, and the journey should be filled with great frocks, sharp dialog, and biting social commentary that remains fresh even after 200 years.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: Netflix

Peter Pan & Wendy, by J.M. Barrie

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This is an adaptation of an adaptation — it’s a live-action remake of the classic 1953 animated film Peter Pan, itself adapted from Barrie’s play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. But really, all you need to know is that Jude Law is playing Captain Hook and Jim Gaffigan is playing Smee; Molly Parker and Alan Tudyk play Mr. and Mrs. Darling, with Ever Anderson as Wendy, Yara Shahidi as Tinkerbell and Alexander Molony as Peter Pan. It’ll hit Disney+ screens at some point in 2022.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: Disney+

White Noise, by Don Delillo

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HBO’s house brand is increasingly smart, paranoid, and kind of dark. Which means an adaptation of Delillo’s breakout novel is a perfect fit. The book that gave us the phrase “airborne toxic event” arrives in film form thanks to someone else whose brand seems like a perfect match: Noah Baumbach. Starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig as Jack and Babette Gladney, the story of Jack’s unravelling as a train crash spreads a deadly cloud of toxic gas over his town is as postmodern as a story can get — and we mean that in a good way.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: Netflix

All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque

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The true test of a classic is that it never goes out of style, and this haunting tale of suffering and death during World War I remains sadly relevant in the modern-day. The novel was adapted to film in 1930 and won the Oscar for Best Picture that year — the first non-musical “talkie” to grab the honour. Netflix is taking another stab at it in 2022, and the film will star Daniel Brühl. Interestingly, the story is being filmed in its native German, not English — but Netflix viewers have proved with Squid Game and Money Heist that they’re not afraid of subtitles.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: Netflix

My Policeman, by Bethan Roberts

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With a few Grammys under his belt and a much talk-about cameo in the Eternals film, Harry Styles had a pretty great 2021. The next year might be even better for the former boy-bander, as he’s starring in the adaptation of Roberts’ complex story of a gay policeman in 1957 Brighton who marries a woman in order to conform to society’s rules, but is deeply in love with a museum curator named Patrick. The unconventional triangle leads to a shocking betrayal — and maybe Styles’ first truly breakout acting role — when it finally arrives in 2022.

Release date: TBA

Streaming or in theatres: Amazon Prime


Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.

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