Well then. Chris and Dave did a pretty amazing job of making me want to see a bunch films that will unfortunately probably never be made. I have to agree that the Harry Hole books would make a great set of films (The Leopard was my introduction) – although Jo Nesbo’s next film will be based on his kid’s book Dr Proctor’s Fart Powder, so we may have a wait for them.
A quick note: my sister and I once both read a book on holiday called Messiah by Boris Starling, and both agreed it would make a fantastic film. We spent most of the fortnight talking about how great the book was, and how it was ready to go on the screen. When we got home we found out it had been made into a 2 part BBC drama with Ken Stott, and it WAS great! So, I dedicate this column to her.
Here are the books that I think are ready to be made into films.
The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs (Irvine Welsh, 2006)
Surely only a matter of time. I could have put Crime in here, which follows Ray Lennox from Filth (played by Jamie Bell in the film I reviewed in my Negotiating Netflix column) but this is the film that I want to see more. There is a fantasy element to all of Irvine Welsh’s work, despite obviously being grounded in reality, and this is the main strand of this book, as two very different people find their lives and fates tied together.
It would make a great film, having seen Filth recently I can’t really do any fantasy casting because the dynamic between the two characters is so similar to the Robertson/Blades relationship (James McAvoy/Eddie Marsan in the film) I can only see them in the roles.
Double Whammy (Carl Hiaasen, 1987)
My favourite book set in the world of Florida professional bass fishing has to be on this list. A private eye is hired by a sugar cane tycoon to prove that a celebrity fisherman is a cheat. There’s a detective involved as well that could be spun off into a TV series.
A perfect film for the Coen brothers, with their troupe of actors. There’s a John Goodman role, one for Steve Busemi, Frances McDormand can play that character, it would be such a good fit.
Also “and George Clooney as Skink” seems to me a perfect fit.
Book of Longing (Leonard Cohen, 2006)
A collection of poems by Leonard Cohen that would be ripe for a film adaptation. It would work so well as an anthology about love, loss, and loneliness (that is such a hack phrase!).
The illustrations could serve as way to link the stories together, whether it is a handful of short films or turn the whole lot over to different directors.
Think Paris je t’aime or New York, I Love You (or “22 Short Films About Springfield” if they really nailed it)
The Stars’ Tennis Balls (Stephen Fry, 2000)
If you haven’t read any of Stephen Fry’s books, unsurprisingly they are great. This is a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, and although probably not my favourite of his books (which could be Making History is about what would happen if Hitler’s father was made impotent), it’s probably the one that would make the best film.
I’m not sure about casting (the story starts in 1980 and goes to the end of the century), although a Hugh Laurie cameo (the book is dedicated to M’colleague) as a doctor or the school master who starts the events of the book in motion would be great. Maybe Russell Tovey in the lead role? I’d pay to see that.
The Devil in Amber (Mark Gatiss, 2006)
The second in the Lucifer Fox series, set 20 years after the first. Somewhere between The League of Gentlemen and Sherlock, Mark Gatiss created a flamboyent secret agent and turned every characteristic up to 11, and set 3 books in completely separate periods (The Vesuvius Club in set well before World War 1, and Black Butterfly is set in 1953).
It’s very doubtful we will ever see this onscreen, and I’m not sure Gatiss ever took the characters that seriously (Lucifer’s sister is called Pandora. Pandora Box.) so I doubt the books will ever be any more than a fun, tongue in cheek romp. Not that that’s a bad thing! The best I would hope for is an adaptation turning up on late night BBC2 around Christmas time.
This is my favourite of the three (Fox is moving into middle age and faces being pushed into retirement) and I could see Colin Firth being perfect in the lead role, and that was even before his Kingsman performance. Maybe Bill Nighy could play the older version for Black Butterfly.
And that is my five books. Thanks to Kelly for the original idea, and to Dave and Chris doing such a good job that I just had to join in. Maybe I’ll have the discipline to read more and will add another column.
See you next time.