Briefing

7 book-to-screen adaptations to watch in 2023

Old books, new spins

Last year, many impressive book-to-TV adaptations landed on streaming platforms. In 2023, filmmakers and TV producers are debuting a few more, and the source material spans everything from detective mysteries to childhood classics. In fact, some of this year's most anticipated TV shows and movies are based on books. 

Here are seven books being adapted for the screen in early 2023 to keep your eye on:

'The Pale Blue Eye,' by Louis Bayard (2007)

Has anyone else noticed the resurgence of murder mystery stories? Fans of the genre can rejoice because 2023 has even more whodunnits on the way. First up is The Pale Blue Eye, which started streaming on Netflix on Jan. 6 after a limited cinematic release last December. The film is based the on the 2007 novel of the same name by Louis Bayard and is set in 1830, following detective Augustus Landor as he investigates a suspicious suicide at West Point Academy. Tasked with investigating discreetly to avoid scandal, Landor finds a surprising ally in one of the academy's cadets, a poet with a murky past named Edgar Allan Poe (!!). Together, the pair tackle the investigation that leads them to secret societies and more murder victims. 

The film stars Christian Bale as Detective Landor and Harry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe. If you look closely enough, you might catch Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman (D) and his wife as extras in one of the scenes! The senator befriended Bale and the film's director Scott Cooper in 2013 while filming Out of the Furnace in the Pennsylvanian town Fetterman was mayor of at the time. "John's got this fantastic face, hulking figure," Bale said during a film screening. "So I said to Scott, 'We've got to have him in the tavern. That's a face that fits in the 1830s.'"

The Pale Blue Eye, starring Christian Bale, Harry Melling, and Gillian Anderson, is now streaming on Netflix.

'The Lives of the Mayfair Witches' Trilogy, by Anne Rice (1990-1994)

AMC's Mayfair Witches is the second adaptation of the late Anne Rice's work to hit the platform after the successful run of the first season of Interview With the Vampire. The network hopes to build a TV universe around Rice's work after acquiring the rights to 18 of her novels in 2020. The newest adaptation is based on The Lives of Mayfair Witches trilogy, a supernatural horror-fantasy series that centers on a family of witches. Generations after their ancestors conjured a spirit named Lasher, Mayfair descendants are still dealing with the fallout from the spell. The story goes back and forth between the past and the modern-day, where a descendant named Rowan Mayfair is tormented by destructive power.

Ann Rice's Mayfair Witches, starring Alexandra Daddario, Harry Hamlin, and Tongayi Chirisa, is now streaming on AMC and AMC+

'A Man Called Ove,' by Fredrik Backman (2014)

A Man Called Otto, a comedy-drama directed by Marc Forster, is a remake of a 2015 film called A Man Called Ove. (The film's predecessor adapted Fredrik Backman's novel of the same name.) The story follows a cranky 60-year-old man, Otto, who is forced into retirement after his wife's death. Otto is grumpy and a stickler for the rules, which inevitably leads to his being isolated. Faced with overbearing loneliness, Otto decides to commit suicide. However, his plans are interrupted by an unlikely bond with new neighbors who help him rediscover the joy of life. 

A Man Called Otto, starring Tom Hanks, Rachel Keller, and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, hit theaters on Jan. 13.

'Wolf Pack,' by Edo van Belkom (2004)

Later this month, Paramount+ is debuting Wolf Pack, a supernatural teen drama and Teen Wolf spinoff about a group of teens that shape-shift into wolves — with a modern twist. When a TV crew publicizes the teens' transformations, their freedom becomes threatened. Scientists capture one of them, Tora, leaving her brothers to fend for themselves and plot her rescue. Adopted as wolf cubs, the teens' parents often warned them against attempting to turn into full-fledged werewolves. Left with seemingly no other choice, the brothers grapple with whether or not to cross that line to free their sister. The series is based on the novel Wolf Pack by Edo van Belkom.

Wolf Pack, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Rodrigo Santoro, and Armani Jackson, debuts on Paramount+ on Jan. 26.

'The Cabin at the End of the World,' by Paul Tremblay (2018)

Knock at the Cabin is an M. Night Shyamalan-directed adaptation of The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. The psychological horror movie centers on a family vacationing in a remote cabin. A stranger appears in the driveway, and the family's 7-year-old child invites the man to play.  More strangers arrive, take the parents hostage, and demand that the family make the ultimate sacrifice to save the world from an apocalyptic threat. Dave Bautista is one of the stars in the film, another opportunity for him to show off his range as a serious actor. 

Knock at the Cabin, starring Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, and Ben Aldridge, debuts in theaters on Feb. 3.

'Winnie-the-Pooh,' by A.A. Milne (1926)

Early last year, the beloved characters from A.A. Milne's 1926 classic children's book Winnie-the-Pooh officially entered the public domain. The adventures of the iconic yellow bear with an affinity for honey and his group of loving animal friends have spawned generations of fans. Though Disney maintains trademark rights over many Pooh-related products, artists can now include iterations of the characters in their work without permission. While it might not be what most fans of the Hundred Acre Woods expect, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey directors take the classic characters in a horrifying new direction. The slasher comedy reimagines Pooh and Piglet as psychotic killers after Christopher Robin abandons them. Horror fans with a morbid sense of humor might enjoy this dark twist on the honey-loving anthropomorphic teddy bear. 

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, starring Amber Doig-Thorne, Maria Taylor, and Danielle Ronald, debuts in theaters for a one-night event on Feb. 15.

'Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret,' by Judy Blume (1970)

Judy Blume's 1970 iconic Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is finally getting a movie. The young adult novel has been adapted with Ant-Man's Abby Ryder Fortson as the title character, along with Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates. The story follows 11-year-old Margaret Simons, who recently moved from New York City to suburban New Jersey. In this coming-of-age classic, Margaret has to navigate puberty as she desperately tries to fit in at her new school. She struggles to understand her faith as a child of non-practicing Jewish and Christian parents, secretly talking to God about her worries. After over 50 years, generations of the novel will finally get to see Margaret's journey through the awkwardness of adolescence come to life. Deadline reported that the movie's trailer ends with the book's iconic mantra, "We must, we must, we must increase our busts."

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, starring Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, and Kathy Bates, debuts in theaters on Apr. 28.

Recommended

The daily business briefing: February 2, 2023
Meta logo
Business briefing

The daily business briefing: February 2, 2023

10 things you need to know today: February 2, 2023
Tyre Nichols funeral
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 2, 2023

Will Donald Trump win the Republican nomination?
Donald Trump.
Briefing

Will Donald Trump win the Republican nomination?

A new era for DC: Everything we know
James Gunn
Feature

A new era for DC: Everything we know

Most Popular

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained
Hogwarts Legacy logo photo
Briefing

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained

Linda Ronstadt is the Kate Bush of 2023 thanks to The Last of Us
Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in The Last of Us
running up that hill

Linda Ronstadt is the Kate Bush of 2023 thanks to The Last of Us

The Adani Group scandal, explained
Gautam Adani.
Briefing

The Adani Group scandal, explained