by Kellie Abrahamson
Literature has inspired works in nearly all forms of entertainment. Countless plays, paintings, video games and even albums have been penned, painted, designed and composed after someone creative read someone else’s creation. But arguably the artists guiltiest of turning books into something else altogether are filmmakers. Many of the stories in Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters got their start on bookshelves (Harry Potter, anyone?) and, with hundreds of books being optioned for film each year, the phenomenon isn’t likely to change anytime soon. In February alone four movies are being released with roots in literature. Here’s a look at each one.
Coraline (in theaters February 6)
Inspired by: the novella Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Henry Selick, director of stop-motion classics The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, is back with his newest animated creation Coraline. The film is about a bored, unhappy little girl who discovers an alternate reality behind a door in her family’s new apartment. In this other world her distracted parents pay attention to her and life in general is far more thrilling. Coraline loves spending time there but soon discovers that if she wants to stay, there’s a big price to pay. When she decides that price is a bit too high, the twisted reality behind this new world is revealed.
Coraline is based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novella. The tale has inspired not just this film but also at least three songs, a video game and an upcoming off-Broadway musical. As if that weren’t enough, Gaiman’s book was even adapted into a graphic novel last year.
He’s Just Not That Into You (in theaters February 6)
Inspired by: He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo
Based on the popular bestseller by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo comes a film about the trials and tribulations of relationships and the clues that can tell you if he (or she) is just not that into you. The film follows the lives of a group of twenty- and thirty-somethings trying to navigate the dating pool and beyond. At its core is Gigi, a romantically-naive young woman who just wants her happy ending, and Alex, a guy who’s seen all the pitfalls of dating and dispenses some common sense advice to the confused girl.
Behrendt’s self-help book was actually inspired by a line of dialogue from an episode of Sex and the City, a show which itself was based on a novel by Candace Bushnell. A stand-up comedian and writer for the HBO series, Behrendt’s humorous, straight-forward look on dating earned him the seal of approval from Oprah and his own no-nonsense advice show on SOAPnet.
Confessions of a Shopaholic (in theaters February 13)
Inspired by: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
A shopping addict gets her fix when she moves to New York City in this chick-flick based on the first two books in Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. Rebecca is an aspiring fashion journalist who can’t seem to find a job or keep her spending down. She ironically gets a gig as an advice columnist for a financial magazine but could have a problem keeping it with all the credit card bills piling up. Will the love of a handsome millionaire be the answer to her prayers?
Sophie Kinsella is a former financial journalist who has written eight best-selling novels, five of which make up her Shopaholic series. While the film version is about an American girl with a passion for high-end fashion, the heroine in the books is from England, and that’s just the beginning of the differences between the two.
Youth in Revolt
(in theaters February 20)
Inspired by: Youth in Revolt: The Journals of Nick Twisp by C.D. Payne
Michael Cera will star in this campy comedy about Nick Twisp, a sex-obsessed teen whose awkward demeanor and trashy family make finding a girlfriend nearly impossible. On an impromptu vacation to a seedy trailer park Nick finally meets the girl of his dreams but her mind games and current boyfriend just add to Nick’s problems. That’s when he decides to revolt.
C.D. Payne wrote Youth in Revolt: The Journals of Nick Twisp back in 1993 as the first three parts in a six-part Nick Twisp series. The remaining tales of Twisp were told in the book’s three sequels. Youth in Revolt inspired a stage play and was being developed into a television series by MTV and Fox Television (though the project never actually saw the light of day).
Inspired By… Your monthly guide to lit-based entertainment
by Kellie Abrahamson