Your Best Bets for Page-to-Screen Adaptations in 2013: Part 1

As an avid moviegoer, I enjoy finding out what new films are coming to the multiplex near me. I thought you might, too. That’s why I’ve looked ahead into 2013 to see what page-to-screen adaptations will be making their debut in the New Year. But don’t worry; I won’t overwhelm you. This series will be delivered in four parts over the next year, with each part consisting of two picks for each month of every quarter. First up, January through March. Get your popcorn ready.


Struck by Lighting

Glee star Chris Colfer’s coming-of-age comedy Struck By Lighting, based on the book of the same name (Colfer wrote both the novel and the screenplay and stars in the film; is there anything this kid can’t do?) made its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival in April 2012, but didn’t open wide until January 11.

The story is told by Carson Philips (Colfer) in flashbacks – after he’s struck and killed by lighting – about how he blackmailed his fellow students into contributing to his self-published literary magazine as a way to secure his place at his dream college.

Struck by Lighting “is about all the kids in high school who are overachieving in their own right and under-appreciated for it just like I was. I think it’s very sarcastic and very real. I hope it goes to show that there are still lots and lots of smart kids out in the world. It’s about smart kids and not about stupid kids who wanna get laid and that’s their biggest goal in life,” Colfer told Entertainment Weekly. Struck by Lighting also stars Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), and It Funny Girl Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect).

Gangster Squad

Director Ruben Fleischer’s crime film Gangster Squad received unwanted attention this past summer in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting when it was reported that it’s already released trailer featured a scene in which characters shoot submachine guns into a crowded movie screening; the trailer was quickly pulled and the film was re-cut to remove the scene before its January 11 bow.

Loosely based on a series of 2008 Los Angeles Times newspaper articles by journalist Paul Lieberman about a secret police unit tasked with running the mob out of post-WWII L.A., Gangster Squad features an ensemble cast that includes Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Emma Stone.


Bullet to the Head

Based on Alexis Nolent’s French graphic novel Du Plomb Dans La Tete, director Walter Hill’s Bullet to the Head stars Sylvester Stallone as a hitman who teams up with a rookie D.C. detective (Sung Kang) to exact revenge on the vicious murders that brought the duo together.

Expect a fair amount of gritty violence in this flick shot in New Orleans, which also features Christian Slater, Jason Momoa, and Jon Seda. Originally premiering at the International Rome Film Festival in November 2012, Bullet to the Head is scheduled to hit theaters February 1.

Beautiful Creatures

Now that the Twilight films are all but a memory, there’s a void in the fever-pitch world of YA cinema. Enter Beautiful Creatures, the big-screen adaptation of authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s best-selling supernatural romance series. Directed by Richard LaGravenese, Beautiful Creatures follows the budding love of Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), a newcomer to small-town Gatlin, South Carolina, and Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), who becomes enchanted by the secrets that plague Lena’s adolescence.

As the love-struck pair grows closer, their romance is threatened by a potentially dark fate that will be revealed on Lena’s 16th birthday. And, no, she’s not a vampire. Beautiful Creatures opens just in time for Valentine’s Day, on Feb. 13. (Because movies marketers aren’t stupid, y’all.)

MARCH 2013

Jack and the Giant Slayer

The Cornish fairy tale first published in English Fairy Tales in 1711 comes to life on March 1, and you can expect director Bryan Singer’s retelling of this classic story to be much more spectacle than Nathan H. Juran’s 1962 rubber-monster version. Despite the big-budget production, however, the premise remains largely the same – boy opens portal between worlds, giants wreak havoc on earth, boy becomes legend by killing giants – complete with a powerhouse of British thespians that include Nicholas Hoult as Jack, alongside Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, and Ewan McGregor.

While this adaptation had the potential to be dark and dangerous, it veers in a more fantastical direction with spotty attempts at humor, likely to secure a PG-13 rating. Only time will tell whether it’ll rise to the occasion or be crushed by the competition.

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Fans of author L. Frank Baum have waited nearly three-quarters of a century for an Oz film to come along that even comes close to the wonder that was 1939’s The Wizard of Oz (even if it wasn’t true to tale), and it seems that our prayers may have been answered with Oz the Great and Powerful.

Chameleonic actor James Franco takes on the iconic title role in this Sam Raimi-directed offering, which serves as somewhat of a prequel to both the 1900 book and subsequent MGM film. Many of Oz’s familiar faces pop up, including Glinda (Michelle Williams), the Munchkins, and a sky full of CGI flying monkeys. If this trip over the rainbow goes well, expect to return to Oz at least a couple more times over the next few years. Oz the Great and Powerful twists into theaters March 8.


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