While many avid readers are opposed to their favorite books being butchered by serious plot changes and mediocre actors, I’m not opposed to film adaptations in the least. I find enjoyment in comparing books with their film counterparts, as you may have guessed by reading TMP (especially this month!). I usually do end up with a higher opinion of the book than the film, but adaptations can sometimes be very successful. And with the mindset that adaptations are a-okay, there’s still a whole world of written stories waiting to be told on screen. Without further ado, here is the second Adaptation Month list: three “chick lit” books that I would like to see adapted into films (in no particular order).
- Mating Rituals of the North American Wasp by Lauren Lipton
Synopsis: Peggy Adams, a small business owner from New York City, finds herself married to a man she doesn’t recognize after a pretty wild bachelorette party in Las Vegas. Peggy and her mysterious new husband Luke are both completely in favor of annulling the marriage, until Luke’s great aunt makes them a monetary offer they can’t refuse, on the condition that they remain married for a year.
Adapting it: I do realize that it would have been impossible since the book wasn’t released in the 20th century, but I think this would have made a great black and white comedy, with certain tweaks to suit the technology and language of the black and white era of course. The book is very sweet and somewhat typical, but I enjoyed it much more than I expected, and I think that it would come to life beautifully on film – especially with the amazing old house that Luke lives in!
Classic dream cast: I could see Myrna Loy as Peggy’s sassy best friend, Ginger Rogers as stubborn Peggy, Jimmy Stewart as the somewhat broody Luke and Helen Westley as the somewhat cold great aunt.
- Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff
Synopsis: Lily is a young newlywed whose husband has been sent to fight in World War II. He and other local soldiers are scheduled to return soon, and the small Georgia town of Toccoa is planning a very big celebration. Lily should be excited that her husband is returning, but when she falls for a visitor who is only in town to run the fireworks display for the celebration, she becomes torn between what her heart wants and the loyalty she should have to her marriage.
Adapting it: I would like to see this made with modern actors, to keep the 1940s flashbacks vs. present-day, older Lily structure in tact. There were also a few scenes in the book that were just too stereotypical and almost corny, but with a few small alterations on those scenes the story could make for a great romance film.
Modern dream cast: While reading, I immediately pictured Jessica Lange as present-day Lily, though she isn’t quite old enough for the role (Lange was born in ’49, and Lily is supposed to have a marriage under her belt by then). For young Lily, I would love to see Jessica Chastain, who is (in my opinion) one of the most promising and talented actresses of the moment. Jane Seymour could easily pull off the role of Lily’s overbearing and very traditional Southern mother. As for the men, I have no clue!
- Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
Synopsis: Lara Lington’s life takes a turn for the strange when she begins seeing the ghost of her great aunt Sadie (appearing as a misty apparition of herself in her 23-year-old flapper prime), who will not rest until Lara finds a special necklace that has been missing for seventy-five years. Lara searches for Sadie’s precious jewels, all the while absorbing Sadie’s advice on everything from work to relationships to fashion, and uncovers long-forgotten family secrets during her journey.
Adapting it: Sophie Kinsella is well known as one of the queens of chick lit, and I enjoyed the film adaptation of Confessions of a Shopaholic more than the novel, so this book (my favorite from her) was very easy for me to visualize. I don’t think much would need to be changed. I’d like to see an adaptation that stayed very true to the book, and maintained historical accuracy with the ’20s costumes!
Modern and classic dream casts: For a modern film, Rachel McAdams as Lara; Morena Baccarin as Sadie. Though I haven’t seen many of Baccarin’s works, she looks very similar to the Sadie in my head! Had this film been made in the 1950s, I would say Janet Leigh as Lara and Jeanne Craine as Sadie.
Featured “Chick Lit” Bookstore Image Credit: Alex Parsons