6 September 2018

Book Adaptations at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival



This is one of our favourite posts to write because we use these books to start padding our Christmas lists. We've compiled all the books that are being adapted at the Toronto International Film Festival which starts today and runs until September 16th. If you've read our past posts, TIFF is a festival we hate to love, but we always go opening weekend with Meagan's mom and it's a highlight of our year. If any of these are interesting to you, some tickets may still be available. If you can't get tickets (which is not uncommon with their awful system) you can always go stand on the street while the movies open and just stalk celebs.



I have always wanted to read this memoir because it is now super famous for being a complete lie. It was chosen for Oprah's book club and was a New York Times bestseller for weeks... then James Frey was accused of making up half the stuff that happened. A magazine published a story called "A Million Little Lies" where they just disputed half Frey's 'memoir'. I can't even handle how awkward this is. He later tried to pass the book off as a 'semi-fictional' novel.

ANYWAYS, Sam Taylor-Johnson (a very cool artist who ended up directing Fifty Shades of Grey) adapted the memoir and it stars her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick Ass, Nocturnal Animals). The two met on set for the movie Nowhere Boy (about John Lennon) when he was 18 and she was 42... - Meghan



I am VERY interested in this father's memoir (though the title is nauseating) and love that it's partially combined with the son's memoir, Tweak: Growing up on Methamphetamines. I am so, so fascinated with addiction and could easily see myself loving the two different perspectives merged in this adaptation. I am interested in seeing the film because I think it will be Oscar bait. You can already watch the full trailer for this here. - Meghan



I already mentioned this in a previous post on book adaptations to watch for, and as I write this, this is the next book on my list to read (so look for a review soon). I bought this memoir (of the same name) by Garrard Conley as soon as I heard that Joel Edgerton was writing the screenplay and the Lucas Hedges would star in it. I am 100% on board with Hedges after Manchester By the Sea and I think he trumps Timothee Chalamet as currently best young male actor. You can watch the full trailer for this here. - Meghan



I have so much interest in seeing this adaptation, titled Burning, but I'm not sure if we will get to fit it in at TIFF. David Ehrlich gave it a 5 star review and all his review read was "masterpiece" with a bunch of flame emojis... All the critics at Cannes were going crazy about it and were saying the less you know about it the better. The mystery surrounding this movie is killing me and I can't wait to eventually see it.

South Korean Lee Chang-dong is directing, and I only recently learned that it is actually based off the short story "Barn Burning" by Haruki Murakami. I have read a few short stories by Murakami but never a full piece of his fiction. I really loved the short stories, and one of them was the reason I decided to start swimming so frequently during my graduate program in Ontario. You can watch the full trailer for this here. - Meghan



This adaptation is based on Lee Israel's memoir by the same name where she recounts her life as an author and ultimately as a criminal, forging rare letters from deceased celebrities. Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) directs the adaptation which stars Melissa McCarthy as Israel. The book is reviewed (surprisingly) as quite funny, and I'd be more interested in seeing this if McCarthy hadn't annoyed me in everything she's done since she stopped playing Suki on Gilmore Girls. I also anticipate this will be one that will hit mainstream theatres in no time as well. You can watch the full trailer for this here. - Meagan



This film is adapted from Frank Bill's novel by the same name and honestly, this is a hard blurb to write because I know nothing about the author / book / film / cast / director (I just texted Meg and told her she was in charge of the rest because I can't make these up anymore). What I will say is it's based around a high stakes bare-knuckle fight between an undefeated master fighter and a tough guy looking for a payout. This plot alone has some amazing potential. I don't think it's one we'll see at TIFF because #priorities but it's something I would definitely watch at home. - Meagan



I'm incredibly excited about this adaptation and I've already posted all about why in the post we did on adaptations to get excited about - in summary, Damian Chazelle, Ryan Gosling, and a NEIL ARMSTRONG BIOPIC. I love learning about astronauts. Meghan and I watched Apollo 13 way too late with way too much schoolwork to do a few years back and we found ourselves researching how we ourselves could be astronauts. While this would be a premiere I'd love to attend, it's not something we're likely to see at TIFF because it will be playing non-stop in Cineplexes across the continent before Christmas (also the TIFF schedule wildly sucks and we would only be able to go at the worst time at the worst theatre). You can watch the amazing trailer for this here. - Meagan



I have never read anything by James Baldwin, but between this and a really beautiful quotation used in Orange is the New Black, I feel like I need to pick something up. Obviously this is a must see of the year... This will be Barry Jenkin's follow up to Moonlight (which was incredible).

The book (of the same name) follows a young black couple in New York after he is falsely imprisoned and she learns she is pregnant. The trailer (which you can watch here) gives me shivers and I think this would be an amazing TIFF experience. I am very obsessed with the story that when Jenkins showed Moonlight at TIFF Jonathan Demme was in the audience and was like standing up waving his hands during q-and-a to ask a sound design question. RIP you beautiful man. - Meghan



I have loved Jason Reitman for a long time and love that he always has something out at TIFF (being a Canadian boy and all). I loved his early work and was really happy that he returned to form with Tully (after stinkers like Labor Day). This movie is based off the book All the Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai. It follows a presidential candidate who was doubling Bush in numbers but saw everything fall apart after the media learned of a potential affair he was having. I feel like this will be great source material for a classic Reitman film... fast paced, witty, and hilarious.  You can watch the trailer here. - Meghan


This film is adapted from a young adult book by the same name written by Angie Thomas. It follows a teen girl who becomes an activist after she sees the police shoot her best friend. The story was created in 2009 following the shooting of Oscar Grant but Thomas picked the project back up and turned it into a full novel after the more recent shootings of African-American teens like Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice. I don't know anything about the screenplay writer, director, or cast, but I think this will be an important movie this year based on how politically relevant this issue is right now. I won't ever read the book because I think young adult fiction would make me cringe at the ripe age of 27 but this is definitely a film I'm interested in seeing, although it didn't make our shortlist for this year's festival. You can watch the full trailer here. - Meagan


This is another movie I'd have really loved to see this year but is NOT PLAYING OPENING WEEKEND. It's about a grown man played by Ben Mendelsohn who feels discontent with his life, moves out, leaves his wife, and tries to pursue 'freedom' after being married for 40 years, and then realizes maybe he's made a mistake. I've already ordered the book as this is exactly the type of content I love to read. I also think book titles that follow the format "The X of X" are incredibly compelling. The adaptation is being directed by Nicole Holofcener who wrote and directed Enough Said, which I think is the cutest movie ever, and also stars Edie Falco and Connie Britton who I love. This is one of my great disappointments of TIFF this year and my only solace is it's going straight to Netflix this month. You can watch the full trailer here. - Meagan


I love any book that was originally a magazine article and then expanded into a book (e.g. The Last American Man, Into Thin Air, etc.) And I feel like this weird story could also be a really enjoyable read. The 2003 New Yorker article is also titled "The Old Man and the Gun" but the book of essays it's found in (written by David Grann) has an even better title: The Devil and Sherlock Holmes.

I love Casey Affleck and I love that he is the detective hunting down Robert Redford's criminal character. This will definitely be a book were you are probably cheering for the criminal (like most bank heist films I guess). The trailer is already out for this movie (you can watch here) and I find I can never actually get all the way through it, but the book could be much better, and that's the glory of magazines! You can invest a small amount of time in deciding whether the book or movie is worth it. - Meghan


The trailer for this movie is already out and it looks like a blast (you can watch it here). The cast is amazing: Joanquin Phoneix, John C Rielly, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Riz Ahmed. Phoneix is obviously playing a mad man (and looks like he is doing it well), and the rest of the cast rounds it out perfectly. This is something I wouldn't be concerned with seeing at TIFF because you know it will probably come to all major Cineplexes - but either way I'm excited to enjoy it.

The book is a historical novel by Canadian-born author Patrick deWitt. After a light googling I noticed that this book isn't actually based on any real people, but that apparently the author was inspired by stories during the California gold rush. This could potentially be a good Christmas gift for a dad or boyfriend. - Meghan



Transit is based on the novel by Anna Segher called Transit Visa. Her wiki page says that she is pretty well known for writing about people's moral experience with Second World War. I actually feel like this is a book I would really enjoy and my dad would probably love. Christian Petzold is directing it and I think he is the perfect match for this screenplay. I saw his movie Phoenix at the Hyland when I was still living in London and it was veeeery good. The subject matter was similar: the central character's experience during (and post) the Second World War and how they grapple with strangers, community members, and family turning on them during this terrifying time. - Meghan



I was pretty bored just reading about both this book and its movie adaptation, however, Joseph Boyden recieved a lot of acclaim for it, his second novel, and won a ton of Canadian literary prizes. The book is about an aboriginal woman who goes looking for her missing sister, leaving behind an uncle who is unwell. The adaptation seems to go off plot a bit, focusing on the uncle's coma. I feel confident I will never read this book or see the film, but it is playing if you're interested in Canadian literature, Canadian filmmakers, or aboriginal family strife. You can watch a clip here. - Meagan



As soon as I heard that Paul Dano was making his directorial debut and that Zoe Kazan would be co-writing the script I ran to Indigo to order this book. The movie is based off the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by the same name written by Richard Ford. I just finished the book a few days ago (review coming soon) and I am devastated that this will not be playing at TIFF the dates that Meg and I are there. I would literally kill to see my favourite celebrity couple on stage, and would also be pretty damn happy to see this adaptations. The film stars Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal (amazing cast) as a deeply unhappy married couple who begin to separate while their only son looks on. The full trailer has already been released and you can watch it here. - Meghan

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