Hopefully I’ll make this a yearly thing, but I do a lot of thinking about what it would be like to see certain things turned into great movies. They range from classic books to comics to biopics to video games…see if you agree and/or what you think. Here are five ideas for Hollywood, plus five honorable mentions.
#1) The Man Who Was Thursday (Novel by G.K. Chesterton).
A political thriller with twists and turns galore. Who wouldn’t want to see Johnny Depp, Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth, Jean Dujardin, Christian Bale, and Stanley Tucci play a roundtable of anarchists trying to blow up Europe? At least, that’s how I would cast it. If you’re going to adapt anything Chesterton wrote, it should be this book.
#2) Africa Screams (Film starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello)
I’m only a fan of re-makes if they are done right. Abbott and Costello are my favorite comedy team of all time, and there’s no way you try to out-do what they did. But the campy, fun plot, and the tension of the story would make for a fun flick. Basically two store clerks get caught up in a safari to the heart of Africa, for no good reason, and discover that their employers aren’t actually after the mythical Orangutan Gargantua, but a huge pile of diamonds. Tigers, cannibals and unlikely animal allies all have a part to play.
#3) The House Without a Key (Novel by Earl Derr Biggers)
This is the first Charlie Chan story published. Despite the hostility of those who say he is a racist character, Chan is one of the most clever detectives to be in a book, or on screen. And don’t remake him into something he isn’t. He’s not a young, hip, martial arts master. He’s a sage, middle-aged man with great detective skills. House Without a Key spans oceans and seas, and would make for a good thriller, in the style of Insomnia.
#4) The Unexpected Guest (Play by Agatha Christie)
One of only a few plays written by the Queen of Crime. The setting is a foggy, rainy, night in South Wales. A passing stranger stumbles upon a murder, falls in love with the damsel in distress, and exposes old family secrets. Christie is the master of the unexpected, and I’d love to see Christopher Nolan or David Fincher take this one on.
#5) Robert Louis Stevenson biopic
A very unappreciated author who have us two of the most adapted works in history: Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Throw in Kidnapped, The Black Arrow, The Body Snatcher, and perhaps the most accurate historical depiction of life in the South Seas in the late 19th century and you have one heck of a portfolio. This is a guy who lived almost everywhere in search of good health, and wrote about everything. He should be back on the literature map in high schools and colleges.
Honorable Mentions: A Tale of Two Cities (novel by Charles Dickens), An Inspector Calls (play by J.B. Priestly), Books of Doom (Marvel Comics adaptation), Shazam! (DC Comics adaptation), and “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” (Bob Dylan song).