British Books to Hollywood Screens

Film adaptations are becoming a very common trend, but where are all these stories coming from? Here are five books written by British writers that have made it big on the silver screen.

1. This list wouldn’t be a list without the obvious mention of Harry Potter; that cheeky little wizard spanned a school life of seven books taking on sports, fellow wizards and lords of the underworld. Somewhere in there he grew from a man to a boy, got a girlfriend and had a pretty good time. Rowling’s work made well into the hundred millions, been turned into a theme park and made her the most recognisable British author in a very long time.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

2. Alan Moore, British comic book writer and graphic novelist, was the brains behind epic superhero flick Watchmen, as well as V for Vendetta and From Hell. Moore’s unique work has created roles for Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Natalie Portman and Stephan Fry. The Watchmen is probably the most famous and successful of the three adaptations of Moore’s work, taking over fifty-million dollars in the first weekend of the films release – twenty million more than From Hell had done in its entire run at box office.

V for Vendetta

3. Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, although made here in Britain, definitely made an impact over in the States. The film, nominated for an Oscar for its screenplay, highlighted a world that many people would never see and launched Ewan McGregor into an acting career that has included roles in Moulin Rouge! and the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The film gained excellent reviews in Entertainment Weekly and Los Angeles Times – for these critics it signalled the arrival of Danny Boyle.

Ewan McGregor in a scene from ‘Trainspotting’

4. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, written over a space of twelve years by J.R.R. Tolkien, have become the second highest selling novels of all time – beaten only by Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Tolkien’s work creates an epic fantasy world mixed with action and adventure that is portrayed in Peter Jackson’s on-screen version with stunning visual effect. A third of the books sales have come since the arrival of the trilogy of films. The film grossed $2.91billion; The Return of the King picked up eleven academy awards, matching the all-time record of Titanic.

Treebeard from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ films

5. Finally, this film is yet to be released. However Twentieth Century Fox have announced that they have bought the rights to, and will be adapting, Mr Men and Little Miss books (the work of Roger Hargreaves) into a feature length film. The project has yet to be attached to a director or writer but Shaun Levy, producer of Night at the Museum and Date Night, has been given the task of turning the film into a success. The books themselves have sold over one-hundred million copies world wide so a high grossing film should be expected.

Mr Happy has already starred in a Specsavers advert


Keith Hodges


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