Books that are impossible to film (and they haven't tried yet)
I'm currently reading "The Reality Dysfunction", a science fiction novel by Peter F. Hamilton ... and there's just no way they could film this, either as a movie, a series of movies, a mini-series on TV, or a full fledge series.
Even if they strip out the constant flash backs, half the story-lines, all the sex... the very core of the plot is something that is just unfilmable, because there's just no visual way I can imagine you could tell the story of what's really going on.
Any attempt would be an incoherent mess. Which is strange, because the book is really good... but it lets you get into the heads of the characters, and know about "action" that is invisible to any eye.
What other books are completely unfilmable? And by that, I mean, they've never even tried, and probably never will!
Catcher in the Rye
"My Way of Life" by Joan Crawford. They should totally try to film this, though.
Well, they filmed "The Orchid Thief." Sort of.
I think you could tell the main story of Infinite Jest in a film.
None. When they did The Exorcist, they proved that you could get away with anything. They had to build their special effects by hand too.
Life of Pi
Catcher in the Rye is very film-able, it's the author who stayed adamant about not having a movie made.
Kelley Blue Book
I agree with R9.
I was going to say "One Hundred Years of Solitude" but the more I think about it, the more I believe it could be filmed.
Also, some novels would be better adapted as limited TV series
"A Confederacy of Dunces." They've been trying ever since it was originally written.
So glad the Will Ferrell and Jack Black versions bit the dust.
He died before it was ever published, but the young Victor Buono would have been the definitive Ignatius.
I don't know, R4. There was a pretty decent BBC production about 20 years ago.
Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon The Deep" would be a challenge. I don't think you could possibly make a movie of it, and while a mini-series might be more possible, it'd be too expensive I think. It'd be so difficult to convey what was going on in the wider universe at least...
Still, it's one of my favorite books ever when it comes to sci-fi, and I'd love to see someone try.
House of Leaves
OMG R15 I was just going to say that.
David Cronenberg is quoted as saying that if you tried to make a literal film adaptation of "Naked Lunch" it would cost $500M to make and would be banned in every country in the world. So his version (which I rather liked) is more accurately "The Making of Naked Lunch".
TIME AND AGAIN by Jack Finney
THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO
r12---ACOD is one of my favorite books of all time. But, since some of the characters are so "out there" ( Ignatius, Jones, Dorian Greene, Lana Lee ) it would require VERY careful casting.
I do think that Betty White could pull off Miss Trixie, though. Maybe Zach Quinto as Dorian, but that's about all I can think of for casting.
Apparently it's impossible to film Good Omens. They have been trying for years.
One Hundred Years of Solitude could be an amazing HBO mini-series. So many great stories and roles.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Victor Buono as Ignatius is inspired!
r23 I wish Fifty Shades of Grey was impossible to film.
The Great Gatsby.
Many are cold but few are frozen. I'm lookin' at you in the Redford Farrow version and Baz Lurhman.
"Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell". Great fantasy book, but it's so long and complex that it could never be made into a movie (or movies). Maybe a TV miniseries, because this is one story where you really can't cut away the length and complexity.
There are rumors that the BBC is going to have a go.
Carter Beats the Devil.
(Can't wait to read Sunshine to see if it is the same.)
Great book, R28.
I always felt that Nolan "borrowed" heavily from it when he wrote and directed 'The Prestige' (2006).
OP here... finished the trilogy ("Night's Dawn"... The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist, The Naked God), and while part of me thinks it would make an absolutely epic TV series (like the Battlestar Galactica reboot), the rest of me still thinks these books are mostly unfilmable.