More novels are being optioned for TV and movies these days, thanks to a combination of celebrity book clubs (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Jenna Bush Hager, and others all have one) and a seemingly endless amount of streaming services seeking for material. Not only have they been optioned, but they’re also being produced.
It’s a win-win situation for both businesses. Hulu, for example, had a smash with “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and then the Margaret Atwood novel, which was first published in 1985, resurfaced. Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” was a recent blockbuster, bringing the 1983 novel back into the spotlight.
“Bridgerton,” “Lupin,” and “Firefly Lane,” all on Netflix, were based on now-best-selling books.
“In fact, led by ‘Bridgerton,’ half of the Top 10 titles on The New York Times Best Sellers list this month are books tied to Netflix series,” a Netflix spokesperson told CNN, adding that as “Bridgerton” grew in popularity, “the popularity of Julia Quinn’s ‘Bridgerton’ novels ballooned [and] at one point, five books from the series were on the New York Times Best Sellers list.”
When “Lupin” first aired, the original Maurice Leblanc novel became popular in Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Korea.
The upward trend is showing no signs of abating. Brit Bennett’s “The Vanishing Half” is going to HBO in 2021, Liane Moriarty’s “Nine Perfect Strangers” is coming to Hulu in 2021, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “Daisy Jones & The Six” is being made for Amazon, and Rumaan Alam’s “Leave the World Behind” is coming to Netflix (starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington).
According to Jinny Howe, Netflix’s VP of Drama Development, fans want to see the books they’ve read come to life. Netflix is more than pleased to help.
“For many years, books have been an amazing source of enjoyment, offering readers infinite opportunity to escape or see themselves,” Howe added. “We find that passionate readers love to explore the worlds and lives they discover in books across series and films that bring them to life on screen, from our first hit shows like ‘Orange is the New Black,’ to the more recent ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ ‘Bridgerton,’ and ‘Lupin,’ we find that passionate readers love to explore the worlds and lives they discover in books across series and films that bring them to life on screen.”
“Cherry,” by Nico Walker, will premiere on Apple TV+ on March 12 after screening in select theatres, while “The Power of the Dog,” a 2005 crime novel starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kristin Dunst, and Jesse Plemons, will premiere on Netflix this year.
“The Woman in the Window,” a blockbuster thriller starring Amy Adams, will also be available on Netflix.