PAGE TURNERS | 

We look at 11 book adaptations given the Hollywood small screen treatment

Conversations With Friends kicks off this weekend and it's just the latest smash hit TV series to have been adapted from a book
THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT: Anya Taylor Joy starred in the Netflix hit, based on a book by Walter Tevis

THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT: Anya Taylor Joy starred in the Netflix hit, based on a book by Walter Tevis

Esther McCarthy

It's the hotly anticipated new series that debuts on TV tonight - and is set to be an instant hit with its tale of messy love and simmering passions.

Conversations With Friends comes from top Irish studio Element Pictures, the same people who brought you the phenomenon that was Normal People.

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and starring a mix of newcomers and established stars, the 12-episode limited series kicks off this weekend.

It's likely to be the latest adaptation from a book to cause a stir among viewers on the hunt for new stories to binge watch.

Like Normal People, the series is adapted from a Sally Rooney novel and focuses on the complex connections between four characters. Cork actress Alison Oliver is Frances, who remains best friends with her ex-girlfriend Bobbi (Sasha Lane).

When they befriend a married couple, Melissa (Jemima Kirke) and Nick (Joe Alwyn), their relationships move between platonic and passionate. We look at some of the other recent smashes that started their lives in book form.

The Queen's Gambit

Netflix's massive hit starring Anya Taylor-Joy was, in fact, originally a novel written by Walter Tevis and published in 1983. The fictional tale revolved around a chess prodigy named Beth Harmon, and explored themes of adoption, feminism, chess and addiction.

Tevis, in an interview to promote the novel at the time, called it "a tribute to brainy women". Heath Ledger had been planning to make his directorial debut with a film version before his tragic death.

YOU: Penn Badgley and Victoria Pendretti starred in the series based on a series of books by Caroline Kepnes

YOU: Penn Badgley and Victoria Pendretti starred in the series based on a series of books by Caroline Kepnes

You

The psychological thriller series that had viewers hooked was adapted from the series of books by Caroline Kepnes. It revolves around the story of a bookstore manager and serial killer who falls in love and develops a dangerous obsession.

The series was almost universally well reviewed by critics, who singled out Penn Badgley and Victoria Pedretti's committed performances.

FOUNDATION: The series, written by Isaac Asimov, was shot in Limerick

FOUNDATION: The series, written by Isaac Asimov, was shot in Limerick

Foundation

It's the biggest sci-fi series ever shot in the Republic of Ireland, with more than 500 people working on it at peak production in Limerick's Troy Studios. But some don't realise that Foundation - a hit for Apple TV+ - is based on a series of novels.

Foundation was first published as a number of short stories by American author Isaac Asimov in the 1940s, and in three collections a decade later.

The tale of a band of exiles who set out to save the Galactic Empire from destruction stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace, with another series filming in Troy and is now on the way to our screens again.

Little Fires Everywhere

Reese Witherspoon's passion for reading led to her launching her book club which drew fans across the globe. It also leads to her finding the zeitgeist-y new novels that she has gone on to successfully executive produce. A prime example is this series in

which she also stars. It tells the story of the seemingly perfect Richardson family and the mother-daughter relationship that upends their lives. It's set in Ohio, where novelist Celeste Ng grew up.

SHADOW AND BONE :Author Leigh Bardugo wrote the stories

SHADOW AND BONE :Author Leigh Bardugo wrote the stories

Shadow and Bone

Young adults loved the Netflix smash, a dark fantasy series about a young female soldier with mysterious powers tasked with answering a calling to save her universe.

Set in a world known as the Grishaverse, the source books were written by an Israeli-American author, Leigh Bardugo. It stars Jessie Mei as the female lead with a big cast that includes Irish actor Patrick Gibson.

Bridgerton

Julia Quinn's series of novels are regarded as unputdownable and TV producers snapped up the chance to bring the period romp to the big screen.

The antics of the powerful and successful Bridgerton family in social-climbing period England became a huge hit.

Series two has already streamed with at least two more series on the way. Along with Derry Girls, the show turned Galway actress Nicola Coughlan into a household name.

THE NORTH WATER: Colin Farrell as Henry Drax

THE NORTH WATER: Colin Farrell as Henry Drax

The North Water

For viewers looking for darker storytelling, BBC's period epic drew a big-name cast including Jack O'Connell, Stephen Graham and our own Colin Farrell.

Farrell piled on the pounds and was fearsome as the sociopath Henry Drax, a harpoonist who causes chaos on a controversial and ill-fated whaling expedition to the Arctic.

The five-part series is adapted from Ian McGuire's bestselling novel of the same name.

The show was filmed on the Arctic island of Svalbard, thought to be the most northern location ever for a major production.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Peter Jackson already mastered JRR Tolkien's epic on the big screen. But this series will take inspiration from his others like Unfinished Tales, which offers the opportunity to explore the earlier lives of characters like Galadriel. The series comes to Prime Video in September.

Interview With the Vampire

Our own Neil Jordan already brought Anne Rice's vampire classic to the big screen. But the tale of an ageing vampire who recounts his lifelong escapades to a reporter is actually a series of novels and is now getting the episodic treatment.

Sam Reid and Jacob Anderson head the cast of the show, which comes to AMC this autumn.

The Sandman

One of this year's most- anticipated series is adapted from DC comics and written by Neil Gaiman. The series, in development for decades, finally comes to Netflix this year with a streaming date to be confirmed.

Starring Tom Sturridge and Gwendoline Christie, it tells the story of a powerful being named Dream, who sets out to reclaim his kingdom after escaping imprisonment.


Today's Headlines

More TV

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices