Welcome back to another Top 5 Wednesday! This week is classics I wish had modern adaptations which is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT since most of the classics I’ve read have adaptations, and good ones too. So I cheated a little bit with this topic but all well, I do what I want. Lets get into it.
1: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Technically, this does have a modern adaptation that came out in 2008 but I don’t think it counts because it …. changed the plot of the book A LOT and was kind of a prequel to Dorian Gray in some ways? Anyway, I would love an adaptation of this that is just unapologetically gay, to be honest. I love this classic a lot and it’s ALL about aestheticism which means so much could be done with it. Dorian Gray (2008) is okay but I think they could have done so much more with it and I’d love to see something modern that is more in the style of Great Expectations 2011 BBC miniseries.
2: Passing by Nella Larsen
This is an INCREDIBLE (and extremely underrated) Harlem Renaissance piece by a biracial woman about passing (for both white and straight) during 1920s America and I LOVE IT .. but it’s never been adapted. It’d make SUCH a good movie, like, I would want them to play up the sapphicness a lot but even if they didn’t it’d still be good. This is a really, really clever and interesting book. It’d make such a thought-provoking film and the setting is highly underrepresented so it’d be really cool to see that translated on film. Most pieces and adaptations from this time (cough. Great Gatsby) focus on flappers and speakeasies but don’t look at Harlem and African-American communities and how they were experiencing modernity but they SHOULD because it’s so interesting!
3: Sula by Toni Morrison
Another one of my favourite classics. It has an adaptation but it’s just a short youtube film so I’m not counting that. This is such a powerful book but also just a simple coming of age story that centres this really strong black woman as the main character and I enjoyed reading it A LOT. Morrison has kind of a reputation as being inaccessible but Sula was so easy to read and had such excellent characters. I think it’d make a really cool film, especially because it’d get to explore the setting (aka. the town called Bottom on the top of the hill) and it’d just be great.
4: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
This is more of a modern classic but I’m counting it. I would LOVE to see this in film because it hits all my aesthetic points. To be honest, Dark Academia, as a genre, is what I live for and this is the PINNACLE. I know Tartt refuses to sell the rights but I think this could be such an artsy aesthetic film, kind of like Kill Your Darlings, and I know I would love it a lot. I think this book has such a great format and concept and it would literally translate PERFECTLY onto screen, it’s almost written cinematically. It has so much potential.
5: Hamlet by William Shakespeare
This one might be cheating but I have this Very Specific Idea for a Hamlet adaptation I wanna see. Essentially, a Hamlet adaptation that focusses on Hamlet’s life before the events of Hamlet and is like .. kind of a prequel historical fiction? Essentially, I would LOVE an adaptation of Hamlet that treats Hamlet as if he’s a real historical figure and feels more like a historical movie than a dramatised tragedy. I just think that would be really cool. Hamlet is probably my favourite Shakespeare character beside maybe Lady Macbeth and I would just love a series that focusses on him as a prince ruling his kingdom.
Those are my picks for this week! This was such a great topic and it was fun to actually look into which of my favourite classics had adaptations because there was some I didn’t even know about (Like Wuthering Heights featuring Kaya Scodelario?)
until next time!