The Adaptation Watch 2022

As we enter 2022 we have a brand new and substantial slate of literary adaptations coming to big and small screens near you. Here are the titles we’re looking forward to (not counting continuations of shows like Shadow and Bone, coming back to Netflix for a second season later this year). Some are films, some miniseries, some may be streaming over multiple seasons. Some aren’t direct adaptations of specific books, but take place within the same fictional realm. From romance to horror to war stories (lots of war stories), set in worlds both familiar and fantastic (or even both), there’s bound to be something here to appeal to every kind of fan. Let us know if there are any you’re particularly looking forward to this year.


February 4 | trailer

Starring: Alan Ritchson, Willa Fitzgerald, and Malcolm Goodwin

Based on the series by Lee Childs, the TV show dropping on Amazon Prime replaces the 2021 film’s poorly cast Tom Cruise with more-appropriately-sized-for-the-character Ritchson. The mix of action and comedy should keep fans of the book entertained.

Death on the Nile

February 11 | trailer

Starring: Kenneth Branagh and half of Hollywood

The directorial “sequel” to Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express. If you liked his previous Agatha Christie adaptation, you will probably enjoy version 2.0.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

March 4 | official site

Starring: Lucas Bravo, Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, and Jason Isaacs

Based on Paul Gallico’s novella, it’s a tale of a widowed cleaning lady in the 1950s who falls in love with a couture Dior dress and her determination to purchase it.

The Unbreakable Boy

March 18 | official site

Starring: Zachary Levi, Amy Acker, and Peter Facinelli

One of the few based on real-life stories on this list, the film is an adaptation of Scott Michael LeRette’s memoir about his son with a rare brittle-bone disease.

Conversations with Friends

Spring TBD

Starring: Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn, and Jemima Kirke

After finding success with Normal People in 2020, Hulu is back in the Sally Rooney business once again with another adaptation of her work. This 12-episode co-production with the BBC started production in spring of 2021, but we’re still waiting on an official release date. Expect more pretty young adults dealing with messy relationships, as Rooney fans already know.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

April 15 | trailer

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, and Mads Mikkelsen

Yup, Johnny Depp was fired and replaced with Mikkelsen in the role of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. After what has been a disappointing prequel series to the Harry Potter films, this single casting change has given me hope that the final film can deliver. It remains to be seen whether the public’s souring opinion of author J.K. Rowling will have any effect on the success of the latest adaptation of her work.

Operation Mincemeat

April 22 | trailer

Starring: Colin Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, and Kelly Macdonald

The release date is for U.K. viewers. In America, it may be later in the year before this adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s book about the true story of British intelligent officers’ ridiculous scheme to trick the Nazis drops on Netflix. This is just the first of three WWII films on this list.

The Black Phone

June 24 | trailer

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, and Madeleine McGraw

This film is an adaptation of a short story by Joe Hill. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare infused with a paranormal twist and the creepiest Ethan Hawke performance to date set against a bleak 1970s suburbia backdrop. If I didn’t value my sleep, I’d definitely check it out.

Where the Crawdads Sing

July 22

Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, David Strathairn, and Harris Dickinson

The Delia Owens novel of the same title was selected for Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club in 2018, so it is no surprise she snatched up the title to produce. It’s Southern, mysterious, dramatic, and a massive best-seller; everything Witherspoon looks for in an adaptation.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

September 2 | teaser

Starring: Morfydd Clark, Joseph Mawle, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, and Robert Aramayo

Set a thousand years before Peter Jackson’s adaptations, the Amazon Prime TV series focuses on the “Second Age of Middle-earth.” If you are a Tolkien nerd, you know what that means. For everyone else, think Lord of the Rings but in smaller chunks.

Salem’s Lot

September 9

Starring: Cade Woodward, Spencer Treat Clark, Alfre Woodard, and William Sadler

From producer Gary Dauberman, who was a writer on the recent two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s It, comes another adaptation of a King novel. For those who missed any of the previous incarnations of this story (it’s been made for both TV and film before), it’s about a town being taken over by vampires. It arrives in theaters just in time for Halloween.

White Bird: A Wonder Story

September 16

Starring: Bryce Gheisar, Ariella Glaser, Hellen Mirren, and Gillian Anderson

The only film based on a graphic novel on the list, it tells the story of the grandmother of the bully in R.J. Palacio’s novel Wonder, during Nazi-occupied France.

She Said

November 18

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, and Andre Braugher

Based on the book She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, written by journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. It’s based on the true story of Kantor and Twohey’s investigation of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and the birth of the #metoo era.

The Nightingale

December 23

Starring: Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning

Not to be confused with the 2019 thriller of the same name, this one is based on Kristin Hannah’s historical-fiction novel about two sisters struggling to survive German occupation in France during WWII. Originally scheduled for release in 2021, it was pushed back a year due to a Covid-19 production shutdown. It feels like we have been waiting forever for this real-life sister duo to appear together on screen in this; here’s hoping the wait is over.

No Official Release Date Announced

All Quiet on the Western Front

Published in 1929, the classic novel was written by Erich Maria Remarque, a German infantryman, about his experiences during The Great War (now more commonly known as WWI). The film stars Daniel Brühl, Albrecht Schuch, and Sebastin Hülk. It has been supposedly bought by Netflix and is being heralded as one of the biggest-budget films from Germany yet.

Deep Water

This psychological thriller starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas is based on the 1957 novel by Patricia Highsmith. The film was scheduled for a January 2022 release, but fans are still waiting. If you enjoy watching loveless couples hide their affairs, secrets, and dead bodies, you’ll want to join those wondering when it will drop too.


Both Robert Zemeckis and Guillermo del Toro are separately tackling this classic tale by Carlo Collodi. For Disney+, Zemeckis is doing the computer-animated thing he loves with the actor he loves, Tom Hanks. Guillermo del Toro is adding his twisted spin to the tale in a stop-motion animation starring Ewan McGregor and Cate Blanchett.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese’s latest film starring Jesse Plemons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, Brendan Fraser, and Robert De Niro is set to drop on AppleTV+ sometime this year. It’s a Western crime drama based on the book by David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. The film’s title was shortened for obvious reasons.

As published on WatercoolerHQ.

Follow Chris on Twitter @ACCooksonWriter

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