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Get Ready for These Books to Hit the Big Screen in 2021

From left to right the covers of: 'The Dig', 'The Nightingale', and 'The Reincarnationist'.
Other Press/St. Martin’s Griffin/Blackstone Publishing

It’s going to be a big year for movie adaptations of popular books! From long-awaited adaptations of classics to quirky, unexpected films, there’s something for everyone. Although the 2021 release schedule is still somewhat in flux, the movies below are (so far) still scheduled for release at some point this year.

So, read on for a sneak peek at which titles are set to debut in 2021 and get a head start by reading the books that inspired them!

The Dig by John Preston

Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, and Carey Mulligan star in the adaptation of John Preston’s The Dig. Based loosely on the true story of a famous excavation in 1939, it’s predominantly about a widowed farmer who discovers there’s priceless treasure buried on her property.

Release date: Jan. 15 in theaters; Jan. 29 on Netflix.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Titled Chaos Walking for the big screen, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is the tense story of a boy who escapes from a town after a catastrophe that wipes out all of the women and most of the men. Only now, all the men can hear each other’s thoughts, including the dark secrets they’re hiding. The adaptation will star Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley.

Release date: Jan. 22 in theaters.

French Exit by Patrick deWitt

Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges star in the movie adaptation of the dark comedy, French Exit. It’s about a woman who uses the last of her late husband’s money to take herself, her adult son, and their cat (which she believes is inhabited by the spirit of her late husband) to Paris on an unexpected and challenging journey.

Release date: Feb. 12 in theaters.

Marry Me by Bobby Crosby

Jennifer Lopez plays a mega pop star in Marry Me, adapted from Crosby’s graphic novel. Kat learns her onstage partner has been having an affair. Frustrated with her own lackluster personal life, she impulsively marries a superfan (Owen Wilson) she sees holding a “Marry Me” sign at one of her shows.

Release date: May 14 in theaters.

The Reincarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz

The movie adaptation of The Reincarnationist Papers goes by the title Infinite, but the wild sci-fi premise remains the same. Mark Wahlberg is set to lead the film as Evan, a man who discovers that what he thinks are hallucinations are actually flashes of past lives. Dylan O’Brien, Toby Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sophie Cookson, and Rupert Friend also star.

Release date: May 28 in theaters.

Dune by Frank Herbert

This long-awaited adaptation of Dune is, without a doubt, one of 2021’s most anticipated movies. Herbert’s space opera centers on a desert planet far in humanity’s future. There’s a family sent to oversee it and a brewing galactic battle over the world’s most precious natural resource, which grants extended life and heightened abilities. The all-star cast includes Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet, and Zendaya.

Release date: Oct. 1 in theaters and on HBO Max.

The Last Duel by Eric Jager

Based on the true story of the last legally permitted duel in France, The Last Duel is the story of a duel between a knight and the squire his wife accuses of assaulting her. Complicating matters even further is the complex friendship and rivalry that exists between the two men. Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, and Matt Damon play the three central characters, with Ben Affleck as the French king who orders the duel.

Release date: Oct. 15 in theaters.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah’s popular historical fiction novel, The Nightingale, centers on two sisters who take very different paths to survive and resist in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Schoolteacher Vianne risks everything to hide vulnerable people, while being forced to play hostess to Nazi officers. Meanwhile, rebel Isabelle becomes a key member of the resistance. The adaptation stars real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning.

Release date: Dec. 22 in theaters.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean is the final installment in the popular To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, which has become one of the most popular series of movies on Netflix. The final novel (and film) follows high school senior, Lara Jean, as she struggles to figure out what her college plans mean for her future, her family, and her relationship with dreamy Peter Kavinsky.

Release date: Unknown date in 2021 on Netflix.

Without Remorse by John Clancy

Clancy’s Without Remorse will be familiar ground for fans of his previous work, as it includes all the author’s specific style and tropes. This thriller is a spin-off of the Jack Ryan series. It features a grieving CIA operative out for (often brutal) revenge against a drug lord after the death of his wife. Michael B. Jordan is set to take the lead role.

Release date: Unknown date in 2021 on Amazon.

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

The Last Letter from Your Lover is a two-pronged romance. It follows a modern-day journalist who discovers old love letters between two star-crossed lovers in the 1960s. As the story progresses, she becomes more invested in finding out who they were and how their story ended. The movie stars Felicity Jones as the journalist, and Shailene Woodley and Callum Turner as the young couple.

Release date: Unknown date in 2021

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Adapting the popular Christian fiction retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love follows a prostitute and a Christian man during the Gold Rush. After a lifetime of abuse, a young woman struggles to find a path forward and discovers the possibility of love and faith. Nina Dobrev, Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis, and Famke Janssen star.

Release date: Unknown date in 2021

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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