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Tinseltown's book club

After many false starts, The Road, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel, rolled into cinemas last week. Apparently, to prepare for the role, Viggo Mortensen lived in a wardrobe and read more bleak McCarthy novels by candlelight. He certainly looks like a man who has emerged from the dark after a tough ordeal. Great movie, but as everyone has already said, better book.

It must be hard for a director to impose their vision on the work of an author and do any justice. But it seems the most obvious route to a successful movie: find a successful book and adapt it.

This year, there are more adaptations to come, some highly anticipated and some less so.

Tim Burton brings his unique vision to the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice in Wonderland, starring little-known Mia Wasikowska as Alice and Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.


Along vaguely similar lines, the next instalment of CS Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia will appear despite bad days at the box office for the last outing; and the third Twilight movie, Eclipse, based on Stephanie Meyer's hit books, will, of course, put Narnia in the shade. And expect the final Harry Potter movies to magic away millions in 2010.

Very often, the more industrious producers will pick up on authors that are not household names and catapult their careers for them.

This year, Shia LeBeouf stars in the adaptation of one of our own. Alan Glynn's futuristic thriller, The Dark Fields has been tipping away since its publication in 2001, but should soon rocket.

Dennis Lehane, who has to thank Clint Eastwood for rescuing him from mid-list land with Mystic River in 2003, will see Martin Scorsese bring Shutter Island to the screen.

CD Payne is another one to look out for his off-beat novels about teenager Nick Twisp come to life with Youth in Revolt early this year.

And speaking of off-beat, Rum Diary (based on Hunter S Thompson's book) which stars Johnny Depp (as Thompson, again) and directed by Withnail & I's Bruce Robinson is sure to be a zany and loveable road trip. Meanwhile, fans of sci-fi, writer, Philip K Dick, should revel in The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon.