Upcoming Indies: Watch and Read

If box office offerings of late haven’t been the great escape you’re looking for, consider going indie. Some upcoming critically acclaimed art house films stemmed from written works, akin to summer’s blockbusters that originated as comic books and best sellers. It’s proven that great writing makes compelling fodder for screenwriters, even if they don’t end up busting the block.

Check out these films on the indie circuit that evolved from good reads. For those who are nowhere near an art house theater, I’ve thrown in a few highly anticipated wide release adaptations, too.

Keira Knightley The Duchess: Based on Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by biographer Amanda Foreman. Keira Knightley stars as the “It Girl” in this period film that delves into Georgiana’s glamorous yet grim love life. Opens limited Sept. 19.

Appaloosa: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris and Renée Zellweger star. Robert B. Parker’s second Western novel revolves around a pair of hired guns who try to bring order to an Old West territory of New Mexico. Opens limited Sept. 19.

The Soloist: Based on "Violinist Has the World on 2 Strings," an L.A. Times article by Steve Lopez. Jamie Foxx stars as Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a musical prodigy with schizophrenia, and Robert Downey Jr. as the columnist who discovers him.

Flash of Genius: John Seabrook’s article in The New Yorker is the basis for the story of Bob Kearns (Greg Kinnear), who fought a war with Ford over the intermittent windshield wiper patent.

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Author Yiyun Li tells the story of a Chinese man’s strained relationship with his Americanized daughter.

Nights in Rodanthe: Richard Gere and Diane Lane star in the fourth film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling books. Bring tissue. This is from the same author of The Notebook and A Walk to Remember.

Body of Lies: Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe bring to life David Ignatius’ novel about a CIA operative who uncovers a lead on a terrorist.

City of Ember’s fantastical story of a city with a dimming light source sprung from Jeanne DuPrau’s first book of her best-selling series of four.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is author John Boyne’s bleak tale of two boys, one German and the other Jewish, who befriend each other during WWII.

Twilight: Stephenie Meyer’s first novel spent more than 50 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List for Children’s Chapter Books. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star as a vampire and a mortal who strike up an unlikely romance.

Slumdog Millionaire won the Cadillac People’s Choir award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Based on the best-selling novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup.

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