Fifteen Unfilmable Novels And The Directors Who Should Try Anyway

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
Ah, the 'unfilmable' novel. Go back ten or fifteen years and it seems everyone had some sort of list of great novels that could never be brought to the screen. The limitations at the time were largely technical and in recent years those lists have dwindled with titles such as The Lord Of The Rings and Cloud Atlas making the move. What makes a book 'unfilmable' these days has far less to do with technical requirements than with budget, politics or sensitive subject matter which means - to our eyes, at least - the books now considered unfilmable are more interesting than they've ever been and time spent imagining who should take the leap and actually bring these words to the screen that much more entertaining.

So here are our picks: Fifteen books we love that we feel would make great films if put in the right hands and who we think those hands belong to. Dive in and let us know which book / director combos you would love to see on the big screen.

Black Hole by David Lynch

Charles Burns' Black Hole is a monster of a graphic novel, both figuratively and literally, and a true classic of the form. But the simple fact that the story revolves around high school kids fucking one another, contracting an STD that transforms them into often bizarre monsters, and then shooting one another means that this will never be made as a studio picture despite Universal commissioning a (very good) script from Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary and David Fincher expressing the desire to direct. Fincher's version would be too expensive by far and the combination of underage sex, drugs and firearms means it would likely never be able to secure an acceptable rating.

So take it out of Fincher's hands and give it to another David. Lynch's best work has always revolved around the dirty underbelly of middle America and I cannot imagine a better thematic fit. The Lynch version would likely look very little like Burns' drawings on the page but, seriously, can you imagine someone making this any more uncomfortable than Lynch would?

Screen Anarchy logo
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here to report it, or see our DMCA policy.
100 years of solitudealan moorealdous huxleyangela carterblack holeblood meridianbrave new worldcharles burnschina mievillechuck palahniukcoen brotherscormac mccarthycryptonomicondarren aronofskydavid lynchfranz kafkagabrial garcia marquezgaspar noegone away worldguillermo del torohajime ohataharuki murakamihouse of leavesinfernal desire machinesjean pierre jeunetkavalier and claykrakenlars von trierlost girlsmark z. danielewskimichael baymichael chabonmichel gondryneal stephensonneill blomkampnick harkawaysally pottersnuffsophia coppolathe baron in the treesthe metamorphosiswild sheep chaseyoshihiro nakamura

Around the Internet