Eight movies or shows you might not know originated from books

Holly Viers • Sep 23, 2018 at 9:00 PM

Chances are, you probably already knew that the movies “Alice in Wonderland,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” are all based on books.

And for television fans, it probably comes as no surprise that “Game of Thrones,” “Gossip Girl” and “A Series of Unfortunate Events” all originated from books, as well.

Books provide great source material for television and film. But sometimes the TV shows and movies become more famous than the books upon which they’re based.

Here are eight TV shows and movies that you might not know originated from books.

1. “The Parent Trap” — Starring Dennis Quaid and Lindsay Lohan, this 1998 Disney classic remains one of my favorite movies of all time, despite the fact that I’ve watched it a couple of dozen times. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I learned it was based on “Lottie and Lisa,” a 1949 German novel by Erich Kästner.

2. “Pitch Perfect” — This 2012 film starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson was such a hit that two sequels followed in its footsteps. Even so, some of the film’s biggest fans don’t know that it was based on Mickey Rapkin’s nonfiction book, “Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate a Cappella Glory,” published in 2008.

3. “Dexter” — Though I’ve never watched this TV show, I have a basic understanding of what the series is about. The titular character, Dexter Morgan, solves murders, but he also commits them against those he considers guilty. Unbeknownst to many, the first season was based on Jeff Lindsay’s 2004 novel, “Darkly Dreaming Dexter.”

4. “Jaws” — Despite the fact that it was released in 1975, this film continues to terrify viewers to this day. Few may know that the movie adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg, was based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel of the same name. (Another interesting tidbit: Benchley actually co-wrote the film’s screenplay.)

5. “Planet of the Apes” — Whether you’re a fan of the 2001 remake or the 1968 original, this movie and its many subsequent sequels have captivated audiences for decades. This mega-popular universe was originally created by French author Pierre Boulle in his 1963 novel, “Planet of the Apes.”

6. “Orange is the New Black” — If you’re a Netflix subscriber, chances are this TV series has popped up in your watch list a time or two. The main character is Piper Chapman, a PR executive who is sentenced to prison for a crime she committed 10 years before. Some might not know that the series is based on Piper Kerman’s 2010 memoir, “Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.”

7. “How to Train Your Dragon” — Children and adults alike fell in love with this 2010 animated film and its sequel, which transported viewers into a magical Viking world full of friendly and not-so-friendly dragons. What you might not know, though, is the movie is loosely based on British author Cressida Cowell’s book series of the same name.

8. “Famous in Love” — Young adult audiences have fallen in love with this TV series, which airs on Freeform. It follows Paige Townsen, a college student who is thrust into Hollywood after landing a lead role in a major film. Unknown to some, the series is based on Rebecca Serle’s 2014 novel of the same name.

Have you read any of these novels? If so, how do they compare to their movie and TV adaptations? Email me your thoughts at [email protected]

Holly Viers is a general assignment reporter for the Kingsport Times News.