What novel would make a great low-budget film?
July 28, 2011 4:53 PM   Subscribe

What novel would make a great low-budget film? Any genre. Bonus for strong female lead under the age of forty, but not necessary.

This has been asked here before, but about six years ago, so I'll give it another shot.
posted by michaeldunaway to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Shooting Elvis, by Robert Eversz.
posted by 8dot3 at 4:55 PM on July 28, 2011

Where are you? It seems like the lower the budget, the more germane your locale is.
posted by threeants at 5:07 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Sensationist by Charles Palliser.
posted by Francolin at 5:09 PM on July 28, 2011

Kafka's The Trial would cost nothing to shoot. All you need are streets, houses, a cubicle farm or two, and some attics. Use contemporary clothing. Make the lead female if you want; just as relevant either way. The story is gripping and atmospheric without relying on anything that would cost money, and it lends itself to being stylized. A light touch could skew the tone in any direction you wanted: outright horror, humor, drama, procedural, whatever caught your interest.
posted by jsturgill at 5:15 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta could be done in a lean fashion, I think. The major issue is that there's already a rather well-known film by that name, so you'd probably have to retitle or amend it somehow.
posted by mykescipark at 5:16 PM on July 28, 2011

I always thought that The Cure for Death by Lightning would make a great film.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:18 PM on July 28, 2011

Story of O seems to fit.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:28 PM on July 28, 2011

James Reasoner's Dust Devils. The female lead, though very strong, is not under 40, however.
posted by dortmunder at 5:35 PM on July 28, 2011

I'm reading "Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie" at the moment. The lead character is a young girl, living in the 1950s and so far I think the budget wouldn't have to be too high.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:38 PM on July 28, 2011

A Kiss Before Dying, by Ira Levin.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:23 PM on July 28, 2011

The Big Blind, by Louise Wener
posted by Sebmojo at 6:29 PM on July 28, 2011

Quirky but sassy young female lead, a few nice twists, lots of potential for poker competence-porn.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:29 PM on July 28, 2011

John Sladek's The Reproductive System just cries out for a hammy lo-budget version of its 60s techno-paranoia end-of-the-world-nearly spoof. Aurora Candlewood is the girl genius who saves the world and gets the hapless boy.
posted by scruss at 6:49 PM on July 28, 2011

An Unexpected Forest by Eleanor Lincoln Morse
posted by gudrun at 6:53 PM on July 28, 2011

@threaants, good question. I'm located in Atlanta but could easily shoot in NYC, LA, or New Orleans. Could make it happen wherever else I needed to; would just have to find some folks.
posted by michaeldunaway at 7:35 PM on July 28, 2011

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff. PLEASE !
posted by duckus at 7:36 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
- the drama comes from the characters... no need for expensive sets or special effects
- female character under 40 who has to make herself strong to survive
- if you are successful, there is the rest of the Dangerous Angels series to make sequels out of
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:40 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

What about a short story? Some of Ray Bradbury's would make interesting films, I think, even if short ones.. see "Jack-In-The-Box" or "The Lake."
posted by cp311 at 8:43 PM on July 28, 2011

I am SHOCKED that no one has mentioned The Liars' Club for a southern tale with a female take. Much recognized and recommended.
posted by msali at 9:11 PM on July 28, 2011

Talking it Over by Julian Barnes.
posted by Philemon at 9:45 PM on July 28, 2011

Talking it Over by Julian Barnes.
Oh, wow, yes. If someone did this well I'd be seriously impressed. I love this book (though it depresses me on every reread).
posted by sweetkid at 10:11 PM on July 28, 2011

The Hatchet has an incredibly powerful and strong female character, and can be adapted in any number of ways. You need one good female actress, a couple of strong male actors, and a few extras. The way it is written, all you need is a forrest, some hills/mountains, a few rural-looking houses, rural-looking costumes, and, of course, a hatchet.
posted by miorita at 2:38 AM on July 29, 2011

The Queen's Gambit. The protagonist is a young woman, it takes place mostly indoors (no expensive exotic locations), and nothing stands out as requiring expensive CGI or fancy sets or props. Plus, Tevis' books have a history of successful film adaptation: The Hustler and The Man Who Fell to Earth.
posted by spasm at 5:46 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Intuitionist (good for NYC). It's been a while since I read it, but I think the most $$ locations would be office buildings, etc.
posted by methroach at 6:56 AM on July 29, 2011

The Queen's Gambit would be an excellent choice. Also, my sister's novel The Beginners has a 15-year-old female protagonist.
posted by nicwolff at 8:30 AM on July 29, 2011

Along with duckus's suggestion, Set This House In Order would make a great movie. That said, you'd have to find two people who can act the goddamn paint off the walls, or the possibility of it being done badly is very, very high. But if it is done well, it would be mind-altering.
posted by 8dot3 at 2:24 PM on July 29, 2011

Room, by Emma Donoghue. It's set in one, um, room, and for most of the short novel, there are only 2 characters ... but it's still creepy, compelling, exciting and satisfying!
posted by thinkpiece at 5:23 PM on July 29, 2011

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