Loved The Notebook? Here's more!
Some of the biggest hits in Hollywood are films which have been adapted from novels.
Gone With The Wind, an all-time favourite with movie buffs even today was adapted from Margaret Mitchell's novel of the same name.
The literate types often turn up their noses with the firm belief that no film can ever do justice to a classic. But their tribe is diminishing by the day. Most people wait to see the film version of the book they have loved. And a small majority often sees the film first and turns to the novel at a later stage.
Everybody remembers Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mocking Bird although very few people have read the book.
But classics apart, in recent times one of the most prolific writers has been Nicholas Sparks. Almost half his books have been made into films and both are equally successful.
The latest in the book-to-film enterprise is The Last Song starring teen pop sensation, Miley Cyrus. The film about a father looking to reconnect with his teenage daughter opens in theatres this Friday.
While we wait for The Last Song, here's a look at the Spark's book-to-cinematic experience.
Image: A scene from The Last Song
Message in a Bottle
Sparks' success story on celluloid began with Message in a Bottle.
A journalist single mother (Robin Wright) is struggling to come to terms with her divorce. One day she's jogging at the beach when she discovers a 3-week old glass bottle with a cryptic love message inside.
She uses her professional resources to track down the sender (Kevin Costner) and then finds herself attracted to him. Can these two put aside their past and come together?
Kevin Costner also produced the film so the novel must have made quite an impact on him.
Image: A scene from Message in a Bottle
A Walk To Remember
A bit like Love Story this film is about two youngsters who fall in love but they aren't destined for the happily-ever-after ending.
Shane West and Mandy Moore are two teenagers, each with their own emotional baggage.
Even as Shane struggles to overcome his problems, he realises Mandy is suffering from an incurable disease. Although the book is largely fictional, it is dedicated to Nicholas Sparks' sister who died of cancer.
The book spent many months on the best seller list, both the hardcover and the paperback version. However the film released almost three years after the book.
Image: A scene from A Walk To Remember
This was Sparks third screen adaptation but his first novel. His earlier books The Passing and The Royal Murders stayed at the manuscript stage. It was this book which made Sparks a household name.
Sparks received a one million dollar advance from Time Warner books, a large sum for him then. The novel was published in 1996 but obviously producers didn't immediately realise the cinematic potential.
The screen adaptation released eight years later in 2004.
Image: A scene from The Notebook
Nights In Rodanthe
This was the sixth book from Nicholas Sparks and like its predecessors, the book was a huge hit.
It released in September 2002. It had all the classic ingredients of love and sacrifice. The book was republished in 2007 with a new cover carrying a still from the film.
However, despite the promotional activity around the book and an impressive cast comprising of big names like Diane Lane and Richard Gere, the film could not be saved.
Critics found the film to be unrealistic and audiences simply couldn't connect. But by this time Nicholas Sparks was so firmly entrenched in Hollywood that he managed to take this one box office disaster in his stride.
Image: A scene from Nights In Rodanthe
This story too had love as the central theme. But it dealt with the emotional aftereffects and the turmoil war causes in the lives of common people.
Coming two years after Nights In Rodanthe, most Sparks fans were eagerly waiting for the film. But like Nights In Rodanthe, this film too failed to meet audience expectations.
One of the reasons could have been the time gap (the film came four years after the book was published) while some blamed the director Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat).
Though Sparks' books continue to sell, as movie screenplays however, his stories were losing their edge.
Image: A scene from Dear John
The Last Song
This time around Nicholas Sparks tried a new approach.
Sparks was requested to write both simultaneously, the book and the screenplay. In fact the screenplay was completed by January 2009, the novel released in September 2009 and the film itself released world wide in March 2010.
A few critics panned it but commercially the film has fared extremely well.
In 2011, audiences can expect True Believer which will be followed by The Lucky One. Considering more than half his novels have been converted to screenplays, Nicholas Sparks is in a position most aspiring writers would aim for.
Image: A scene from The Last Song