Fit for the Big Screen

We've all had the experience of finishing an audiobook and thinking, "That'll be a movie one day." It's a common occurrence around the Audible office and one of the perks of having our own in-house production team, Audible Studios, is getting the chance to find and fall in love firsthand with those stories and productions that we think are bound for the big screen; the ones we feel it's only a matter of time before Hollywood notices.

Some are potential indie hits and others have the makings of a big-budget blockbuster, but all are captivating listens and produced just for you by Audible Studios.

There's nothing like a good horror movie and Peter Clines’ 14 would be a delightful addition to the genre. We can just imagine a set designer having a field day with the setting of a creepy apartment complex with secrets lurking behind every door, and shudder to think of how the Lovecraftian monsters would be brought to life in CGI. Of course, the cornerstone of many a great horror vehicle is a compelling cast of characters (bonus if they can make you laugh, à la Shaun of the Dead or Stranger Things) – and 14 is ripe for a great ensemble cast of comedic actors. Just about the only downside to 14: The Movie vs. 14: The Book would be the loss of the amazing Ray Porter, who already brings the twisted tale and its characters to life so effectively. Give him a cameo and we're sold.

Sara Baume's debut novel has the feel of a beautiful independent foreign film; the kind where you leave the theatre changed, churning the ending over and over in your mind, wiping the tears from your eyes, and knowing full well that you experienced something unique, transcendent. A story of two outcasts - one man, one dog - Baume performs feats of extraordinary lyricism in her descriptions, making poetry out of the two's small seaside town and the seasons that are the backdrop to their growing friendship. Told in John Keating's Irish lilt, the story reveals itself as something delicate and magical - the stuff of filmmakers' dreams.

Filled with scandal and plenty of political intrigue, the Tudor era has always read more like a juicy novel than straight history. Laura Andersen has capitalized on this wealth of material and created an addictive alternate history in which Anne Boleyn is never beheaded, but rather remains married to Henry VIII and gives birth to a son. The Boleyn King centers on William – the future King of England – and his relationship with his brilliant sister Elizabeth, and their two closest friends, Dominic and Minuette. The premise alone – to say nothing of the rich and regal setting – would make this a beautiful, sweeping, high-drama film. At once a tale of intrigue, romance, and suspense – with a dash of political mind games – Andersen’s The Boleyn King is a cinematic triumph just waiting to happen. Get on it, Hollywood.

Here's one psychological thriller that's tailor-made for the big screen. (Even the creepy cover would make a killer poster!) Twin sisters decide to play a game and switch places for a day. But when one refuses to switch back, the other begins a nightmarish descent into addiction and mental illness and memory and identity are shown to be very fragile things. Ann Morgan weaves together an incredible drama with unexpected twists and one of the most unreliable narrators in history. The effect is a dizzying glimpse into the mind of the unstable and a story well-suited for a director like David Fincher or Christopher Nolan.

For the past few years documentaries have been experiencing a real heyday. From serialized true crime investigations to full-length movies that take on big business and institutions, documentaries are no longer considered dry and dull. Chasing the Scream should (will) be the next "It" documentary. We can see it now - an examination on the current state of "The War on Drugs" with interviews from DEA agents, prisoners, addicts, and policy makers interspersed with newsreels from the first half of the 20th century. And Tim Gerard Reynolds does such a fantastic job narrating Johann Hari's work, that it only makes sense for him to do the voice-over for this future hit as well.

A biopic in the waiting, William Finnegan's life chasing waves doesn't just make for an incredible adventure memoir and travelogue, it's a heartfelt ode to a way of life; a story about finding one's self as much as it is about finding the perfect wave. In passages both beautiful and visceral, Finnegan chronicles his surfing life: from getting on the board as a child to being one of the first to surf Tavarua to present day, searching for waves off Long Island. A unique coming-of-age story, paired brilliantly with vivid imagery from a life on the water, hearing Finnegan tell it is like riding alongside him.

Master of dystopian and traditional sci-fi, Pablo Bacigalupi paints as realistic an apocalyptic scenario as you might find with The Water Knife. Rife with power politics, tense dialogue, and edge of your seat action, it could be the perfect techno thriller for the big screen. Almarie Guerra’s grave, deliberate narration gives this story the weight and severity of a long, hot, dry day without water, and we could see that tone of voice translating immaculately into a well-positioned cinematographic filter. You might argue that the apocalyptic water thing has been done and to poor results, but Bacigalupi’s character-driven techno thriller would surely pick up where Kevin Costner might have dropped the ball.

Some people go to the movies to escape. Others, to expose themselves to stories and characters and scenes they'd never know otherwise. If you fall into the latter category, take note of this book. Atticus Lish's novel is an important one; and a timely one, at that. It's the unlikely love story of an undocumented Chinese Muslim immigrant and a recently returned Iraq War veteran. But it's also a painfully honest and moving examination of two displaced individuals and the world they exist in and fight to be a part of every day. Lish, in brilliant detail, focuses his eye on the people and places just outside our periphery, crafting a tragic but beautiful story that would fit right in at Sundance.

The Royal Spyness series has been the perfect vehicle for fan-favorite Katherine Kellgren to showcase her narrating chops. These completely charming and lighthearted mysteries are an addictive soirée into the world of 1930s England and the adventures of Lady Georgiana Rannoch - a penniless minor Royal with a pension for stumbling into trouble, discovering a crime has been committed, and helping to solve the mystery once and for all (or until it's time for the next book). This perfect pairing of book and narrator needs to stay together, so our idea would be to make this a delightful animated series. That way, Kellgren can remain as the voice(s) of this cast of quirky characters that so many listeners have fallen in love with.

As hard as we might try to think of the perfect actor to play Nathan McBride in a film adaptation, we know it's a futile effort because Dick Hill's voice is Nathan McBride. There's a maturity and sophistication to Hill's baritone voice that perfectly captures the former Marine sniper and covert CIA operative; an effortless charm that's incredibly rare but perfect for the character. Andrew Peterson's espionage thriller sees McBride coming out of retirement when a deep-cover FBI agent and a ton of powerful Semtex explosive going missing. If you're a fan of a good popcorn thriller, where the bullets fly and the stakes are high, this one's for you.

What an excellent premise for an audiobook, and what an excellent premise for a movie. In The Brotherhood of the Wheel you’ll find one part Mad Max, one part Hellboy, and even a touch of The Da Vinci Code (the book). It’s a fantasy ride that is a whole ton of fun, and one that definitely lends itself to a great grim aesthetic; maybe even “graphically” dark like Sin City. We don’t know that any actor could bring to life this work as well as Bronson Pinchot narrates it. But acting aside, The Brotherhood of the Wheel could stay afloat on its pacing, premise, and mythos alone.

Adam Mitzner's The Girl from Home is a perfect candidate for the kind of neo-noir, erotic thrillers you see in theaters today. Jonathan Caine sits in a jail cell on a charge of murder. How he got there is a mystery that involves an affair and an accident. Structurally, Mitzner sets this book up in a way that lends itself perfectly to the cinema, moving back and forth in time to show Caine's fall from grace as a Wall Street exec committing securities fraud and the dangerous love triangle he enters upon returning home after losing it all. To reveal more would be giving away too much, but if you like your characters cold and calculating and themes of guilt, violence, and illicit passion, look no further.

When a government operative unwittingly sets in motion the collapse of society as we know it, martial law engulfs the streets and one man stands up to fight the tyrannical enemy taking over the country. If that isn't the setup of a good movie, then what is? Sure, movies like Children of Men and The Purge have given us plenty of nightmarish dystopian scenarios and post-apocalyptic anarchy, but J.L. Bourne drops us right into the moment things go south and gives us a character, Max, worthy of being played by one of Hollywood's leading men.