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It’s the night before my visit to the set of Tell Me Lies, and I can’t sleep. I toss and turn in the crisp sheets of my Atlanta hotel room bed, too overwhelmed by the reality of what I’m doing there to find a way to rest my mind. An extremely personal novel I spent years writing in private—the idea of publication initially a far-off pipe dream—is in the process of being adapted for television, a ten-episode drama series that will air on Hulu later in 2022. It’s the most surreal experience of my life.
Sometime in the early morning hours, I manage to doze off. I’m drowsy when the sound of my alarm wakes me after too little sleep, but instantly fueled when I remember what I’m doing in Atlanta. I dress and grab a coffee downstairs, then venture outside where my friend Karah Preiss, one of the show’s executive producers, is waiting in a van to take me to the set.
It’s humid when we climb out of the car half an hour later—the May heat edging towards ninety degrees—and the first person I see is Stephen DeMarco. Or, more accurately, Jackson White, the actor so perfectly cast as Stephen. He’s sitting on the steps of his trailer, the door of which is emblazoned with the Tell Me Lies logo—an image displaying the title in the same font used on the book’s cover. As we stride towards Jackson, I feel as though I’m walking into a dream. Or perhaps into the well of my own imagination.
Jackson stands and grins, extends a hand and greets me kindly. He’s read Tell Me Lies, of course, and there’s a shared knowledge between us, like we’re in on a secret. After all, he’s my character come to life. It’s a similar vibe when I meet Grace Van Patten—the actress playing Lucy Albright, the female lead—later that day.
“I have questions for you,” she says, a self-possessed smile spreading across her face. She’s wearing a robe; she’s just finished filming a scene. I can tell immediately that Grace is down-to-earth, relaxed, and yet—she’s a total movie star. Watching her act that afternoon, I feel certain she’ll win an Oscar someday. We’re insanely lucky she’s agreed to play Lucy.
In addition to Karah, there are many brilliant minds behind my book’s adaptation. Emma Roberts and Matt Matruski are also executive producing via Belletrist, as well as Laura Lewis and Stephanie Noonan of Rebelle Media and Shannon Gibson and Sam Schlaifer of Vice’s Refinery29. Meaghan Oppenheimer is the genius showrunner, who’s adapted the series and also serves as an EP.
To say I’m excited to see Tell Me Lies come to life on Hulu later this year is a major understatement, but it isn’t the only book-to-screen adaption I’m looking forward to watching. Here are a few novels I adore that are either in production or have recently premiered on screen:
Luckiest Girl Alive
Jessica Knoll’s Luckiest Girl Alive has remained one of my favorite books since it published in 2015—it inspired me while I was writing Tell Me Lies, and I still recommend it all the time. Now, the bestselling suspense novel is soon to be a film starring Mila Kunis that will air on Netflix in 2022. It’s the unputdownable story of Ani FaNelli, a young, ambitious New Yorker who seems to have it all: a coveted magazine job, enviable clothes, and a handsome fiancé who adores her. But much of Ani’s life is a façade—an attempt to reinvent herself in the wake of an unsettling trauma from her teenage years—and in the midst of trying to conceal her dark past, a buried secret suddenly resurfaces and threatens to unravel her perfect life. Knoll wrote the screenplay and is also an executive producer.
The Last Thing He Told Me
If you haven’t yet read Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me, you may be one of the only ones. The Reese’s Book Club pick made a huge splash when it published in May of last year, and has since spent 52 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list. The mystery-thriller will soon become a limited series on Apple TV+ starring Jennifer Garner and produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. Dave created the show alongside her husband, screenwriter Josh Singer. Like the book, the series will follow Hannah Hall, a woman who develops an unexpected bond with her teenage stepdaughter while she searches for the truth behind her husband’s sudden and mysterious disappearance.
Daisy Jones And The Six
As a massive fan of content about the music industry and band drama, I truly cannot wait for Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six to hit the small screen. The 2019 page-turner tells the story of a fictional 70’s rock band—Reid has confessed to being inspired by Fleetwood Mac—and is structured as a music documentary transcript. This novel was also a Reese’s Book Club pick; the limited series is produced by Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and will air on Amazon Prime.
Conversations With Friends
I’ve been an avid Sally Rooney reader since devouring her debut in 2017, so I jumped at the chance to watch Conversations with Friends on Hulu when it premiered in May. The 12-part series—created by the same team that adapted Rooney’s Normal People—is moody and character-driven and beautifully shot, with no shortage of steamy scenes and awkward moments. Like the novel, the show follows two Irish millennials, Frances and Bobbi, who fall into a complex romantic entanglement with a slightly older married couple.
Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale blew me away when I read it several years ago, tears streaming down my face as I turned the final page. Like millions of others who loved the novel, I’m eagerly awaiting the film, in which real-life sisters Elle and Dakota Fanning will play on-screen sisters Isabelle and Vianne. Like the book, the movie will follow the French sisters during World War II as they struggle to survive Germany’s occupation of France and resist the Nazi regime. The film rights were first optioned by TriStar Pictures in 2015, but production was delayed several times and the release date is now slated for early 2023.
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