Last month we published an article on Nollywood movies that should be remade because Nollywood has officially run out of original ideas and what we have, are deadbeat stories that insult our intelligence (with the exception of a few). The least we can do is, give them some guidance for what movies would be best to adapt for the extremely smart 21st century audience. This week we list three classic Nigerian books that we would love to see as movies.
You’d agree that some of the greatest movies of all time have come from classic literature. In the last couple of years, book series such as Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games have dominated the box office.
This trend is not limited to Hollywood alone. Here in Nigeria, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ broke the record of the highest grossing movie in Nigeria in August 2014. The movie was at the number one spot in Nigerian cinemas, ahead of Marvel Studio’s ‘Guardian of Galaxy’. The movie was able to surpass other box office trailblazers like Last Flight to Abuja (N8.35Million), Phone Swap (N3.72Million), Maami (N3.30Million), and The Return of Jennifer (N10Million) – (Vanguard 2014).
Classic books, especially those of socio-political leanings make for great movies. More so because, socio-political drama doesn’t have the supernatural element in it. It’s usually based on some real life social event, mostly regarding modern history, international politics, or political implications of other social issues and events.
Here are 3 books we think will make great political thrillers:
‘There Was a Country’ by Chinua Achebe: Achebe sets the score of his life’s story in the rise and fall of another country-the republic of Biafra-and one of the most brutal civil wars of the twentieth century.
There Was a Country offers us a powerful story interlaced with poetry, of a time of innocence that quickly dissolved into the postcolonial iron years. It is a great gift from one of the giants of the twentieth century, and it will add to the debate on the situation of Africa in the post-colonial moment, seen through the steady eyes of an inspired witness.
My Watch – A Memoir by Olusegun Obasanjo: Obasanjo has always been an interesting character in Nigeria’s political history. And in this book, the former president holds nothing back, characterizing his former political son Goodluck Jonathan as weak, callous and incapable of managing Nigeria. This right here is why a book of this nature should be made into a movie.
My Watch spans large expanses of time, from the pre-colonial Owu history, to early Abeokuta and the last throes of an independent city state at turn-of-the-century colonial Nigeria, to the early life of Obasanjo, his civil war experience, his stewardship of the transitional government of 1976-1979, the interregnum, his second appearance on the national scene as a civilian president on Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, the completion of the first civilian-civilian transfer of government in Nigeria’s history that inaugurated the Yar’Adua presidency and signalled the end of Obasanjo’s tenure in office, and the years after.
Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe: It is no surprise that two of Achebe’s books are on this list. The man was phenomenal.
Anthills of the Savannah takes place in the imaginary West African country of Kangan, where a Sandhurst-trained officer, identified only as Sam and known as “His Excellency”, has taken power following a military coup. Achebe describes the political situation through the experiences of three friends: Chris Oriko, the government’s Commissioner for Information; Beatrice Okoh, an official in the Ministry of Finance and girlfriend of Chris; and Ikem Osodi, a newspaper editor critical of the regime. Other characters include Elewa, Ikem’s girlfriend and Major “Samsonite” Ossai, a military official known for stapling hands with a Samsonite stapler. Tensions escalate through the novel, culminating in the assassination of Ikem by the regime, the toppling and death of Sam and finally the murder of Chris. The book ends with a non-traditional naming ceremony for Elewa and Ikem’s month-old daughter, organized by Beatrice.
As for who gets the film rights; that is a completely different matter.
So, tell us. Do you agree with our list? What Nigerian books would you like to see as movies?