1. Shutter Island
Based on Dennis Lehane’s novel Shutter Island, the film rights to the book were first optioned to Columbia Pictures in 2003, but the rights lapsed back to the author. Lehane’s representatives then sold the rights to the production company Phoenix Pictures, who hired screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis to write the screenplay. The project was in development for a year. By October 2007, the project had developed into a co-production between Columbia and Paramount Pictures.
2. Die Hard
The movie is an adaptation of the 1979 bestselling novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. A sequel to Thorp’s earlier novel The Detective, the novel was written with the intention of being adapted into a film sequel to the film adaptation of The Detective, which starred Frank Sinatra. When Sinatra turned down the offer to star in the sequel, the story was altered to be a stand-alone film with no connections to The Detective.
3. Million Dollar Baby
The screenplay of Million Dollar Baby was written by Paul Haggis, based on short stories by F.X. Toole, the pen name of fight manager and “cutman” Jerry Boyd. Originally published under the title Rope Burns, the stories have since been republished under the film’s title.
4. Forrest Gump
The film is based on the 1986 novel by Winston Groom. However, the film primarily focuses on the first eleven chapters of the novel, before skipping ahead to the end of the novel, the film adds several aspects to Gump’s life that do not occur in the novel, such as his needing leg braces as a child and his run across the United States. Two directors were offered the opportunity to direct the film before Robert Zemeckis was selected. Terry Gilliam turned down the offer to direct. Barry Sonnenfeld was attached to the film but left to direct Addams Family Values.
5. The Shawshank Redemption
The movie has been adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption from his collection Different Seasons. Darabont secured the film adaptation rights from author Stephen King after impressing the author with his short film adaptation of The Woman in the Room in 1983. Darabont later directed The Green Mile (1999), which was based on another work about a prison by Stephen King, and then followed that up with an adaptation of King’s novella The Mist.