Things are really heating up for The Nightingale movie adaptation! It’s been over two years since TriStar preemptively grabbed the film rights to Kristin Hannah’s 2015 New York Times bestselling World War II novel, and there is a lot of buzz about what fans can expect from the upcoming film. Although we don’t know yet who will star in this family saga about two very different sisters in Nazi-occupied France, fans of the novel will be delighted to know that key members are in place to write, produce, and direct the film. Plus, a release date has been announced.
With an already impressive list of television credentials, Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad) has signed on to direct. The Nightingale movie will be her first feature film and promises to give the gifted director a chance to really spread her wings. In a September 2016 newsletter, Hannah gushed about MacLaren:
“We have an AMAZING group of women pushing to get this beautiful, powerful story up on the big screen. I’m a huge fangirl of Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul, so having Michelle MacLaren direct this movie is a dream come true. When she talks about how she sees the movie, I am literally speechless. She loves this story as much as I do.”
Variety reports that in addition to MacLaren, the other talented women working behind the scenes of The Nightingale movie include producer Elizabeth Cantillon (Galaxy Quest, Concussion) and screenwriter Ann Peacock (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Nights in Rodanthe).
Like other World War II epics, adapting The Nightingale for the big screen will likely be challenging as filmmakers are tasked with splitting the narratives of the sisters’ war-time experiences in German-occupied France without diluting the compelling intensity of each woman’s story. While many scenes promise to be visually stunning, it is the emotion at the heart of the novel that readers will most want to experience again.
“The characters in The Nightingale are each confronted with incredible, terrifying choices,” Hannah says about her novel. “In love and in war, each character will find out who they really are.”
Bringing this complex novel to the silver screen — from Isabelle’s journey from impetuous child to war hero to shy Vianne’s instinctive need to protect and shelter innocents — guarantees The Nightingale movie will be one of the highlights of the 2019 movie season.
The author herself has a favorite scene from the book that will make for an especially heart-wrenching moment on-screen:
“Honestly, there are so many parts and passages of this book that I love, but if I had to pick just one, I would say the scene where Isabelle and Gaëtan see each other again after the end of the war… [T]hat scene made me cry every time I read it—and I read it a lot.”
We will be sure to have our tissues ready when we line up at the theater. However, fans still have to wait for Vianne and Isabelle’s story to hit the big screen. Deadline reports The Nightingale movie will hit theaters on January 25, 2019.
Editor’s Note: This piece was updated in December 2017 with new information.
Are you excited about the The Nightingale movie adaptation? Share in the comments!