The Hunger Games winning team of director Gary Ross and star Jennifer Lawrence will reunite on a new adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden. Since one film isn’t enough to tackle Steinbeck’s self-professed greatest work, the plan is to tell the tale over two installments. Written in 1952, East of Eden is Steinbeck’s retelling of both the Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel mythologies, centering on two families and their intertwining destinies. A 1955 adaptation from director Elia Kazan saw James Dean and Richard Davalos starring as the Trask brothers, who competed for the affections of their farmer father, Adam (Raymond Massey). Hit the jump for more on how Lawrence fits into this new take.
News of Ross and Lawrence teaming up for East of Eden comes via Deadline. Lawrence would play “Cathy Ames, the cold and cruel mother of the boys and estranged wife of the farmer. The films will tell their stories, leading into the rivalry between their sons.” The new adaptation comes after a deal closed between the Steinbeck estate and Universal Picture and Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer. With East of Eden in the works and a new adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath moving forward, I wouldn’t be surprised to see news of an Of Mice and Men adaptation coming next.
Ross and Lawrence may also be teaming up on an adaptation of the Hannah Kent novel, Burial Rites, a tale of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. The drama takes place between the murder and the prosecution of the case against a woman who is victimized and powerless against the forces trying to send her to a public execution. Ross will direct and Lawrence wil play the protagonist.”
Here’s the book’s synopsis (via Amazon):
Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.