Unlike the many cinematic iterations of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s “The Great Gatsby” leading up to Baz Luhrmann‘s this summer, the John Steinbeck-penned classic, “The Grapes of Wrath,” managed an acclaimed adaptation first time around with director John Ford‘s help. Starring Henry Fonda and picking up two Oscars including Best Director, the 1940 film still appears on the lists of all-time greats, but with age comes the urge to remake, and now a filmmaker greatly inspired by Ford has decide to attempt one.
Deadline reports that Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks have begun talks over rights with the Steinbeck estate to produce an update of the Great Depression tale, which focuses on the Joad farming family struck by poverty and hunger in California. Apparently Hollywood was already highly invested in seeing a version made, with Robert Redford reportedly working with producer David Kennedy (“Dark Shadows”) on an FX miniseries adaptation, but Spielberg — mogul that he is — “swooped in” to sway the Steinbeck estate toward a feature.
So, another directorial gig for Spielberg to add to his busy slate? It seems not, as Dreamworks has confirmed that he’s only looking to produce the project. The director is committed next to “American Sniper” with Bradley Cooper in the lead, but the choice is more likely due to the 75th anniversary of Steinbeck’s book, which lands in 2014; the tie-in window is too ideal to pass up.
With that sort of time frame, expect the “Grapes of Wrath” remake to hit the fast track if negotiations go well, but in the meantime, leave your thoughts below as to whether a Spielberg-shepherded update is cause for celebration. Just in case you need a reminder, here’s the full 1940 film.