Next year marks the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the 1939 novel by John Steinbeck that I once owned the Cliff’s Notes for, so naturally it recently became the subject of a bidding war. Much like the bidding war that broke out between Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt for a similar classic novel, World War Z, The Grapes of Wrath was the focus of competitive efforts between Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg, with the latter coming out on top.
Whereas Redford wanted to turn the book about the Great Depression into a TV miniseries, Spielberg and Dreamworks believe it should once again be brought to the big screen, just as it was with Henry Fonda in 1940.
The novel was turned into a classic 1940 film by John Ford, the director who won one of two Oscars out of the seven nominations the picture received. I’d heard this suddenly became a hot movie property, and that Steven Spielberg swooped in to take it off the table over other bidders. I’d also heard that Spielberg was eyeing it to direct, but DreamWorks said definitively that he is only interested in producing the picture, and will absolutely not direct it. It might be awkward turf since director Ford was one of Spielberg’s formative influences. There is some rationale to this, if DreamWorks was looking to capitalize on the 75th anniversary of Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. (Via Deadline)
Obviously, if Spielberg doesn’t plan to direct, that’s going to leave the door open for plenty of speculation about not only the creative process, but also casting and the actual story. Will it be an accurate portrayal of the original novel or will it take on a new identity to relate to the modern economic problems?
Or could Dreamworks have an entirely different approach to this idea and make my action/sci-fi concept happen?