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John Steinbeck's East of Eden Gets a Director and Writer

by
January 14, 2009

East of Eden

Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment most recently optioned Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck's novel "East of Eden" back in 2004 (you can thank Oprah for that) and are finally hoping to begin production on the big-screen adaptation later this year. The studios have secured both a director and writer for the project -- Tom Hooper of HBO's "John Adams" and Christopher Hampton of Atonement -- despite earlier reports that Ron Howard and Paul Attanasio (The Good German) were involved. The 1952-published story spans 728 pages and, to crudely summarize, centers on life of the Trask brothers, Charles and Adam, drawing heavy inspiration from the Biblical story of Cain and Abel.

Of the sprawling material, Hooper said, "There is an opportunity to show the sex, violence and darkness of Steinbeck's work, along with the optimism and celebration of love." While Hooper lacks extensive film experience one would think needed to handle Steinbeck's work, he did helm 2004's Red Dust with Hilary Swank -- did anyone see that? -- and won a Director's Guild Award for his work on "John Adams". Eden was originally brought to the big screen back in 1955. That version with James Dean focused solely on the second-half of the story and had James Dean playing Adam's son Caleb. I'd venture to say Hooper's take will surface the entire story, which means Hampton has quite the task ahead of him. Interested?

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  • Christopher M
    I hold East of Eden as a classic...It's not Gone With The Wind but it's a great movie..I have no idea why this is a good idea when there are many other Steinbeck works that could be made...
  • Tim "Cloverfield"
    .......shit.
  • Itri
    At first I saw the title and was about to just give up on everything, but the people attached to it so far are talented and I have to say I am eager to see where this goes. The original is a classic though.
  • Tim "Cloverfield"
    Good one #3 , and by ......shit I mean is EOE is such a classic, except for Hampton, I would give it a chance. Thanks Itri.
  • Grant
    I've read the book, and it was amazing. But thinking about how they're going to manage to cover the entire work in the movie seems very difficult to me. There's a huge amount of characters they'd have to touch on, as well as managing the intertwining narratives. But hey, the writer/director look solid, so we'll see how they do.
  • "Red" - "Button" - "s"
    Interested. Yes.
  • Derek
    I've never seen the movie, but the book is one of my absolute favorites. I think the writer/director combo above seems promising.
  • http://www.mhzdesign.com MHz Marketing Firm
    I think this is a great idea to do a PROPER remake of this book. The book was fantastic but the 1955 version did not justice at all to any part of the book! If done properly and closely kept to the book with all its raw emotion, it would be an amazing movie! Surprised they didn't think of this earlier!
  • mike meyer
    I think it's a great idea -- while the 1955 film is a classic it left out a lot of important things that Steinbeck wanted to emphasize thematically and concentrated mainly on the storyline that held the most interest -- That of cal and Aron. There was spectacular acting in the Dean version - we'll have to see who they choose to star before I'll cheer or boo

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