In 1939, John Steinbeck told a powerful tale about The Joads, a family who leave the poverty-laden and drought-ridden southern plains known as “The Dust Bowl” with dreams of a new life in California.
The Grapes Of Wrath won a Pulitzer Prize and the following year, directing legend John Ford gave the world the first film adaptation with Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. It won two Oscars and is ranked #23 of AFI’s “Top 100 Films Of All Time.”
Since then, we’ve seen several send ups of this story, including the “South Park” episode where the country “runs out of internet,” leaving families heading out to California because (you guessed it) they hear there’s internet there.
With next year marking the 75th anniversary of the novel’s debut, all of Hollywood (including acting legend and Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford) wanted their hands on the film rights and courted the Steinbeck estate extensively but when the smoke cleared, it was Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks who walked away prosperous. HOWEVER, it should be noted that while DreamWorks will (likely) hold domestic rights, 20th Century Fox, based on the deal made during the John Ford production, still has ownership of foreign rights.
Deadline went on to say that Spielberg and DreamWorks have confirmed that he will only produce, NOT direct* this latest version of The Grapes Of Wrath…but I’m sure he’ll have plenty of say on all aspects INCLUDING casting.
Who’ll direct this massive remake as well as step into the shoes of Tom Joad (Henry Fonda is a HARD act to follow) is anyone’s guess…but I when I know, YOU’LL know.
* [Editor’s note: Spielberg won’t direct because he’ll probably be busy directing Bradley Cooper in American Sniper.]
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