Adaptations of cherished literary classics are nothing new, but most are either of novels that have never been brought to the big screen before, or were adapted with less than than stellar results. John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath is different, though, as the 1940 film by John Ford won a pair of Oscars and is generally regarded as one of his finest works. So it's no wonder that Dreamworks is pulling in the big guns to help get a modern update in front of cameras in time for next year's 75th anniversary of Steinbeck's novel.
Deadline reports that Steven Spielberg is aboard to produce a new film version of The Grapes of Wrath, as the studio finalizes talks with the Steinbeck estate. The Depression Era tale follows the poor Joad farming family, who are forced to uproot from their Oklahoma home due to a poor economic climate, heading for California and the promise of greater wealth.
With the anniversary rapidly approaching, it seems as if 'Wrath' has become a red-hot property. Robert Redford had been planning to adapt it as an FX miniseries until Spielberg convinced them otherwise. Dreamworks has made it clear he's not looking to direct and will stay behind the scenes in a producing capacity, as he's already set to helm American Sniper next.
The window of opportunity for this project to get moving is small, so look for production on The Grapes of Wrath to be put on the fast track.