DreamWorks is in talks with the estate of author John
Steinbeck to make a new version of The Grapes Of
Wrath. 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.
confirmed that Spielberg is only going to be 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 capitalise on the 75th
anniversary of Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
That anniversary happens next year, and Spielberg is
next committed to directing Jason Hall's adaptation
of American Sniper with Bradley Cooper starring.
those who haven't read it in high school, The Grapes
Of Wrath is about a poor family of tenant farmers
forced to move off its land in Oklahoma because of
drought and hopeless economic conditions. Spurred
by the promise of high wages for farm workers, the
Joads head to California, but are beaten down by poverty
and hunger in the Great Depression. The film introduced
the defiant and tragic protagonist Tom Joad (played
by Henry Fonda), who has been an enduring symbol for
Among those chasing the book were Robert Redford,
whose Sundance label was looking to partner with Dark
Shadows producer David Kennedy to turn The
Grapes Of Wrath into a miniseries at FX. That
was until Spielberg came in with the feature and convinced
the Steinbeck estate this was the way to go. The rights
to the classic novel come with complications, however.
Fox made the original film and even though the domestic
rights reverted back to the Steinbeck estate, the
foreign rights to the film are controlled by that