The Grapes of Wrath

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As far as adaptations of classic literature goes, John Ford’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is unquestionably one of the greatest. The film not only won two Academy Awards when it was first released, winning both Best Director and Best Supporting Actress, but has gone down in history as one of the best films ever made, ranking number 21 of AFI’s notable 100 Years… 100 Movies list. It’s hard to imagine any filmmaker being able to use the same source material to create something even close to the same level, but that’s not stopping Steven Spielberg from trying.

Deadline has learned that Spielberg and Dreamworks are now negotiating with the Steinbeck estate to get the rights to make a new adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath. According to the story, the property has become a hot one recently in Hollywood, but Spielberg was able to “[swoop] in to take it off the table over other bidders.” Robert Redford was reportedly interested in working with Dark Shadows producer David Kennedy to adapt the novel as a miniseries for the FX network, but apparently the Lincoln director was able to convince the owners of the rights that the proper approach would be to make a new feature. There was some early talk about Spielberg directing the new version himself, but sources at the studio say that he will only be taking a producorial part in the project.

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