I’ve been wondering for a couple of years why nobody has been trying to put together a remake of The Grapes Of Wrath, as in these tough economic times, John Steinbeck’s Great Depression tales seem very apt for the modern day.
Now it seems Steven Spielberg has had the same thought, as Deadline reports that he and his studio, DreamWorks, are in talks with the Steinbeck estate to get the rights to make a new adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath. He’s not the only one either, as Robert Redford is said to have been interested in working with Dark Shadows producer David Kennedy to adapt the novel as a miniseries, but Spielberg now has the inside track.
It seems Spielberg wants to get to work as soon as possible, as next year is the 75th anniversary of the novel. It seems at the moment the Lincoln filmmaker won’t direct himself (he’s committed to American Sniper), but no helmer is currently attached.
Set during the Great Depression, The Grapes Of Wrath follows the Joads, a family of poor tenant farmers who are forced to leave Oklahoma due to the dustbowl conditions. Told of a promised land on the coast, the family, led by Tom Joad (played by Henry Fonda in John Ford’s 1940 film), head of towards California, but what they discover both on the road and at their final destination is very different to what was promised.
Some will feel there’s no point doing a remake, as Ford’s film is considered a classic, which was ranked at number 21 on the AFI’s notable 100 Years… 100 Movies list, but the fact is most people haven’t seen that film, so perhaps a new version can introduce the tale to a new audience.