Classic American novels are all the rage in Hollywood these days.
After the success of "The Great Gatsby," the next big literary adaptation may be a new movie version of "The Grapes of Wrath." Deadline reports that Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks are in talks to acquire the film rights to the 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by John Steinbeck. Spielberg won't direct the film, just produce.
"Grapes of Wrath" has been made into a movie once before, in 1940 by director John Ford. Spielberg has often talked about Ford's influence on him. "Ford's in my mind when I make a lot of my pictures," he once said. A 15-year-old Spielberg even met the legendary filmmaker of "The Searchers," "Stagecoach," "The Informer," and "How Green Was My Valley." Ford won a record four Best Director Oscars (Spielberg currently has two).
The Depression-era story follows the Joads, a family of tenant farmers, as they venture from the drought-stricken Dust Bowl of Oklahoma to the promise of a better life in California. But there, they fall once again into hunger and poverty.
As Deadline notes, next year is the 75th anniversary of the novel.