jennifer lawrence east of edenEthan Miller/Getty Images

Jennifer Lawrence is re-teaming with her original "Hunger Games" director Gary Ross on a new adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic novel "East of Eden."

Ross will split the story into two films, and will have Lawrence play Cathy Ames, the cold mother of two sons competing for their father's attention. The book was immortalized on the big screen in 1955 by legendary director Elia Kazan, and was one of James Dean's few feature film roles. It snagged several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won a statuette for actress Jo Van Fleet's supporting role.

While Kazan stuck to one movie, Deadline reports that Ross's plan to turn "East of Eden" into two will allow a more in-depth exploration of the relationship between Cathy and her husband, which will then lead into a depiction of the sons' rivalry. It will be a while before audiences will see the fruits of Ross's labor, though, since Lawrence is currently committed to the "Hunger Games" franchise and likely won't start work on "Eden" until she's finished shooting series-closer "Mockingjay," itself split into two films due out in late 2014 and 2015.

Lawrence and Ross's reunion is surely no accident, since their collaboration on the first "Hunger Games" film in 2012 was a global box office smash which catapulted Lawrence into superstardom. The duo also have another book-related project in the works, and are set to start shopping an adaptation of Hannah Kent's novel "Burial Rites," which Deadline describes as "a tale as bleak as [Lawrence's] Oscar-nominated breakout turn in'Winter's Bone.'" Again, Ross would direct and Lawrence would star.

Meanwhile, "East of Eden" isn't the only Steinbeck book that's gotten the attention of Hollywood recently. Steven Spielberg announced this summer that he would produce (and potentially direct) a new version of "The Grapes of Wrath," the rights for which he and studio DreamWorks won in a competitive bidding war.

No word on when that film is due to begin production, but it looks like literature fans will have a lot of options at the multiplex over the next few years.

[via Deadline]

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categories Movies