Netflix may be planning another round of layoffs, but it’s still barreling full steam ahead with new projects. The streamer announced that it’s developing a limited series adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel, East of Eden, with Florence Pugh attached to star and co-produce.
Zoe Kazan will write the adaptation of the novel that many Americans read in high school, and that tells the story of two families (the Trasks and the Hamiltons) in California’s Salinas Valley, between the turn of the twentieth century and the first World War. (It’s known as Steinbeck’s most ambitious work, loosely based on the Book of Genesis.) East of Eden was first brought to the screen by Zoe’s grandfather, Elia Kazan, who directed James Dean-starring adaptation for Warner Brothers in 1955.
Per Deadline, “the limited series adaptation will explore the novel’s themes of trauma and repair; love and betrayal; duty and free will. The series will sketch an intimate portrait of the Trask family against the backdrop of huge historical forces — or, as Steinbeck put it, ‘the story of my country and the story of me.’”
“I fell in love with East of Eden when I first read it, in my teens,” Kazan said. “Since then, adapting Steinbeck’s novel — the great, sprawling, three-generational entirety of it — has been my dream. More than anything, I have wanted to give full expression to the novel’s astonishing, singular antiheroine, Cathy Ames. Florence Pugh is our dream Cathy; I can’t imagine a more thrilling actor to bring this character to life. Writing this limited series over the last two years has been the creative highpoint of my life. I hope that with our partners at Netflix, Anonymous Content, and Endeavor Content, we can do justice to this material — and shed new light on it for a 21st century audience.”
Kazan previously wrote Ruby Sparks and Wildlife (starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal). She’s also set to play New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor in She Said, about the beginning of the global #MeToo movement with the breaking of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault story.
Pugh has several projects coming up, including Don’t Worry Darling, in which she’ll star opposite Harry Styles, as well as The Wonder for Netflix, A Good Person (out next spring) and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, out in July.