While Gary Ross famously declined directing the "The Hunger Games" sequel, setting off a speculation frenzy until Francis Lawrence landed the gig helming the rest of the franchise, no one can doubt that the filmmaker and Jennifer Lawrence got on like gangbusters. So well in fact, that the pair are cooking up two projects together.
Deadline reports that Ross and Lawrence are teaming on an epic, new big-screen version of John Steinbeck's "East Of Eden." Already adapted once in 1955 by Elia Kazan, with the classic film starring James Dean, this version will span two films to tell the epic saga of the Hamilton and Trask families, and their interlocking stories that span from the start of the 20th century through World War I. The project, which has been kicked around Hollywood for a few years now, has a script from Paul Attansio ("The Good German," "Quiz Show," "Donnie Brasco") but it will need a rewrite, but no details who may do that just yet. Here's the official book synopsis from Amazon:
'Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man'. California's fertile Salinas Valley is home to two families whose destinies are fruitfully, and fatally, intertwined. Over the generations, between the beginning of the twentieth century and the end of the First World War, the Trasks and the Hamiltons will helplessly replay the fall of Adam and Eve and the murderous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
Lawrence is set for the role of Cathy Ames, but not so fast in the comments section, because next for Ross is "Peter And The Starcatchers," with the hope that "East Of Eden" will roll after that. But the pair aren't putting all their chips on one project. They are also looking for someone to team with them on an adaptation of Hannah Kent's bestselling "Burial Rites," which hit bookstores this year. And it's another period movie, but based on a remarkable true story. Again, here's the Amazon synopsis:
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
Fascinating stuff, and if Lawrence keeps using her District dollars to get weightier dramatic projects moving, we've got no problem with that. [Deadline]