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'Hunger Games' Director Gary Ross to Pen Jennifer Lawrence 'East of Eden' Adaptation UPDATED

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood February 25, 2014 at 11:38AM

UPDATE: Director Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games") is now signed on to pen the adaptation of John Steinbeck's "East of Eden," with Jennifer Lawrence attached to star. Ross will also direct, an announcement that, along with Lawrence's involvement, was made last September.
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Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

UPDATE: Director Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games") is now signed on to pen the adaptation of John Steinbeck's "East of Eden," with Jennifer Lawrence attached to star. Ross will also direct, an announcement that, along with Lawrence's involvement, was made last September.

Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment are producing for Universal. See below for more details on Lawrence's role in the film.

EARLIER: Jennifer Lawrence is now on board to star in Universal's adaptation of John Steinbeck's "East of Eden," to be directed by Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games").

The book centers on a father and two sons in Salinas Valley, California, and the unsettling secrets uncovered about their mother, presumed to be dead. Lawrence will play a young version of the mother. Though the role sounds small for the recent Oscar winner, per Variety, Lawrence was interested in working with Ross again, who directed her in the first installment of the Hunger Games franchise, and didn't want to miss out on the opportunity. 

Lawrence has "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (pictured above) in theaters this November, with David O. Russell's "American Hustle" and Susanne Bier's "Serena," both also starring Lawrence's "Silver Linings Playbook" co-lead Bradley Cooper, in the immediate pipeline.

East of Eden

Elia Kazan of course directed the classic 1955 film version of "East of Eden," starring James Dean. It nabbed a Supporting Actress Oscar win for Jo Van Fleet, who played the mother (albeit an older version of the character than Lawrence will play). Kazan, Dean and scribe Paul Osborn were all nominated for Academy Awards for the film.

Meanwhile, Steinbeck is trending. DreamWorks is in negotiations to make a new version of "The Grapes of Wrath," with Steven Spielberg interested in producing.

This article is related to: News, CASTING WATCH, casting, Jennifer Lawrence, Universal


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.