Metropolitan signs Steinbeck’s scripting son

Writer Tom Steinbeck, son of Nobel Prize-winning novelist John Steinbeck, has signed with Metropolitan Talent Agency for representation.

Under terms of the arrangement, the agency will represent him on all writing projects based on his father’s work.

Steinbeck will be repped by agent Maryann Kelly and agency president and owner Chris Barrett.

First project

On Steinbeck’s front burner is his adaptation of his father’s “The Pearl,” which was made into a film in Mexico in 1948 and was one of the first Mexican films to receive international distribution.

The latest version of “The Pearl,” which is the story of a poor fisherman, is currently circulating to various studios and sources say a deal is close to being made for the project.

While the original film’s screenplay was written by Steinbeck before he penned the novel, Tom Steinbeck said he is basing his script entirely on the novel.

Although a number of Steinbeck’s works, including “The Grapes of Wrath,””Of Mice and Men” and “East of Eden,” have been made into successful films, there have been a few misses, including MGM’s 1982 “Cannery Row,” which starred Nick Nolte and Debra Winger.

“The challenge for me, because I’ve watched other productions fail,” said Steinbeck, “is to write a project that captures Steinbeck, because most people have read him and know his books.”

“If the audience doesn’t see Steinbeck, it fails. The English can take Dickens and take it to the screen the way he wrote it, but we can’t do that with Hemingway, Steinbeck or Faulkner.”

In the works

In addition to “The Pearl,” Steinbeck is currently involved in a number of other projects based on his father’s work, incuding the TV miniseries “Travels With Charlie,” which Kevin Costner will produce and Steinbeck will co-produce.

The script is being written by David Rothenberg.

Another project is “In Dubious Battle,” which Jerry Tokofsky is executive producing and Steinbeck is co-producing and writing.

Considered one of Steinbeck’s best novels, it’s the story of Communist organizers among field workers.

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