DreamWorks, Spielberg Developing ‘The Grapes of Wrath’

DreamWorks, Spielberg Eye 'The Grapes of

DreamWorks is in early talks with John Steinbeck’s estate to acquire the rights to the author’s classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath” which Fox had previously turned into a film in 1940.

The original story followed the Joad family, a poor family who move west after drought and economic instability force them to leave their Oklahoma farm. The 1940 film version was helmed by John Ford and starred Henry Fonda.

Steven Spielberg would produce.

If the deal goes through, the pic marks another film classic DreamWorks is developing as a feature. The studio is also prepping a remake of the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Rebecca” which currently has Nikolaj Arcel attached to direct.

Deadline Hollywood broke the news.

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  1. Kyle Chandler as Tom Joad (Henry Fonda in the original). Kyle would be great cast in this part. It would be wonderful to see him in this wonderful classic movie.
    Best Looking…Best Actor…Kyle Chandler!

  2. Student says:

    It could be good, it could be bad. The original 1940 film is in my top 10, so I will see how it goes.

  3. Ek Min Madam says:

    A classic in the Re-making … Waiting eagerly.

  4. John Vizzusi says:

    “I always considered this to be Henry (Hank) Fonda’s overall Best Performance in a Leading Role.” His body of work is incredible for sure. Since the young Fonda was relatively unknown at the time, maybe its a good idea to cast a Newcomer as Tom Joad. Jane Darwell (Ma Joad) won the Oscar!

  5. John Vizzusi says:

    Here is the best hint I could give you: He said….
    Quote, “You can get it in any Color you want… as long as its Black!

  6. Tom Baker says:

    I wonder if Spielberg is thinking of Daniel Day-Lewis as Tom Joad. It might be a stretch. Fonda was in his mid-30’s, Day-Lewis in his mid-50’s,

  7. MRWGD says:

    IF you had ever read the original book, you would know that a lot of the book is never told , The harshness and the graphic writing of the book could not be put on the screen in that time period. The censors would not let that happen. The book is amazing , I’ve read it several times, yes it’s that good. The Original movie is a classic, Period. I love the film. It cannot be surpassed, But so much of the book is never told , in this day and time of anything goes on film ,it would be interesting to see what magic Mr. Spielberg can bring to the screen looking at it from more of the original book. The ending of the book is amazing, more true to life of the time period. Yes let’s see what Mr. Spielberg can do with this classic, not as a comparison , but as a new look at The Grapes of Wrath.

    • John Vizzusi says:

      “Yes, the Novel is quite assoundingly negative although truthful to the Joad’s actual plight at the end! Ford and Steinbeck agreed that a much more positive ending should be shot since in 1939-40 many folks still had not recovered from these harsh times. Steinbeck loved the final cut!

  8. At the close of the 20th Century the American Film Institute named (anointed) Steven Spielberg the greatest director of the past 100 years — which essential, at that time, comprise the life of the motion picture industry. Any notion that any one director could obtain such an impossible accolade I’ll leave to the judgment of those with common sense.

    • John Vizzusi says:

      “If you require a name, I’ll give you one; “John Ford”. Back when Speilberg himself spoke as part of the AFI Salute to Mr. Ford, Steven pointed out to the audience he had Directed 11 Pictures at that time. His quote said it all (comparing himself to Ford’s body of work): “I need to get off my ass and go to work”. I don’t know anyone inside or outside the Industry that would argue he has done just that.

  9. Spike says:

    Come on, Steven, are the writers you know so bereft of ideas that you have to remake classics WHICH ONE JUST DOESN’T REMAKE. Steven, you’ll never do better than the original. Same with Rebecca. Your remakes will be, in true Spielbergian style, manipulative and sappy. Get raw, Steven, and this is not the way to get raw. Have your billions made you lose touch with yourself?

  10. Larry says:

    So, someone thinks he can improve on Hitchcock and the Best Picture of 1940. Perfection can not be improved upon. REBECCA is a classic. There aren’t any actors today to equal or surpass Olivier, Fontaine, Anderson, and Sanders. Let’s see Daniel Day-Lewis play Mrs. Danvers. Then, I might consider seeing the remake.

  11. Stephanie Proffitt says:

    Some films are flawlessly iconic and in their own imperfect way, perfect! Spielberg is a genuis with storytelling, but there are some masterpieces of American cinema that should be considered “untouchable”. The Grapes of Wrath is one of them. The cast, the perspective and understanding of the hardships and tragedies of the Dust Bowl ….. the resulting uprooting and painful migration actually happening just years before John Steinbeck gave life to the Joads in 1939 for all eternity and John Ford in 1940 with his masterful film that captured the soul and heartbreak of the Joads and every other family that journeyed out of that Dust Bowl …all those pieces are missing 73 years later. Some films are simply not meant to be “remade”. The Grapes of Wrath being one of them.

    • John Vizzusi says:

      “After further review the Studio is simply in talks with obtaining the rights to re-tell the Story on the big screen! As a founding member, the Steinbeck Foundation remains the most trustworthy group to withold the standards of John Steinbeck himself. You have to ask yourself, if he was alive today and had a chance to ok a Director and or Producer’s for the remake, Dreamworks would most certainly be a great pick. But you are so, so very right in your analysis of John Ford’s epic.

  12. John Vizzusi says:

    “As a Documentarist that slept in the novelist’s bed on occasion in Pacfic Grove and one that worships John Ford, I would suggest you return to old world Filmmaking techniques and use ever old Hollywood Character actor you can find. Steinbeck was proud of “The Grapes of Wrath” Movie and I hope you can turn on another entire generation to this tragic Story in America’s past. “The Joad’s” are everywhere you look in American Society today!

  13. Walter Frickin’ Salles.

  14. George Valentin says:

    C’mon….Nothing can beat the Henry Fonda original!

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