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Ewan McGregor to Make Directorial Debut with ‘American Pastoral’

Ewan McGregor will make his directorial feature film debut with Lakeshore Entertainment’s “American Pastoral” in addition to starring with Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning.

The long-in-development project is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel written by Philip Roth. Phillip Noyce was previously attached to direct.

“Ewan’s talent goes far beyond his on-screen work, and we’re excited to be working with a director who is as passionate as we are about telling the story of ‘American Pastoral,’” Lakeshore CEO Tom Rosenberg said in a statement.

“It’s a great privilege to be working with Lakeshore on Phillip Roth’s astounding novel ‘American Pastoral,'” McGregor said. “I’ve wanted to direct for years and wanted to wait until I found a story that I ‘had’ to tell, and in this script I knew I had found that story.”

The screenplay was written by John Romano with filming scheduled for September in Pittsburgh. Producers are Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi.

The story follows Seymour “Swede” Levov, a legendary high school athlete who grows up to marry a former beauty queen and inherits his father’s business. His perfect life shatters when his daughter rebels by becoming a revolutionary and committing a deadly act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War.

Lakeshore first attempted to develop “Pastoral” in 2003, picking it up when Paramount’s option lapsed. In 2012, it attached Fisher Stevens to direct and had Sidney Kimmel co-financing.

The book, published in 1997, is the first novel in Roth’s American postwar trilogy, followed by “I Married a Communist” and “The Human Stain.”

Lakeshore has produced two other Roth adaptations — 2003’s “The Human Stain,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman, and 2008’s “Elegy,” starring Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley.

Lakeshore’s most recent titles include “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Underworld Awakening,” “Stand Up Guys,” “Walk of Shame,” “I, Frankenstein” and the upcoming “Age of Adaline,” starring Blake Lively, Harrison Ford and Ellen Burstyn along with “The Vatican Tapes,” starring Michael Pena, Dougray Scott and Djimon Hounsou.

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