Steven Spielberg Wants to Remake 'Grapes of Wrath.' Will He Stay True to the Book?

Steven Spielberg is negotiating with the John Steinbeck estate to get the rights to The Grapes of Wrath, Deadline reports. The 1939 novel, one of the greatest American classics that won Steinbeck the Pulitzer Prize, tells the story of the Joads, an Oklahoma family of farmers beaten down by the Dust Bowl who travel out west to California in search of a better life. It's a timely tale even now, and it's no wonder Spielberg has an interest in remaking the film — one of his heros, John Ford, directed the classic 1940 version of the film, and won the Academy Award for Best Director. He's a hard act to follow, but Spielberg, who was named by Empire Magazine as one of the greatest directors of our time, could be the right candidate to take on a remake. Reportedly, though, Spielberg has no interest in directing the film, just producing it, but hopefully he'll change his mind.

The novel's generating a lot of renewed interest as next year is the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath. Spielberg and his studio Dreamworks weren't the only ones bidding for the book's rights — Robert Redford wanted to turn the story into an FX miniseries, but Spielberg apparently convinced the Steinbeck estate that the story is better suited to the silver screen. (Agreed.) The 1940 version diverted from the novel's bleak-as-hell ending, but maybe Spielberg will stay true to the book.