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movies Steven Spielberg eyes 'Grapes of Wrath' film

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Director poised to produce new film adaptation of John Steinbeck novel for DreamWorks, according to reports

Steven Spielberg is set to acquire the rights to John Steinbeck novel The Grapes of Wrath, with a view to producing a new film adaptation for DreamWorks, according to Deadline.

The Grapes of Wrath, first published in 1939, follows the impoverished Joad family as they are driven from their home by economic disaster to seek a better life elsewhere. The story deals with the effects of the Great Depression and droughts in Oklahoma in the 1930s. Since its release, it has remained popular, with the original cinematic adaptation coming out in 1940, just a year after the book.

The original film enjoyed widespread praise, including from Steinbeck himself, who was reportedly impressed by Henry Fonda's lead performance as Tom Joad. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, winning two. John Ford took home the award for best director and Jane Darwell won best supporting actress for her role as Ma Joad.

According to Deadline, other interested parties included Sundance, Robert Redford's not-for-profit film institute, which wanted to produce a miniseries based on the novel, but the Steinbeck estate was persuaded by Spielberg's offer of a feature film instead. Even if DreamWorks is successful in its bid for the rights, Spielberg is unlikely to direct the movie, but will possibly oversee the project as producer. His next film as director will be American Sniper, based on the autobiography of Navy Seal Chris Kyle, with Bradley Cooper as the lead.

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