Florence Pugh To Star In ‘East Of Eden’ Series Adaptation At Netflix

This June 18, 2019 photo shows actress Florence Pugh posing for a portrait at the Crosby Street Hotel in New York to promote her film “Midsommar.” (Photo by Brian Ach/Invision/AP)

John Steinbeck‘s classic novel East Of Eden is getting another adaptation, this time as a limited series for Netflix.

Florence Pugh has been cast to play the lead role of Cathy Ames, while Zoe Kazan – granddaughter of Elia Kazan, who adapted the book into the 1955 film with Julie Harris and James Dean – will write the series and executive produce.

Steinbeck’s landmark novel was published in 1952 and is widely considered his magnum opus. Using two families – the Trasks and the Hamiltons – the novel loosely retells the story of Cain and Abel using the intricate details of the families across different generations.

The series will revolve around many of the same themes of trauma and repair, love and betrayal, and duty and free will. The book should actually work better as a limited series as it’s a long novel, which meant that the 1955 film was only able to adapt the final third or so.

This adaptation is a passion project for Kazan, who has greatly appreciated the book for years. She said in a statement:

“I fell in love with East of Eden when I first read it, in my teens. Since then, adapting Steinbeck’s novel – the great, sprawling, three-generational entirety of it – has been my dream. More than anything, I have wanted to give full expression to the novel’s astonishing, singular antiheroine, Cathy Ames.

Florence Pugh is our dream Cathy; I can’t imagine a more thrilling actor to bring this character to life. Writing this limited series over the last two years has been the creative highpoint of my life. I hope that with our partners at Netflix, Anonymous Content, and Endeavor Content, we can do justice to this material – and shed new light on it for a twenty-first century audience.”

The producers for Anonymous Content and Endeavour Content will now reportedly seek to fill out the rest of the cast and find a director to helm the series. They should have plenty of options.

Pugh has quickly developed into a major star, and this will be yet another major role for her resume. She also has Olivia Wilde‘s psychological thriller Don’t Worry, Darling due out in September, while she’s also working on Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer and Zach Braff‘s A Good Person.

Kazan is best known as an actor herself, but she has penned two excellent films in the past – 2018 drama Wildlife and post-modern 2012 romantic comedy Ruby Sparks.

She’s currently filming She Said, the film adaptation of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey‘s book that exposed Harvey Weinstein‘s history of abuse and sexual misconduct against women. Kazan will play Kantor.


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