Jennifer Lawrence and her Hunger Games director Gary Ross are reuniting for a new adaptation of East Of Eden, John Steinbeck’s novel set at the turn of the century, when many American farmers played their own fun hunger games where they didn’t have anything to eat, then competed to see who could be more cruel to their families. Much like Steven Spielberg’s own recently announced adaptation of The Grapes Of Wrath, Steinbeck’s book has already been famously adapted once before, as an Elia Kazan movie starring James Dean. But unlike Grapes Of Wrath, Kazan’s film only covered the back half of East Of Eden, leaving so much hardship and despair unrealized. Now Ross and Lawrence will cover it all, creating two films that explore the novel’s first generation of brothers who hate each other as well as the second, as they symbolically vie for the affection of their fathers a la Cain and Abel.
Deadline reports that Lawrence will play Cathy Ames, the boys’ mother and “malformed soul” who has nothing but murderous hate even for her own family, and who eventually becomes the madam of an S&M-dealing brothel, in the one detail that will cause people who don’t care about old Steinbeck novels to suddenly shut up and pay attention. “They should call this movie S&M Madam Of The West,” they’ll suggest, echoing many a high school student across several generations.