Like a classic Onion story, the Kazan family just appreciates John Steinbeck’s East Of Eden on a much deeper level than you: Nearly 70 years after name-namer Elia Kazan introduced the world to James Dean in his East Of Eden adaptation, Zoe Kazan—granddaughter of the elder Kazan—is putting together a new TV adaptation of the book for Netflix. This comes from Deadline, which says Zoe Kazan will be writing and executive producing the new adaptation, which is set to star Florence Pugh. As far as we know, Pugh’s grandfather was not involved in the making of the old East Of Eden, which would be fun, but a Google search for “who is Florence Pugh’s grandfather?” reveals that he was not a fan of Midsommar.
Deadline says Netflix landed the project after a “competitive bidding war,” with Kazan saying in a statement that she fell in love with East Of Eden when she read it as a teenager. “Since then,” she says, “adapting Steinbeck’s novel—the great, sprawling, three-generational entirety of it—has been my dream.” She also added that, “more than anything,” she wanted to “give full expression to the novel’s astonishing, singular antiheroine, Cathy Ames,” with the “thrilling” Pugh being her “dream Cathy.”
She does not mention her grandfather (unless you count the note that her series will cover the whole book, since the elder Kazan’s film only covered the end chunk), but the fact that she didn’t directly mention him or his movie means the Kazan family connection is probably just coincidental. If you’re curious, Kazan did talk about her grandfather and his testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee a few years ago in the lead-up to HBO’s The Plot Against America (which she starred in), and it sounds like something she’s not especially interested in dredging up (if only out of respect to the people whose names he named).
Netflix and Kazan are now going to start filling out the cast and looking for a director to helm the epic saga.