Josh Steinbeck’s classic novel East of Eden is getting the limited series treatment on Netflix in an important way. According to dead line, the adaptation comes from Emmy-nominated actress Zoe Kazan who will bring the novel to life with acclaimed actress Florence Pugh as the lead. The series is in an early stage of development.
Steinbeck’s historical novel was published in 1952 and is still considered his masterpiece. Using the Trask and Hamilton family, the novel loosely retells the story of Cain and Abel, using the different generations of the families to represent each piece of the ancient biblical tale. The series will revolve around many of the same themes of trauma and reparation, love and betrayal, duty and free will present in Steinbeck’s novel while intimately depicting the Trask family, pitting them against the great historical forces of their time.
This is not the first time East of Eden has been tapped for on-screen material. In fact, it was Kazan’s grandfather, Elia Kazan, who directed the 1955 Warner Bros. film that featured the late James Dean in his first big screen role. It also featured other major stars of the day, including Julie Harris, Raymond Massey, and Burl Ives. Pugh will have big shoes to fill when she takes on the role of anti-heroine Cathy Ames, originally played by Jo Van Fleet in a Best Supporting Actress-winning performance.
East of Eden is a labor of love for Kazan, who has greatly appreciated the book over the years, and had high praise for Pugh in the title role. Pugh is a decorated actress, most recently known for her fantastic performances in the haunting Midsommar and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. She is also a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to her roles in Black Widow and Hawkeye. East of Eden marks another major project in the dossier for the star, who is also set to appear in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer film Dune Part 2 and the upcoming Olivia Wilde-directed Don’t Worry Darling, opposite Chris Pine and Harry Styles.
As for Kazan, the limited series is a huge step forward in her writing career. Her previous features, Ruby Sparks and Wildlife, featured some high-profile talent like Paul Dano and Jake Gyllenhaal, but she hasn’t done anything major for television. She is still best known for her acting career, which includes her acclaimed role in Oliver Kitteridge. @worldwide