EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is developing a limited series adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel East of Eden, with Zoe Kazan writing and exec producing and Florence Pugh attached to star and co-produce.
Sources told Deadline that the streamer landed the package following a competitive bidding war. Anonymous Content and Endeavor Content are co-producing the series as part of a partnership unveiled in March.
Netflix had no comment and insiders said the series is still in early development.
The novel was previously adapted as a film in 1955 with Zoe’s grandfather, Elia Kazan, directing for Warner Bros. The film was also notable for being James Dean’s first major screen role.
The limited series adaptation will explore the novel’s themes of trauma and repair; love and betrayal; duty and free will. The series will sketch an intimate portrait of the Trask family against the backdrop of huge historical forces — or, as Steinbeck put it, “the story of my country and the story of me.”
“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,” Kazan said. “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 21st century audience.”
The producers will now look to cast its Trask family as well as find a director to helm the series.
This will mark Kazan’s first major TV writing credit, having previously penned the features Ruby Sparks and Wildlife, the latter of which was directed by Paul Dano and starred Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. Acting-wise, she is set to star in the She Said, where she will play Jodi Kantor, one of the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations story that led to the studio head’s downfall and ultimately helped jump-start the #MeToo movement.
As for Pugh, East of Eden is one of a number of current projects for the Oscar-nominated actress. She can be seen next in Don’t Worry Darling, which was directed by Olivia Wilde and also stars Harry Styles and Chris Pine. She also has The Wonder for Netflix; A Good Person, which bows next spring; and Christopher Nolan’s next pic Oppenheimer, which comes out next July.
Anonymous Content had a busy 2021 that included films like Worth, Swan Song and Stillwater. Next up for the banner is Foe.
Endeavor Content’s latest filmCha Cha Real Smooth, the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Winner, is streaming on Apple TV+ and in select theaters. And the studio’s 5 new TV series have been renewed for second seasons –Severance, Tokyo Vice, Life & Beth, Wolf Like Me and Nine Perfect Strangers.
Pugh is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Kazan is repped by UTA, manager Jennifer Konawal and Jackoway Austen.