East Of Eden Headed Back To The Screen

With John Adams' director at the wheel

Whatever you do, just don't call it a remake. A new adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden is underway, and director Tom Hooper and screenwriter Christopher Hampton have just signed up to put it into production later this year.

The book, originally published in 1952, is a retelling of the Cain and Abel story set just prior to World War I, as two brothers in California's Salinas Valley clash as they compete for their father's affections.

The book was originally adapted for the screen in 1955, with Elia Kazan directing and James Dean starring - but the stories announcing this new film have gone out of their way to avoid mentioning the existence of that film. This new project apparently owes more to the fact that Oprah featured the book on her all-powerful Book Club in 2004, sending it straight back to the top of the bestseller lists and prompting Ron Howard to sign on to direct it, with Peter Attanasio (The Good German, Donnie Brasco) then set to write it.

Now they are out and Christopher Hampton (Atonement, the upcoming Coco Avant Chanel) is in as screenwriter, with Tom Hooper set to direct. Hooper is currently riding high on the success of mini-series John Adams, which cleaned up at the Golden Globes on Sunday, and just finished work on The Damned United, the Brian Clough story starring Michael Sheen.