Ramin Bahrani Signs on to Write and Direct a New Television Series Adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath

Ramin Bahrani Signs on to Write and Direct a New Television Series Adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ramin Bahrani has signed on to write and direct a television series adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath. Fifth Season will produce the new adaptation of author John Steinbeck’s celebrated 1939 novel of the same name, Deadline is reporting.

The novel is set during the Great Depression and follows the Joads, a poor family of tenant farmers who are driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, agricultural industry changes and bank foreclosures. They set out for California along with thousands of others from the Dust Bowl, who are seeking jobs, land, dignity and a future.

Upon its initial release, The Grapes of Wrath garnered widespread acclaim from critics and readers. It went on to win a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.

Before its upcoming television adaptation, the novel was turned into the classic 1940 film. The movie starred Henry Fonda and was helmed by John Ford. Fonda was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the story’s protagonist, Tom Joad. Ford was awarded the Oscar for Best Director for the project.

Joe Hipps, Fifth Season’s President, TV Development and Production, addresses commented on the upcoming series adaptation. He said the show will be set within the novel’s period roots, but Bahrani has some “interesting ideas” about how to make the story contemporary with music.

Fifth Season is developing the upcoming television adaptation with one of the production banners that it has a production and financing deal with, Brad Weston’s MakeReady. However, not much else is currently known about the new Grapes of Wrath series, including what network it will air on, and when it will premiere.

Bahrani is best known for writing and helming the Netflix film,The White Tiger, for which he was nominated for the Best Screenplay Oscar last year. He’s also the filmmaker behind the acclaimed 2007 drama feature, Chop Shop, as well as Fahrenheit 451, the HBO dystopian movie adaptation of Ray Bradbur’s 1953 book of the same name.

The filmmaker most recently worked as a helmer on the Samuel L. Jackson-fronted Apple TV+ drama miniseries, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. He also make his documentary directorial debut on 2nd Chance, which played at the Sundance Film Festival before it debuted on Showtime.

The Grapes of Wrath is the latest screen adaptation of a Steinbeck novel that’s being developed by Fifth Season. The company is also developing a limited series adaptation of East of Eden at Netflix.

The show is being written by Zoe Kazan, the granddaughter of Elia Kazan, who helmed the 1955 movie version. Florence Pugh is set to lead the cast in the upcoming series adaptation. Hipps has stated that they’re aiming to begin production on the project in early 2024.

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