John Steinbeck’s book, first published in 1939 and made into a successful 1940 film directed by John Ford and starring Henry Fonda, is widely considered one of the great American novels.
The story follows the impoverished Joad family as they are driven from their home by economic disaster to seek a better life elsewhere. The book deals with the effects of the Great Depression and droughts in Oklahoma in the 1930s.
Spielberg is reportedly set to acquire the film rights through his DreamWorks production company, trying to beat out Robert Redford, who allegedly was also interested in the property asa miniseries based on the novel, but the Steinbeck estate was persuaded by Spielberg’s offer of a feature film instead.
Spielberg will likely only produce the new “Grapes of Wrath” as he is busy directing “American Sniper,” about real-life Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. His last film, the biopic “Lincoln,” won two Academy Awards earlier this year.