Florence Pugh Will Lead Zoe Kazan’s East of Eden Adaptation

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Florence Pugh will star in an East of Eden adaptation penned by Zoë Kazan, Deadline reports. The limited series is based on author and Nobel Prize Winner John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name. Kazan and Pugh will also serve as producers on the upcoming series. Netflix has acquired the package after a competitive bidding war.

The classic novel tells the tale of two families: The Trasks and The Hamiltons, and their relationships with each other, between the beginning of the twentieth century and the end of World War I. The Hamiltons are allegedly based on author Steinbeck’s maternal family. Pugh has been cast as Cathy Ames, who grew up near the Trask family farm. In the novel, she sets fire to her family’s home, killing both of her parents.

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“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 twenty-first-century audience.”

Netflix has not released an official statement on the series and no director has been announced.

Pugh stars in Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling which is scheduled for release on September 23. She will also star in next year’s Oppenheimerbased on physicist J Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the atomic bomb, Zach Braff’s A Good Personand Dune Part 2. Kazan will star in she said as Jodi Kantor, one of the New York Times reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations story. Kazan previously penned the films Ruby Sparks and wildlife.

Related: Persuasion Trailer: Dakota Johnson as Protagonist in the Jane Austen Novel Adaptation

Other East of Eden Adaptations

The book was first adapted for film in 1955. It was written and directed by Elia Kazan, who happens to be Zoe Kazan’s grandfather. The film starred Julie Harris, Richard Davalos, Raymond Massey, Jo Van Fleet, Burl Ives, and James Dean in his first major screen role. Van Fleet received a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Cathy Ames.


In 1981, a three-piece miniseries based on the book aired on ABC. It was directed by Harvey Hart and starred Timothy Bottoms, Jane Seymour, Bruce Boxleitner, Soon Tek-Oh, Sam Bottoms, Hart Bochner, Karen Allen and Lloyd Bridges. Jane Seymour received a Best Actress Golden Globe for her version of Cathy Ames.

In 2013, news broke about a possible adaptation casting Jennifer Lawrence as Cathy Ames. That never occurred, due to litigation over Steinbeck’s estate.

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