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Jennifer Lawrence Is About To Make Your High School English Class A Whole Lot Easier

By Joanna Robinson | Trade News | September 25, 2013 | Comments ()


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Universal Pictures and Hunger Games director Gary Ross, in their infinite wisdom, are remaking East Of Eden. You know, John Steinbeck’s 601 page re-telling of the story of Cain and Abel set in Salinas, CA. I wrinkle my nose in the general direction of this project for several reasons. First of all, there’s a perfectly fantastic film adaptation directed by Elia Kazan. I don’t think we need to touch it. I’m particularly f*cking adamant we don’t crap all over the only three films screen god James Dean ever made. There’s only three. Just don’t touch them. Leave them be.

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Secondly, they’re splitting the film into two parts. Sure, that makes sense, given the length of the novel, but why not a make a smashing HBO mini-series instead? I can’t stand the Twilight-ening of all these book adaptations. Thirdly, they’ve cast Jennifer Lawrence as the mother. Nope, not the fresh-faced love interest. The mother. So J. Law is 23? How young are we going to go with these teenage leads? I guess it makes sense that Lawrence would want the far more interesting role of the dispassionate mother who leaves her children to become the madam of an infamous brothel that’s a hot bed of sexual sadism. That sounds like much meatier stuff for an Oscar-winner to chew on.

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Here’s one bit of cold comfort. If 23 year-old Jennifer Lawrence is playing the mother, then there’s no way in hell 35 year-old James Franco is getting Dean’s part of Cal. And I bet he’s screaming into a pillow about it right at this very moment. And that’s pretty great.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Erawk

    Yeah, Franco could never be in this, that would be like Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence being love interests.

  • sanity fair

    Well played!

  • Candee

    GAAAAH. I'VE BEEN SAYING THERE SHOULD BE AN EAST OF EDEN MINISERIES FOR EVEEEEEEER...

    Eek. Sorry about that. But seriously. It would be way cooler if it was an HBO series/mini series.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Well, I can understand why Lawrence would want to play Cathy, it's not like Abra is remotely interesting. Still, they're going to have to do some amazing aging make up or cast another actress for a lot of the film, aren't they?

  • bastich

    "Screaming into a pillow" is how I end all of my James Franco erotic fan fiction.

  • Billybob

    Maybe Ms Lawrence will play the teenaged-to-young-adult Cathy from the first half of the book, before letting someone else take over for part two.

    (Confession time: I haven't seen the film, just read the book, so I've got no idea if the film spends as much time on Charles and Adam and Cathy. Mostly I'm hoping they get Lee right)

  • gefeylich

    I hope they get Lee right too - his omission from the original movie was a huge crime. If they include him, casting will be the great hurdle (as much as I love Asian go-to guy John Cho, I don't know if he can handle the role).

    I also hope they follow the Hamilton family a bit, especially the great tragic story of siblings Tom and Dessie.

  • kimk

    I am guessing they will go the route of the miniseries from back in the 90s (80s?) where the first half covers Charles/Adam/Cathy and the second the two sons (with the actress playing Cathy in old person makeup). So, I don't see an issue with JL playing Cathy, and it is IMO the more interesting of the two main female characters if they are covering the entire book's timespan.

    As I fan of both the book and the original movie I still think the whole endeavor is a bad idea, though.

  • Fredo

    An HBO miniseries would be a great alternative. It lets you flesh out every character, explore scenes hinted at in the novel and do a different take without it feeling like you're stepping on the classic's toes.

  • InternetMagpie

    Since Cathy is one of the most terrifying characters in all of literature, I nominate the current most terrifying actor in all of television to play her.

    So it was that Jesse Plemmons seduced Adam Trask.

  • Ian Fay

    Aw James Franco. Don't scream at Kimiko. It's not her fault.

  • WhoDeyKY

    Oh my... that gif of her legs in action. I'm going to retreat to the darkest corner of my cubicle now for some alone time.

  • chanohack

    Yeah, today is ruined for me. I'm just going to stare at this.

  • Fredo

    " Lili. Lili, Lili, Lili, legs, Lili, Lili"

    I go all Hedley Lamarr when I see a great pair of gams.

  • Strand

    "If 23 year-old Jennifer Lawrence is playing the mother, then there’s no way in hell 35 year-old James Franco is getting Dean’s part of Cal."

    You'll see JRob, you'll see. He'll personally pay for that Benjamin Button shit to make this work.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    James Dean, sure, I can see that. But Julie Harris? She was a very good actress but I never cared for her for some reason. I think there's room for improvement.

  • I don't think Franco is screaming into his pillow. It is quite likely that he's already done an art installation about it though.

  • denesteak

    ugh. don't fucking touch East of Eden, Hollywood!!!

    also, I can't see Jennifer Lawrence as Cathy. She's too.... Jennifer Lawrence-y. You need an actress who can melt into a character, and though JLaw is a very, very good actress, I think she's too much of a Face now to really sink into the Cathy role.

    God, Cathy was one of my favorites. I don't even know who could play her.

    And don't discount Hollywood letting James Franco take Cal's role. They don't have any issues pairing much older men with younger women, relationship-wise. Why should they care about realism of any sort when it comes to son-daughter relationship?

  • gefeylich

    In that case, the producers should consider Andrew Garfield or Ben Whishaw for Cal. They're too old too, but not as old as Franco, and both can be as twitchy as Dean (but more in an Anthony Perkins sort of way).

    As for Lawrence as Cathy - she is too young, but she can do that dead-eyed thing which is essential to Cathy's "human monster" nature. Carey Mulligan would be a lot better, though.

  • Ed

    I would punch a baby for the uncropped version of that header photo.

  • bastich

    I'm with you there. Jaysis, she's hot.

    Careful with the baby-punching, though. I have a six-month-old niece who delivers a nasty head-butt whenever I hold her.

    Moral: Babies are evil by nature, and not defenseless.

  • Todd Sikkema

    Um, East of Eden, uh...God she looks great in that photo...where was I...I want to see the uncropped pic, yes I do...um...ok...yeah, John Steinbeck, the writer...

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