Some books are widely considered to be ‘unfilmable’ for a multitude of reasons, from complex themes to unconventional narrative construction to epic scope. Philip Roth’s seminal novel American Pastoral exhibits all of those traits – but Lakeshore Entertainment is still moving full steam ahead with an adaptation of it to be helmed by Phillip Noyce (The Giver). Today, Noah actress Jennifer Connelly, who won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, joined the cast, which is being led by Ewan McGregor.
Connelly is set to play Dawn, the wife of protagonist Swede Levov (McGregor). Said Lakeshort CEO Tom Rosenberg:
“Jennifer Connelly is one of the great actresses of our time. We always wanted her to play ‘Dawn’ in American Pastoral and we’re thrilled to be working with her.”
American Pastoral follows Swede, a legendary high school athlete throughout his life. He grows up to marry a former beauty queen (Connelly) and inherits his father’s business, only to see all the success and happiness he has found come clattering down around him when his daughter, a revolutionary, commits a deadly act of political terrorism during the Vietnam War.
John Romano (The Lincoln Lawyer) penned the script, working from Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. With McGregor and Connelly toplining, the talent is certainly there for American Pastoral, but the tricky, decades-spanning nature of Roth’s novel will make it extremely difficult for Lakeshore to produce a worthy film adaptation. Here’s hoping that Romano has cracked it – the novel has enough fans that, if he has, the studio could have a bona fide awards contender on its hands.
American Pastoral will begin to roll cameras in March of next year in Pittsburgh.