Ewan McGregor is getting to the director’s chair for the first time. It was announced today by Lakeshore Entertainment that McGregor will be making his helming debut on American Pastoral, the adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Philip Roth. Set in the U.S. during the Vietnam War, the story revolves around a legendary high school athlete who grows up to marry a former beauty queen and inherits his father’s business. His perfect life is thrown for a loop when his daughter becomes a revolutionary and commits a deadly act of political terrorism.
McGregor has been attached to star in the film for some time now alongside Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning, who play his wife and daughter respectively. He replaces Philip Noyce (Salt) in the director’s chair, but no reason is given for Noyce’s exit. This is a project that has been percolating for years, and it appears that it’s finally set to start production in September in Pittsburgh with McGregor at the helm.
As the American century draws to an uneasy close, Philip Roth gives us a novel of unqualified greatness that is an elegy for all our century’s promises of prosperity, civic order, and domestic bliss. Roth’s protagonist is Swede Levov, a legendary athlete at his Newark high school, who grows up in the booming postwar years to marry a former Miss New Jersey, inherit his father’s glove factory, and move into a stone house in the idyllic hamlet of Old Rimrock. And then one day in 1968, Swede’s beautiful American luck deserts him.
For Swede’s adored daughter, Merry, has grown from a loving, quick-witted girl into a sullen, fanatical teenager—a teenager capable of an outlandishly savage act of political terrorism. And overnight Swede is wrenched out of the longer-for American pastoral and into the indigenous American berserk. Compulsively readable, propelled by sorrow, rage, and a deep compassion for its characters, this is Roth’s masterpiece.
Symbolic of turbulent times of the 1960s, the explosion of a bomb in his own bucolic backyard sweeps away the innocence of Swede Levov, along with everything industriously created by his family over three generations in America. [BN.com]