A friend wrote this morning to remind me that Phillip Roth‘s “American Pastoral” (’97) is “a true masterpiece.” Which is neither here nor there as far as Ewan McGregor’s upcoming film version (Lionsgate, 10.21) is concerned. But the trailer is intriguing. It has me thinking that maybe, just maybe, the film might amount to something. It’s always prudent to adopt a “wait and see” attitude with a first-time director, but every so often a form of beginner’s luck can occur.
The plot is about parental anguish and ’60s terrorism; the theme has something to do with the fact that people (including your best friends and family members) can be obstinate, incomprehensible and disloyal.
Phillip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence, The Quiet American, Clear and Present Danger) began developing a script of American Pastoral with writer John Romano in ’03, and he tried to get it made for over a decade. Two years ago Noyce was hired by Lionsgate to direct a film adaptation with Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connolly and Dakota Fanning in the lead roles. But for whatever reason Noyce decided to bail on the project later that year, and in February ’15 it was announced that McGregor would direct instead. David Strathairn, Peter Riegert, Corey Stoll and Rupert Evans were added to the cast.
I’m guessing that Pastoral will play Telluride and/or Toronto before debuting in late October.