Jennifer Lawrence and Gary Ross Head to “East of Eden” and “Burial Rights”

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Jennifer Lawrence, also known as your imaginary best friend, and her previous “Hunger Games” director Gary Ross, have signed on to the big screen adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel, “East of Eden.” Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer are developing the adaptation with plans for Lawrence to shoot following production on the two-film The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

The literary classic, “East of Eden” was first published in 1952. It is a retelling of the Cain and Abel story set in California’s Salinas Valley. Lawrence would play the book’s chief antagonist, Cathy Ames, the mother of brothers Caleb and Aron Trask. The Ames role won Jo Van Fleet an Academy Award for Elia Kazan 1955 adaptation. It follows the intricate lives of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories.

Lawrence and Ross are also reported to be in the early stages of working together for another book turned movie adaptation for Hannah Kent’s “Burial Rites.” The novel was published earlier this year and is officially described as follows:

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jón Jónsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes.

Only Tóti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes’s spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul.

As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’s ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she or didn’t she?

The film has not found a studio just yet but is planning for Lawrence to play the Magnúsdóttir role while Ross serves as director.

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