Noyce! Ewan McGregor Set to Direct “American Pastoral” as Phillip Noyce Quits


Hey, I know we’ve been talking a lot about comic book movies and the like recently, filling your feed with casting picks and character rumours for all manner of graphic novel glamour. So let’s turn the lights down a little, whack on some Warren Zevon and talk about something a little more serious –  don’t worry, this is in no way Oscar related. Well, not yet anyway.

It’s been reported by Deadline that the directorial glove for long awaited adaptation American Pastoral has officially changed hands. Director Phillip Noyce of Salt fame has long been connected to the translation of the novel by Philip Roth to the big screen – and when I say long, I’m talking a decade or so. Now the word is that Royce has left the project altogether and has been replaced by Ewan McGregor. The star of Star Wars episodes 1-3 (that’s right, I went there) was already attached to star in the film, so he’s all set to be twice as busy as usual.

McGregor in "Moulin Rouge"...OK I'm lying.
McGregor in “Moulin Rouge”…OK I’m lying.

For those who aren’t Roth-heads (proper collective term), American Pastoral is the story of Jewish businessman Seymour “Swede” Levov and his wife and daughter, and how their lives and perceptions are transformed by the wave of social and political upheaval in America during the 1960’s. The novel was released in 1997 and won a publisher prize in the field of very very good books. McGregor will take in the role of Swede, with Jennifer Connelly playing his former beauty queen wife Dawn Levov and Dakota Fanning as their daughter Merry.

Production is set to begin this September in Pittsburgh, so it’ll be a treat to see a project so tirelessly pitched and played with seeing the cold light of day. The only question is whether or not McGregor is up to the task of directing. This will be the actor’s directorial debut, and a big adaptation like American Pastoral can be a poisoned chalice to a newbie. But with a solid enough script he should hopefully have enough experience under his belt to pull it off. We shall see – God speed McGregor!

With any luck we’ll be hearing more about this project as production gets going later this year.

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