The trailer for American Pastoral, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1997 novel, was released this past Friday. The film represents the directorial debut of Ewan McGregor, who also stars as Seymour “Swede” Levov. Jennifer Connelly plays his wife, Dawn. (Interestingly enough, this will be one of two Roth adaptations coming this year. Indignation, based on his 2008 novel of the same name, will be released in July.)
Set to a cover of “Mad World,” a haunting song that will never die, the trailer gives a little peek into the “indigenous American berserk” that Roth describes in the novel. A fluttering American flag precedes the singularly violent act at the center of the story, setting the stage for the dissolution of a marriage and of a country’s sense of stability. There’s a certain timeliness to American Pastoral now. In an America that seems to be longing for some idealized past, Roth’s story is about how there may have never really been one.
It’s been a long road to the screen for Roth’s novel, which has been in various stages of development since 2003. (It’s the first filmed adaptation of the novel.) This most recent iteration was originally slated to have Phillip Noyce at the helm, but he left the project last year, leading to McGregor’s hiring. Scored by Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and also starring Dakota Fanning as Merry Levov, American Pastoral is set to be released in October.
Jesse Bernstein is a former Intern at Tablet.