Ewan McGregor will reportedly direct as well as star in 'American Pastoral'

'Pastoral' is based on the book of the same name by Philip Roth. This will be McGregor's debut as a director for a feature film.

Jim Urquhart/Reuters
Ewan McGregor attends the premiere of 'Last Days in the Desert' at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Actor Ewan McGregor will reportedly star in and direct a movie adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel “American Pastoral.”

According to Deadline, McGregor will star in the movie with “Noah” actress Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning of “Effie Gray.” McGregor is portraying Swede Levov, who inherits his family's factory and was a high school athletic star. Connelly is portraying Swede’s wife, Dawn, while Fanning is playing his daughter Merry, who becomes a troubled teenager. 

“Pastoral” won the Pulitzer Prize. Upon its release, Monitor writer Joanna Angelides called the book an “engagingly ironic but overanalyzed look at what can go wrong for a man who tries to do things right.”

Phillip Noyce of "Salt" was set to direct the movie, according to Deadline, but has departed the project. This will be McGregor’s directorial debut for a feature-length movie. 

McGregor has recently starred in such films as “Mortdecai,” “August: Osage County,” and “Jack the Giant Slayer.” He has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical twice, once for the 2001 movie “Moulin Rouge!” and again for the 2011 film “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” He also appeared in the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy and starred in such movies as the 1996 film “Trainspotting” and 2003’s “Big Fish.” 

Roth is also the author of such works as “Portnoy’s Complaint,” “The Plot Against America,” and “Goodbye, Columbus.” A film based on his book “The Humbling” stars Al Pacino and was released this past January. The author said in 2012 that he was retiring and told a New York Times reporter in 2014 that a reading he did was “absolutely the last appearance I will make on any public stage, anywhere.” He was the subject of a documentary titled "Philip Roth: Unmasked," which was released in 2013. 

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