The film adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel American Pastoral has undergone some upheaval during its development. First Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly were going to star as the central couple, then Bettany dropped out and was replaced by Ewan McGregor—but Connelly stuck around (does that make for weird dinner conversation at home?). The project has also cycled through a few directors since getting off the ground a couple years ago. First it was going to be directed by Fisher Stevens (aka The Plague—hack the planet!), then Phillip Noyce stepped in, then Phillip Noyce stepped out, and now McGregor will direct himself by directing himself.
This will be McGregor’s directorial debut because while Angelina Jolie has to beg for a chance to direct a film, any actor can snap his fingers and get a gig (see also: Bateman, Jason; Evans, Chris; Gordon-Levitt, Joseph; Gosling, Ryan; you get the idea). Which is not really fair to McGregor, in particular, but it does seem like we’ve heard this story a number of times recently—a project is just about to fall apart when, dun-da-da-dunnn, the actor steps in to save it by heroically directing himself! I just hope McGregor proves to be closer to the Clint Eastwood/Ben Affleck end of the “actors directing themselves” spectrum than the JGL end. Goddamn Don Jon is intolerable.