The first trailer for Ewan McGregor’s adaptation of American Pastoral is here, giving us our first look at the film McGregor heroically rescued by deciding to just direct the damn thing himself. It actually doesn’t look that bad. There’s some really nice imagery in the trailer, and it’s doing a fair job of communicating the plot, at least in broad strokes. I’m not entirely sure, though, if you haven’t read the book whether or not all the pieces are clicking together. It’s focused on the daughter in distress and her father trying to track her down part, and that sort of makes it look like Taken 1964. Also, using a cover of “Mad World” is a little over the top—that song should be prohibited from use in trailers, like “All Along the Watchtower”, just for being too on the nose.
American Pastoral is Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut and it’s slated to be released in October, which is prime Oscar season real estate. I’m trying to think of an actress-turned-director whose first film was positioned so favorably and the only name coming to mind is Angelina Jolie. In the Land of Blood and Honey and Unbroken were both given award season releases. But she’s ANGELINA JOLIE. I like Ewan McGregor, but is he really the equivalent of Jolie? Or is it that, professionally speaking, Angelina Jolie is exceptional and Ewan McGregor is reasonable and that’s seen as the same thing? Maybe I’m being oversensitive. But if, say, Amy Adams was in a movie that fell apart in development, would she get to step in to direct and thus save it, and would her finished film then be given a serious award season push? Or would she be out of a job until they found a new director?