That reboot, announced more than three years ago with Tom Hooper and Imagine Entertainment, has been perpetually stuck in development. But Stewart still feels strongly that the Cain-and-Abel story -- of course originally brought to celluloid by Elia Kazan and James Dean in 1955 -- could use another go-round on the big screen.
"Obviously ‘East of Eden’ is a really great movie," Stewart told 24 Frames when asked what book she'd most like to see adapted to film. "But it’s the last chapter of the ... book."
The Kazan film focuses only on the latter sections of the novel, particularly the dysfunction and adventures of a pair of brothers in California’s Salinas Valley around the time of World War I. Stewart said that a new film could take the scope of Steinbeck's epic, which goes back a previous generation and even flashes back to the Civil War, and make a more faithful adaptation.
"That really is much more of a saga. It's so long; there is so much to take," she said.
The actress didn't say anything about starring as the Cathy/Kate character, as many KStew fans have been pulling for. (Cathy/Kate is the lead female character, a conniving and murderous operator who gets involved with several male characters.)
Stewart did, however, say she was relieved about the development progress of a different book that has struggled to make its way through Hollywood — John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces," to which Zach Galifianakis has just signed on as the bumblingly iconic Ignatius Reilly.
"Finally, they're going to get that made," she said, breathing a sigh of relief.
In addition to starring in a new spin on a Brothers Grimm tale with this weekend's "Snow White and the Huntsman," the Bella-fied one appears in another adaptation of a classic text -- "On the Road," the film version of the Jack Kerouac tome that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and opens in December.
Garrett Hedlund, one of her costars in that film, has strong feelings himself about a book that could use a big-screen treatment. In contrast to "East of Eden," however, this one is older, longer and more French.
“There’s something about ‘Swann’s Way,'" Hedlund said, alluding to the first volume in Marcel Proust’s seven-part opus “Remembrance of Things Past," "something so Gatsby-ish, so wackily period, with so much substance."
He addded, “One of the things I loved about Marcel Proust is just the writing style. There’s like three periods and 150 commas in the opening pages. It’s amazing.”
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Kristen Stewart at a screening of "Snow White and the Huntsman" in Los Angeles. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images