Ewan McGregor set for directing debut on 'American Pastoral'

Ewan McGregor will make his directing debut on an adaptation of Philip Roth's 'American Pastoral'

Actor Ewan McGregor has a new role lined up for himself: director.

The 43-year-old Scotsman will make his feature directorial debut on a long-gestating adaptation of Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize winner "American Pastoral," Lakeshore Entertainment announced Wednesday.

McGregor was set to star opposite Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning in the film, which features a screenplay by John Romano ("The Lincoln Lawyer"). Phillip Noyce ("Salt," "The Giver") had been attached to direct; Lakeshore offered no explanation as to why Noyce is no longer on the project.

Filming is scheduled to start in September in Pittsburgh.

In front of the camera, McGregor will play Seymour "Swede" Levov, a former high school athletic star who grows up to marry a beauty queen and inherits his father's business, only to see his family life thrown into chaos by the political upheavals of the late 1960s.

McGregor has long alternated between edgy indie fare and mainstream entertainments. He recently appeared in a Broadway revival of Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing," the Johnny Depp bomb "Mortdecai" and Rodrigo Garcia's Sundance film "Last Days in the Desert," in which he plays both Jesus and the Devil.

"I've wanted to direct for years and wanted to wait until I found a story that I 'had' to tell," McGregor said in the announcement for "American Pastoral." "And in this script I knew I had found that story."

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