Steven Spielberg And A24 Developing NYT Best-Seller, ‘The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store’

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment is collaborating with A24 to bring James McBride’s (The Color of Water, The Good Lord Bird) bestselling 2023 book, The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, to the screen. According to Deadline, the adaptation is currently in the early stages of planning, with Spielberg reportedly producing it.

So far, A24 has not issued any statements about the new adaptation. While Spielberg is primarily known for his directorial roles in blockbuster hits such as Jaws and Jurassic Park, he will be taking the reins as a producer this time.

The book takes place in the year 1972, centring around the Chicken Hill neighbourhood in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, a place where immigrant Jews and African Americans coexist. The story is told through the lives of its residents, revealing the hidden layers of the community as it grapples with the uncovering of a skeleton in a well. Themes surrounding those on the fringes of mainstream American society are explored in the novel. 

In addition to making former U.S. President Obama’s list of favourite books for 2023, The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store has been highlighted by major publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post as a “Must Read for the Summer.”

Best known for his memoir The Color of Water, James McBride has had his works taken to the big screen in the past. His debut book, Miracle at St. Anna, was turned into a film by Spike Lee (Inside Man, Da 5 Bloods) in 2008, with McBride himself writing the screenplay. The Good Lord Bird, for which he won the 2013 National Book Award for fiction, was also adapted into a limited series on Showtime with Ethan Hawke (The Coast of Utopia, Moon Knight) playing the lead role.

Spielberg’s latest production efforts include his role as an executive producer on Netflix’s Life on Our Planet, a 2023 nature-focused documentary series, and Apple’s Masters of the Air. He will also make his return to science fiction with a new UFO-themed project, working with Jurassic Park screenwriter David Koepp (Premium Rush, Mortdecai). However, details regarding this upcoming project remain under wraps with no release date.