Former Focus Head James Schamus to Adapt Philip Roth’s Indignation


As the CEO of Focus Features for nearly ten years, James Schamus was responsible for releasing some of the most acclaimed and noteworthy films during that period, including movies like Lost in Translation, Milk and Brokeback Mountain. Even before then, he had established himself as a screenwriter and producer for many of Ang Lee’s films, including the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and co-produced many of Focus Features Oscar-nominated films.

Now, Schamus is going to give a go at directing, as he adapts Philip Roth’s 2008 novel Indignation, a period piece set in 1951 Newark, New Jersey about a young man named Marcus Messner who goes to Ohio to study at a conservative college where he experiences sexual repression and anti-Semitism.

Produced with Anthony Bregman of Likely Story, the hope is to start filming in New York in the summer of 2015.

In the press release, James Schamus said, “Marcus Messner is an extraordinary character, heartbreakingly open and alive, and Anthony Bregman is an extraordinary producer, heartstoppingly economical; bringing them together for my first feature as a director is as felicitous a match as I could ever hope for.”

Producer Anthony Bregman added, “It’s been two decades since I met and first started working with James, and I’ve noticed that he’s still figuring out what he wants to be when he grows up. But in the process, he’s used his boundless creative energy to build two landmark companies, produce dozens of visionary films, and write brilliant, acclaimed screenplays. His adaptation of Philip Roth’s powerful novel is a delight on its own, and his new shift to directing is a tantalizing prospect for anybody who loves movies.”

Both Schamus and Bregman have an impressive filmography from their respective years as filmmakers with one of their previous collaborations being Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.

(Photo Credit: FayesVision/