Marissa Higgins
September 01, 2016 1:55 pm
C Flanigan/Getty Images

It appears that James Franco has chosen actress Selena Gomez to play a mom in his upcoming film, In Dubious Battle. While this collectively shocked fans everywhere – given that Gomez is only 24 years old IRL (and because we still picture her as a tween Disney star, tbh).

Yet, when we take into consideration the basis of the film and the specific character she is portraying, it makes a little more sense.

The In Dubious Battle film is based on a novel by John Steinbeck, which is actually part of the trilogy series that includes The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. That’s right: To fully enjoy this new Gomez and Franco film, you might have to brush up on your high school literature courses (or just read Sparknotes – we won’t tell on you).

As you can see in the trailer above, the film is set during the Great Depression. This setting and time significantly matters in terms of the plot of the book (and presumably, the movie as well).

In In Dubious Battle, Gomez portrays the pregnant daughter of a migrant worker who goes on strike during the Great Depression. Given that we’re stepping back pretty far in time, it makes sense to have a younger actress play the role of a new mom, given that many people gave birth and became parents as teenagers during that period.

As initially surprising as this casting decision is, we have to admit, we’re pretty darn excited to see this film when it premieres! Maybe even excited enough to break out our notes from English class…

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