I saw “August: Osage County” on Broadway back in 2008, I think it was, and like most who saw Tracy Letts’ dissection of an Oklahoma family, I was moved and caught under the spell of a playwright at the top of his craft. A film adaptation was inevitable, and a stellar cast was, too. That’s what we’re getting later this year in the form of John Wells’ take on the material, a film that will no doubt be a fixture in the awards season with the Oscar-savvy Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood golden boy George Clooney leading the charge.
Of that cast, most eyes are aimed toward Meryl Streep, who indeed has the meatiest role in the form of matriarch Violet Weston. Julia Roberts will be in that Best Actress discussion, too, should they pitch both performances in the category). Though I also think, given the play, we might want to keep an eye on Margo Martindale, too, a character actress who has come into her own and could really sink her teeth into this role. However, I also like how the film is part of a narrative for two actors who are having a stellar year: Benedict Cumberbatch and Sam Shepard.
Cumberbatch is absolutely outstanding as the villain in “Star Trek Into Darkness” with upcoming work in Steve McQueen’s “Twelve Years a Slave” and Bill Condon’s “The Fifth Estate” (as embattled) WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange) besides. Meanwhile, Shepard offered up one of his most significant performances in a while in Jeff Nichols’ “Mud” and has another one on the way in Scott Cooper’s “Out of the Furnace.” I have no doubt they’ll be a big part of what makes “August” tick.
To whet the appetite in advance of the awards season (which is still mercifully four or five months away, depending on how you gauge its start), a trailer for “August: Osage County” has been released. Check it out below and tell us what you think in the comments section.