Oct 07
2013

The cast of August: Osage County will receive the Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards, the first awards show of the 2013 season, on Oct. 21 at the Beverly Hilton, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. John Wells’ big-screen adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Tony- and Puliter Prize-winning play features a star-studded cast, including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard and Misty Upham. August’s producers include George Clooney and Grant Heslov, who also produced last year’s best picture Oscar winner, Argo. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

Sep 15
2013

Over the past days, lots of news blips have been released for “August: Osage County”, “Into the Woods” and “The Giver”. First, the Los Angeles Times has interviews director John Wells and broke the news that the ending of the film might be changed for its theatrical release. Be aware that the article spoils both the original ending and the alternative one, so better not read it if you want to see the film un-spoiled (article here). Then, there’s an interview with Harvey Weinstein by The Daily Beast, in which he talks about the process of shooting “August: Osage County” and Meryl in particular.

The process of August: Osage County is an interesting one […] I started reading it and it was the most incredible dialogue I’d read in a long time, up there with Tennessee Williams. These people were desperate for money, and I think it was $500,000 or something… I wrote the check. The play went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and was a financial success at the box office, and they kept their word and sold us the rights to make it a movie. George Clooney was our biggest competitor, so I thought it was only fair that George produce the movie. Off-set, the cast loved each other. Meryl’s process is one of the most interesting ones. In order to do this role correctly, she was at Costco at two o’clock in the morning shopping like a homeless person. She becomes the role. She lives it. She is it. This is my sixth movie with her, and we’re about to do a seventh, and an eighth.

That being said, with the seventh and eighth film, Weinstein means “Into the Woods” as well as the upcoming “The Giver”, which will both be distributed by the Weinstein Co. BroadwayWorld reports that the first week of shooting in Pinewood Studios has been wrapped and relies on various cast member’s tweets (that’s how news are done today ;-): Filming on the first week of shooting for Rob Marshall’s eagerly awaited stage-to-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s celebrated fairy tale-themed musical “Into the Woods” starring Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp is now complete and the soundtrack is already nearing completion according to Tweets by cast-members shared this week.

And Deadline has some casting news on “The Giver”: The Weinstein Co.’s lit adaptation The Giver has added 16-year-old Odeya Rush to its cast. The actress, seen in Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green, joins Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Brenton Thwaites in the dystopian tale adapted from Lois Lowry’s novel about Jonas (Thwaites), a young man who is chosen to receive memories of life before emotion was wiped from society. Many thanks to Glenn for compiling these latest news.

Sep 12
2013

Days after the film’s world-premiere at the Torono International Film Festival, a second theatrical trailer for “August: Osage County” has been released. It features quite a few new scenes and gives each player a deserving spot. Head over to the video archive to watch the new trailer.

Surprisingly, this trailer is even a bit more lighthearted and cheerful than the first one. Given the film’s darker theme and dysfunctional family setting, one would have guessed a darker trailer as well. Additionally, the new scenes from the trailer have been capped an added to the image library. Since they’re added to the already existing screencaptures album, the new additions start on page three.

Sep 10
2013

The bad news first: Meryl Streep was a no-show at yesterday’s world-premiere of “August: Osage County” at the Toronto International Film Festival. But there are two good news as well. First, the Weinstein Company has put Meryl back in the Best Actress Oscar race (she was previously mentioned to be considered in the supporting category). And second, in the wake of TIFF’s reviews and news on the premiere, new pictures from the film have been released as well.

The reviews range from positive to mixed, but so far everyone seems to agree on Meryl mastering another meaty role. A selection of reviews is below, with many thanks to Glenn for collecting them.

The Hollywood Reporter (September 20, 2013) David Rooney

As Vi, Streep is every bit as mercurial, ferocious and funny as one would expect. Slapping on a brunette wig over a sparse crop of gray when she can be bothered, she careens from needling attacks to sneaky insinuations, from drugged-out incoherence to puddles of self-pity, often punctuating those shifts with a vulgar snort of a laugh. However, like her work in another recent screen adaptation of a Broadway hit, Doubt, she hits all her marks with brilliant technique but brings no element of surprise. As good as Streep is, the chewy part actually might have benefited from a left-field casting choice.

The Guardian (September 10, 2013) Catherine Shoard

Violet is a queen bitch with only the tiniest of chinks, a hybrid of Streep’s imperious Thatcher, Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives and, in cuddlier moments, Ricky Tomlinson in The Royle Family. Yet for all the sparks, the character can’t quite catch fire in these conditions. Such southern fried frankness might thrill those in the theatre but at the cinema we eat this sort of thing for breakfast.

The Telegraph (September 10, 2013) Tim Robey

A serial bully who fancies herself a “truth-teller”, Violet’s one of Streep’s most vituperative creations, pouring out a stream of invective so poisonous you wonder if the movie will ever quite recover, or succeed in topping it. With her badly chosen black wig and shades, she looks a little like Bob Dylan in a sour mood – there’s not much hair left beneath, because of the chemo she’s been taking to combat oral cancer, an ailment which seems the entirely natural product of letting your mouth emit a toxic spill every time you open it.

Cinema Blend (September 10, 2013) Sean O’Connell

Uniformly, the cast is fantastic, with Streep and Roberts serving as the expected scene-stealers. Streep, per usual, commands our attention. But it’s so much more than “here goes Streep again.” Every time she approaches a new role, she resembles a painter staring at a blank canvas, and she fills it with her inspiration. August is no different.

The Los Angeles Times (September 10, 2013) Glenn Whipp

“August: Osage County” might be the first movie to win more Oscar nominations than rave reviews. The movie, Tracy Letts’ adaptation of his Tony Award-winning play of family dysfunction and warfare, premiered Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival, earning an ovation from the audience (once the house lights were turned on to spotlight the cast members in attendance). Social media immediately lit up with Oscar buzz, which will happen when you have 17-time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep playing Violet, a pill-popping, cancer-stricken monster of a mother. The moment she stumbles on screen, face pale, hair shorn, voice slurred, you can picture academy members reflexively writing her name on their Oscar ballots. This is Acting.

The New York Post (September 10, 2013) Lou Lumenick

Meryl Streep rules as the mother of all dysfunctional screen moms in the long awaited screen adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play “August: Osage County,” which had its world premiere Monday night at the Toronto International Film Festival ahead of its U.S. opening on Christmas Day. Wearing a black fright wig that scarcely hides the ravages of her chemotherapy for mouth cancer, her matriarch Violet Weston — a profanity-spouting, boozing, pill-popping harridan — terrorizes her three daughters and other kin gathered in her crumbling Oklahoma mansion for the funeral supper following the burial of her long-suffering, alcoholic poet husband (Sam Shepard, who puts in a beautiful cameo appearance at the beginning).

London Evening Standard (September 10, 2013) David Sexton

John Wells (E.R., The West Wing, Shameless) has filmed an adaptation of this powerful play by Letts himself with a stellar cast. Meryl Streep is Violet Weston, the drug-addled, cancer-stricken but still horribly acute and malevolent mother of the family, giving an all-out performance, slurring voice and twisting features, worthy of Elizabeth Taylor in her heyday, if not a nightmarish Edith Evans. Sometimes you think of a crazed Mrs T too. It’s all too easy to imagine this monster being diced up into telling little clips in the awards season.

Sep 07
2013

As “August: Osage County” premieres next week at the Toronto International Film Festival, Benedict Cumberbatch is already there, promoting his other festival entry “The Fifth Estate”, in which he plays Julian Assange. In “August”, Cumberbatch has a supporting part as “Little” Charles – a role he says he was ready “to kill” for because of his love for the play and his admiration for the cast. “That was an amazing [dinner] table to sit around, with Meryl, because all of us were in awe,” he recalled at a panel discussion on Friday. “We just kind of forgot to act in character because we were in astonishment.” In fact, after watching Streep perform one particularly inspiring scene, he could not help but ask her for some advice.

I was about to do this movie,” the British actor explained, referring to The Fifth Estate, in which he portrays WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. “I said, ‘Where do you start [with a character], because I was about to start with [Assange], and obviously I am not Australian. I do not have the same speech pattern as him, or the physical attributes. . . . She was doing this incredible tour de force, playing someone with esophageal cancer who is high on drugs, downers, who is getting drunk at her husband’s wake, who is turning vulnerable into attack into lost into knowing into sexy vampy. The gear shifts were sublime, and I just wondered how she was playing this orchestra of a performance.” Gobsmacked, he asked, “‘Chicken and egg, cart and horse; what [came first with that scene]?’ And she said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t really remember. This was different. This sort of all came at once. What about with you?’” “I said, ‘The fuck if I know.’”

August: Osage County premieres in limited release on Christmas Day in the U.S. Meryl Streep’s latest Oscar campaign, we imagine, will begin soon thereafter. The article was originally posted by Vanity Fair.

Aug 28
2013

Courtesy Entertainmnent Weekly‘s Fall Preview: Bartesville, Okla., rests on the edge of Osage County, carved by the broad, flat Caney River. It’s a pretty city, clean and polite, and for a brief time last fall, it was home to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, who all lived together (at Meryl Streep’s suggestion) in a new condo complex tucked behind a car dealership. “I’s step out on my little patio and look over and ‘Oh, there’s Meryl,'” Julia Roberts says, laughing. “I’d look to my left and there’s Ewan McGregor. Someone would say, ‘So, anybody want to run some lines?'” “August: Osage County”, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play by Tracy Letts, is about a family swirling in a dust storm of dysfunction. The matriarch, Violet Weston (Streep), staggers around a sprawling house in rural Oklahoma, smoking, suffering from mouth cancer, and popping Percocet like peppermints. When her husband (Sam Shepard) vanishes one day, her daughters and their families return to provide support.

Aug 20
2013

The Toronto International Film Festival is rolling out the red carpet for the slew of stars scheduled to attend next month’s extravaganza. Hollywood heavyweights Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Hugh Jackman will all appear during the 38th annual film festival from Sept. 5 to 15, organizers said Tuesday, and they’ll be joined by homegrown talent like Taylor Kitsch, Mike Myers and Bruce McDonald. The world-premiere of “August: Osage County” takes place on September 09, 2013. Here’s some more buzz from the festival’s website: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts has spent the past two decades telling stories that are audacious and inventive, hilarious and harrowing, deeply disturbing and, in their own wicked way, heartfelt. When the movies finally discovered Letts a few years back, they brought his singularly bleak and insightful vision of the American family to a broader audience. Bug and the highly controversial Killer Joe, both directed by William Friedkin, were pitched so as to incite maximum discomfort. The star-studded August: Osage County, based on the play for which Letts received the Pulitzer as well as a Tony Award, is no less bracing a tale of life, death, and familial strife, but let’s just say it’s a crowd-pleaser by comparison – and one of this year’s must-see films.

Aug 13
2013

GoldDerby has posted some surprising details for the 2014 awards season. Two years after winning Best Actress for “The Iron Lady,” Streep has agreed to drop down to the supporting race for her role as Violet, the pill-popping, booze-swilling momma in “August: Osage County,” a Weinstein Company source tells Gold Derby. That means Streep will compete against Oprah as the hooch-guzzling wife of the title star of “The Butler,” which is also a Weinstein flick. Hmmm … what is Harvey thinking? Streep’s move is a shockeroo considering that role won Best Actress at the 2008 Tony Awards when Deanna Dunagan performed it on Broadway. Dunagan beat her costar Amy Morton, who portrayed Violet’s frazzled daughter Barbara. Now Julia Roberts, in the role of Barbara on screen, seems to have a clearer shot at a Best Actress victory without risking a split of “August” votes in that category. Streep’s gracious move may be good news for Roberts, but it’s rotten luck for “August” costar Margo Martindale, who portrays the role of Violet’s sister Mattie, which won the Tony Award for Best Featured (or Supporting) Actress for Rondi Reed on stage. Now past Emmy champ Martindale (“Justified”) must not only face off against Oprah, but Streep, too. Let’s see if they don’t change their mind once award season comes closer. Thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

Jul 23
2013

John Wells’ “August: Osage County”, the film adaptation of Tracy Lett’s Tony Award-winning play, will make its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF organizers announced this morning. Starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Margo Martingdale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard and Ewan McGregor, the drama hits theaters on Christmas Day 2013. The film will see Streep and Roberts playing family matriarch Violet and her eldest daughter, respectively. This year’s TIFF opens on September 5 and runs through September 15. Many thanks to Frank for the heads-up.

Jun 21
2013

Just as we were reporting on “Into the Wood”‘s Christmas Day 2014 release, the Weinstein Company has a Christmas present for moviegoers as well – at least this sounds better news than saying that “August: Osage County” has been shifted a good month into December. According to The Wrap, The Weinstein Company on Thursday shifted the release date of one of its main awards hopefuls, “August: Osage County,” to Christmas Day. It had been scheduled to debut on November 8. Christmas is getting crowded. Also set to debut on that day are Universal’s Keanu Reeves action drama “47 Ronin,” Paramount’s Chris Pine-Keira Knightley action thriller “Jack Ryan” and the Fox comedy “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” Thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.