George Clooney takes over as producer on August: Osage County
George Clooney and producing partner Grant Heslov have signed on to bring the celebrated play AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY to the big screen for The Weinstein Company.
The film has already signed actresses Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts to star and John Wells (ER, SHAMELESS) is set to direct.
Plot: The action takes place over the course of several weeks in August inside the three-story home of Beverly and Violet Weston outside Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The play is reminiscent of Dumas' well-made play "Camille," centering as it does on the waning days of a sharp-tongued addicted dying woman who is surrounded by a large cast of eccentric lazy hangers-on revealed as various love-hate relationships unfold. The similarity is emphasized by links between the names of the main characters, "Violet" in Letts' play and "Violetta" in "La Traviata" (the opera made from Dumas' "Camille"). However, at the end of Letts' play, the man is dead and the woman lingers on.
The play won the Pulitzer Prize back in 2008 and has been performed both on Broadway and in the UK. It is a darkly comic film and will likely be a big Oscar contender if it is handled correctly.
Streep will play Violet Weston, the matriarch of the family who is addicted to several prescription drugs, mostly depressants and narcotics. After an ugly rant at Beverly's funeral dinner, the family's focus shifts to keeping her clean. Despite her drug-induced episodes, she is sharp-tongued and shrewd: she is aware of the family's many secrets and not hesitant to reveal them for her own benefit.
Roberts will likely play Barbara Fordham, the eldest daughter, and mother of Jean and wife of Bill, though they are currently separated. She is a college professor in Boulder, Colorado. She wants to save her marriage, but has the intense need to control everything around her as it falls apart.
No other cast has been announced and there is no word on whether or not Clooney will appear in the film. I hope he does take a role. Clooney is excellent at playing dark comedy and his turn in O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? should be held with some of the greatest comedy straight men of all time.