Pulitzer-Winning Play Heads For The Screen

By Katey Rich 2008-11-11 11:55:50discussion comments
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Normally a planned film adaptation of an excellent play is a moment to cringe- of course they'll ruin it! Of course they'll take away all the artistic integrity! But August: Osage County, which won this year's Pulitzer and Tony award for best play, is so friggin' good by any measure, that even Brett Ratner might not be able to screw it up.

OK, I take it back-- please don't let Brett Ratner near this play. But I'm betting Harvey Weinstein, who has acquired the worldwide film rights to Tracy Letts' play with his Weinstein Co., knows better than that anyway. The Hollywood Reporter says Weinstein is planning a 2011 release, and as was reported this summer, Letts is already working on a screenplay version of his three-hour play.

The beauty of August: Osage County is that it's not inherently theatrical, and doesn't rely on the stage presence of key actors or theatrical tricks to work. It's just really, really good, a story about a dysfunctional family that soars way, way over the usual confines of that tired genre. The whole play takes place within the rambling Oklahoma house where the main characters grew up, but there's plenty of room to move scenes outdoors or in other places to open things up. And the play's most explosive and exciting moments are such acting tours-de-force, with the right actors it would be impossible for film to mess it up.

When I saw August: Osage County a few weeks ago, I found myself instantly wanting to see it again, relive scenes from a new angle and have the time to pay attention to another character (the cast is enormous, which will make for an even better movie). A well-done movie version will give me exactly the opportunity I was looking for. It's probably foolish to look so forward to something that doesn't even have a director, but August: Osage County is one adaptation I can get 100% behind.
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