Most of us fell for Abigail Breslin's quirky charms in 2006 when she played the plucky Olive Hoover, who let her freak flag fly in the wild family comedy Little Miss Sunshine. Since then we've not only seen Breslin, who turns 16 next month, grow up; we've also seen her grow as an actress. In 2009 she played a smug, pint-sized con artist in the grisly horror-comedy Zombieland, and proved she's not a kid anymore by flashing her big girl bra—to the horror of Sarah Jessica Parker—in the sprawling rom-com New Year's Eve. And now, shortly after wrapping production on Gavin Hood's much-anticipated Ender's Game adaptation, Breslin has boarded the sure to be Oscar-courting ensemble piece August: Osage County.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, the film will star Meryl Streep as Barbara the pill-popping matriarch of the Weston family, an estranged clan drawn together after their drunken patriarch Beverly goes missing. While Chris Cooper is currently in talks to join the dark comedy that will be produced by George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Harvey Weinstein, reveals Breslin has committed to play Jean Fordham, Barbara's rebellious granddaughter. This role also guarantees Breslin will share screentime with Julia Roberts, who has signed on to play Jean's mom (and Barbara's eldest daughter) who is struggling to connect with the sharp-tongued teen.

This is a major opportunity for Breslin to show what she can do with a more prestigious picture. I have no doubt this fearless ingénue will prove a shining scene partner for Streep and Roberts, but I'll be more interested to see how she tackles Jean's quirks. See, furious over her parents' divorce, the girl lashes out by smoking pot, talking back and being a vegetarian. It's all attributes that seem a given in a cranky teen role, so Breslin will have to be sure to bring her A-game lest she fall short, as her peer Chloe Moretz did, coming off as little more than a pissy brat in Tim Burton's Dark Shadows.

August: Osage County goes into production in Oklahoma this September.

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