Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts lead cast of "August: Osage County" set to shoot in Oklahoma
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Friday, August 10, 2012
8/10/12 at 8:02 AM
Related story: Movie brings stars to film in Oklahoma.
Read the Tulsa World’s coverage of "August: Osage County."
Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and the other cast members of "August: Osage County" will be shooting their film in the Bartlesville and Pawhuska areas beginning next month.
The Oklahoma Film & Music Office and the Weinstein Co., the studio producing the movie based on Tulsa native Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play, said the production will run eight weeks and begin shooting in the area Sept. 24.
The wish of many Oklahomans is confirmed: "August: Osage County" will literally film in Osage County, as well as other areas, this fall.
"It starts shooting in late summer in a house they found in Pawhuska, Okla., that is absolutely perfect," Letts said last week in a Chicago Sun-Times story in which he was discussing "Killer Joe," his latest play-turned-into-movie project that is currently playing in some theaters. (It arrives in Tulsa in September.)
After a question-and-answer session on "Killer Joe," Letts offered this nugget to Chicago Tribune film writer Michael Phillips: His three-hour-plus play of "August: Osage County" will probably be a movie that's closer to two hours in length.
"It's been a fight, frankly, with the producers, including Harvey Weinstein, about the length of the film," Letts said. "I'm going to lose all these fights."
There was also a tidbit from a story in Wednesday's USA Today, in which Streep and Tommy Lee Jones were interviewed for their new movie "Hope Springs." Streep discusses filming in Bartlesville, and Jones borrows the Oscar-winner's iPad to look up mapping data on the area for her.
"You're approaching Cherokee Country and Tenkiller Lake," Jones tells Streep of her northeastern Oklahoma filming location.
An important factor in the decision to shoot in Oklahoma was likely the state tax rebate for which the production prequalified after its application was received Jan. 3.
The rebate is for as much as 37 percent of a film's in-state expenditures to those companies that qualify. The fund is capped at $5 million per year, and Jill Simpson, director of the Oklahoma Film & Music Office, previously said "August: Osage County" was the only film approved by the state agency this year.
Streep and Roberts, who have never acted together, will play mother and daughter in the film adaptation of "August: Osage County," in which the Weston family gathers at their ancestral home in rural Osage County when the patriarch goes missing.
The Oscar-winners were the first two performers cast to play members of the deeply dysfunctional Pawhuska family depicted in Letts' play.
Letts was born in Tulsa, and his mother, author Billie Letts, still lives here.
"August: Osage County" won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award as best play in 2008. The play took Broadway by storm and was almost immediately praised as one of the greatest American plays ever written.
The Weinstein Co. likely will plan a 2013 release for the film, which would seem to hold definite Academy Award prospects. Beyond the two leads, a number of award-winning actors have been added to the cast, including Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis and Margo Martindale.
The film will be directed by John Wells, the longtime TV producer of "ER" and "The West Wing," while the producers include George Clooney and Grant Heslov, whose company has produced Oscar nominees "Good Night and Good Luck" and "The Ides of March."
The studio, run by producer Harvey Weinstein, is well-known for its success with Oscar campaigning. The Weinstein Co. was the distributor of the last two Oscar-winners for best picture: "The Artist" in 2011 and "The King's Speech" in 2010.
"It is a great honor to be filming in such a scenic and culturally expansive state," said Dylan Sellers, president of production for the Weinstein Co. " 'August: Osage County' would not be possible without the generous support from the people of Oklahoma."
August: Osage County
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tulsa native Tracy Letts, the movie (with a screenplay written by Letts) revolves around the caustic atmosphere created in a rural Osage County home, where the deeply dysfunctional Weston brood has gathered after the patriarch disappears.
The cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Margo Martindale
The director: John Wells
The producers: Harvey Weinstein, George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Jean Doumanian, Steve Traxler
Original Print Headline: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts to lead cast of film in state
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
Meryl Streep (left) and Julia Roberts.