EXCLUSIVE: The movie version of “August: Osage County” already has a heavyweight pedigree in Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, who are playing the two lead roles in the adaptation of the Broadway drama.
Now the film’s credits are getting even glitzier. George Clooney has joined the movie as a producer, according to a person familiar with the project who was not authorized to talk about it publicly.
Clooney and producing partner Grant Heslov will produce the film, which is being directed by John Wells and financed and distributed by The Weinstein Co. The A-list actor-filmmaker, who has a relationship with Wells dating back to their “ER" days, will be heavily involved offering creative input. He is not expected to star.
A Weinstein Co. representative was not immediately available for comment.
The movie -- which is also being produced by Steve Traxler and initial Broadway producer Jean Doumanian -- is set to begin shooting in the fall for a potential 2013 release.
Tracy Letts’ black comedy about a few weeks in the lives of a dysfunctional Oklahoma family centers on Violet Weston (Streep), a drug-addled matriarch who doles out barbs and truths, as well as a motley crew of family members, particularly oldest daughter Barbara (Roberts), a control-freak professor who finds her life falling apart. When it was first staged several years ago, it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, a Tony and a Drama Desk award.
Deanna Dunagan and Amy Morton incarnated the Violet and Barbara roles, respectively, on both Broadway and the West End; Estelle Parsons and Shannon Cochran played the parts when the show came to Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre.
Letts is adapting his own play for the screen. The male actors have yet to be cast in the movie.
Clooney is making a habit of bringing serious plays to the big screen. Last year he was the driving creative force behind the film adaptation of Beau Willimon’s political stage drama “The Ides of March.”
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: 'August, Osage County' at the Ahmanson. Credit: Los Angeles Times