Good luck untangling the twisted mess that is the family tree at the center of Tracy Letts’ soon-to-be-adapted play, August: Osage County. Of course, that’s all part of the story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning production, but it makes confirming casting notices for John Wells’ film version a real beast.
Letts’ play centers on the Weston family, led by patriarch Beverly Weston and his sick, pill-popping wife Violet. Set during the month of August in the Weston’s hometown of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, the play opens with a prologue that features Beverly as he attempts to hire a nurse for his, for lack of a better word, cracked out wife (to be played by Meryl Streep). While that introduction might make it seem as if it’s Violet who will soon wither, Act One hits us with the hard truth – Beverly has committed suicide, leaving Violet alone to deal with his death and the rest of their family. They are not a happy family. And they have much bigger issues to deal with than just one measly suicide.
Most of the conflict of August: Osage County is between the various Weston women – especially between Violet and her eldest daughter, Barbara Fordham (Julia Roberts) – but there are two other Weston girls to cast, and it’s now been revealed that rising star Andrea Riseborough will be one of them.
The Daily Mail reports (via The Playlist) that Riseborough is in final negotiations to play the youngest Weston daughter, Karen. For all the complications that play out in August, Karen has what might be the most straightforward story – she’s newly engaged to a sleazeball named Steve, and she’s too doped up on the possibility of unhappiness to notice anything else that’s going on.
Which is convenient for her, because everything else in August is insane, sometimes distasteful, and overwhelmingly dramatic.
To the end, Variety reports that the production has snared yet another actor capable of projecting all those emotions – Chris Cooper. The outlet reports that Cooper is in negotiations for the film, where he would play Violet’s brother-in-law, Charlie Aiken. Charlie is at the center of one of August’s most eye-popping and heart-wrenching storylines – married to Violet’s sister, Mattie Fae (who is just as much a pill as Violet), Charlie lives under the delusion that most of the other characters also believe, that Mattie Fae’s son, Little Charlie, is his son. You can’t blame the guy, right? But, if you’re familiar with Letts’ play, you know full well that Little Charlie is not really an Aiken, and you also know just how horrific the consequences of the secret of his parentage are.
It’s a feel-good, people!
The film is set to start filming in September.