EXCLUSIVE: In a power pairing, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are in talks to star for The Weinstein Company in the bigscreen adaptation of the Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer and Tony-winning play August: Osage County. I hear Roberts and Streep have agreed to the project and they are now working out deals and locking a production start. John Wells will direct the film from a script written by the playwright. Production will start by next summer. Streep will play Violet, the drug-addicted matriarch of the working class Weston clan. Roberts will play Barbara Fordham, the oldest daughter in the family. While mom’s problems and her penchant for revealing family secrets is a big issue, Barbara is melting because her husband is cheating with a college student. They are brought together when Violet’s husband goes missing and all three of their daughters come home to rally around mom. In the process, a lot of family secrets get revealed. The film has been developed for several years by Harvey Weinstein, who was involved in the original stage production with Jean Doumanian. They will produce the film together. They brought it to Wells, who started a relationship with Weinstein when TWC acquired his feature directing debut, The Company Men. The corporate downsizing drama stars Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Maria Bello and TWC releases it October 22.
It is the latest in a surge of activity for TWC, which is suddenly very busy not only with acquisitions but homegrown fare. TWC came out of Toronto acquiring three films — Sarah’s Key, Submarine, and Dirty Girl — and also showed the Oscar-bait films The King’s Speech and Blue Valentine there. TWC is about to start production on I Don’t Know How She Does It, with Sarah Jessica Parker starring and Doug McGrath directing, and just wrapped the Hugh Jackman-starrer Butter.