New trailer is a first peek at ‘August: Osage County’ movie

Today, we are reminded of these universal truths: “Life is very long” (T.S. Eliot). “Family holds us up….Family knocks us down.” And Meryl Streep is poised for a 2013 Oscar.

The trailer for “August: Osage County,” based on Tracy Letts’ 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, is out Friday.

The film, directed by John Wells, centers on a dysfunctional Oklahoma family whose drug-addicted matriarch, Streep, is dying of mouth cancer. The 2-1/2-minute trailer is shot through with the kind of “Streepian” moments – lines delivered with precision and laden with subtext – that have brought the actress 17 Oscar nominations and three Oscar wins so far.

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The film, distributed by the Weinstein Co., is packed with other star power as well: Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Sam Shepard, Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch. If it’s anything like the trailer, it will be gorgeous, richly toned, idiosyncratic and emotional.

Letts’ play premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre in June 2007. It hit Broadway in December of that year, playing at the Imperial Theater and later, the Music Box Theatre in the spring of 2008.

When “August: Osage County” played at the Ahamson Theater in 2009, Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote: “The play’s pedigree could be expanded in ways both high and low, but ‘August’ brews its own distinctive mix of tragicomic gravitas and florid pop.”

Letts was born and raised in Oklahoma. He spent more than a decade at Chicago’s Steppenwolf and was also a founding member of Bang Bang Spontaneous Theatre.

As an actor, Letts was most recently nominated for a best actor Tony Award for Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid if Virginia Woolf,” directed by Pam MacKinnon.


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