August: Osage County pulled from Christmas release. Here’s the new date

The release date for the highly anticipated film adaptation of August: Osage County has been changed.  The dark comedy about the highly dysfunctional Weston clan assembling in rural Oklahoma was due to be released nationwide on Christmas Day.  The update plan calls for the film to be released in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, December 27th (need to become eligible for those 2014 Academy Awards) and elsewhere two weeks later on January 10, 2014.

augustfilm1August: Osage County won both a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Tracy Letts, who adapted his play for the film (and who recently has been seen on the Showtime series Homeland as a Senator named to become the new CIA Director).  The opportunity to appear in such an admired piece of award bait attracted the proverbial all-star cast led by Meryl Streep as family matriarch Violet Weston and Julia Roberts as her oldest daughter Barbara.

Sam Shepard portrays Violet’s husband Beverly who has gone missing, the cause for reassembling the full damaged clan.  Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis star as the two younger Weston daughters.  Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Abigail Breslin, and Benedict Cumberbatch are some of the other famous actors who signed on for this prestige project.

Harvey Weinstein, one of the film’s producers, has stated that they want to keep this film from getting lost in the dozen or so other films looking for success with a Christmas release.  He believes that an artistic film like August: Osage County would fare better with a quieter and less crowded January release.

Many theatre fans have been eagerly awaiting a film version of the acclaimed play since its debut by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago in 2007.  It later ran on Broadway for 648 performances from the fall of2007 through the summer of 2009.  The Broadway production was nominated for seven Tony Awards and won five, including Best Play for Tracy Letts, Best Actress for Deanna Dugan as Violet, and Best Featured Actress for Rondi Reed as Mattie Fae Aiken, Violet’s sister.

Washington, DC theatre fans had the chance to enjoy August: Osage County at the Kennedy Center in the fall of 2009 during its first national tour and the acclaimed local production by Keegan Theatre in the summer of 2012.  A review by Tim Treanor of the Keegan Theatre production praised the play’s truthfulness, which serves as ”the source of both the searing drama and the scalding comedy.”

Here’s the preview:

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