So my 12.23 post about the Weinstein Co.’s planned adaptation of Tracy Letts‘August Osage County possibly being in limbo with presumed costars Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts having flown the coop does not reflect how things really are, I’m pleased to report.
Deadline‘s Pete Hammond wrote a day or so ago that “the Weinstein Company’s David Glasser [says that] the long-awaited screen version of August, Osage County should be getting underway around September as both Streep’s and Roberts’ schedules seem to be clearing for then. John Wells is going to direct and Glasser said the script by playwright Tracy Letts is fantastic. Another Weinstein Oscar contender for 2013?”
So a 2007 play is going to finally hit screens in 2013…maybe. But a little voice is telling me that the Weinsteiners might have waited too long.
Because of the delicate and always volatile shifting of the zeitgeist and the general reordering of things that happens on a continuing cosmic basis, the right kind of film adaptation of a Broadway play always hits screens within three to four years (like Mike Nichols‘ 1966 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff arriving four years after the original Broadway play). If the movie version arrives five or six or seven years later something is always lost on some vague level. The things in the cultural ether that led to the writing of the original play have dissipated and floated away like pollen, or have otherwise been transformed.
I was sitting in an an orchestra seat on opening night of the 1984 Broadway production of David Mamet‘s Glengarry Glen Ross, and I can tell you it was electric and vital as blood — a play about rapacious greed just as the Reagan era Wall Street boom was kicking in. It had no fucking steak knives and it was fucking perfect. But the Al Pacino-Jack Lemmon-Alec Baldwin movie adaptation didn’t come out until 1992, at the dawn of the Clinton era. It’s a fairly good film and will always be an excellent play, but too many years had passed. The sands had shifted and it just wasn’t the same. You should’ve been there with me for that 1984 Glengarry debut. People were levitating out of their seats.