This morning I asked some people I know about the fate of the long-gestating film version of August: Osage County, the Puitzer- and Tony Award-wnning drama by Tracy Letts. Producers Harvey Weinstein and Jean Doumanian have, I gather, been trying to assemble a film version with director John Wells (The Company Men), but nothing seems to be happening with it, “seems” being the operative term.

I don’t know anything firm, but I haven’t heard a damn thing for months and that always means something. My insect antennnae tells me it’s a flounder on the beach, gasping for air.

Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were reportedly in talks to costar as of September 2010, but a rumor began circulating last spring that they’d both bailed. I never called around about this. There was an assumption all along was that the August: Osage County film would be made in time for release in late 2012, and now, it appears, that’s not being forecast.

Every time I run into Doumanian I’ve asked “so why is it taking you guys so long to get this movie underway? Why has it taken Letts so damn long to adapt his play into a shootable screenplay? It’s a great, award-winning masterwork…how much finagling could it need?” And she always gave me the same answer about how it takes a long time to get it right, etc. Yeah, okay, but not that long.

The play ran slightly more than three hours — I realize that — and so it needs to be brought down to 120 to 130 minutes or 140 minutes at the max so as not to alienate the ADD crowd.

But it just seems nuts that Doumanian and Wells and Weinstein would allow this project, which seems to SCREAM “year-end Oscar contender,” to take so long to come together and flop around so long that Streep and Roberts may have (according to that months-old rumor) bailed. A producer friend says he’s heard so little over such a long timespan that he’s assuming it’s dead, but can anyone tell me anything specific?