Last night Meryl Streep and the cast of “August: Osage County” did two Q & As back to back for the film. You can see the public one here. It’s very amusing. Streep admits that playing Violet Westin in the Pulitzer Prize winning drama “was not an easy thing to say yes to.”

Streep is a heavy candidate for Best Actress. Her performance is a tour de force. She is mesmerizing. There are other terrific Oscar possible performances from Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper and Julia Roberts. John Wells has done a masterful job with Tracy Letts’s play and screenplay. And yes, the ending has been tweaked since the version I saw in Toronto. It ends on a clearer note. At last night’s screening I was able to watch things from different angles, that’s the benefit of multiple viewings. Julia Roberts was even better than I thought last time. And Margo Martindale is deep, deep, deep.

Interesting: Meryl had never met Sam Shepard before, which seems hard to believe considering Shepard’s long playwright history off Broadway in New York, his marriage to Streep’s peer Jessica Lange, and so on. “I was so thrilled [he] was cast in this part. And when I met him I was hairless, toothless. And he looked at me just the way he was supposed to, with complete revulsion. It sort of broke my heart and really made me mad. It was fuel for the rest of the thing.

Streep concedes of Violet: “This is a very theatrical person. A person who has no lid on her instinct. There was a great liberation in that character.”

She added: “I have tended toward some bossy characters lately. Maybe that comes with age. I’m noticing a trend…”

 

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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