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Weinstein backs film adaptation of Broadway's 'August: Osage County'

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Augustosagecounty_lBack in (appropriately enough) August, when we heard that a film version of the hit play August: Osage County was in the works — penned by Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright Tracy Letts himself — we were so excited we practically choked on our catfish. Now we’ve learned that the Weinstein Company is backing the adaptation and aiming for a 2011 release. Harvey Weinstein has a long history with stage-to-screen projects. He’s one of the guys behind the now-filming musical Nine, which stars Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson. Among his other credits: the Oscar-winning musical Chicago and Jersey Girl, which featured that infamous Sweeney Todd sequence starring Ben Affleck as the Demon Barber. Harvey’s also been in on about a dozen Broadway shows, including a couple little moneymakers known as The Producers and The Color Purple.

Broadway’s been borrowing from Hollywood for years now (ahem, The Producers, The Color Purple) — so is Hollywood finally returning the favor? Two of this winter’s buzzed-about movies, Doubt and Frost/Nixon, were plays before they were films. Last summer’s movie version of Mamma Mia! made a disco diva out of Meryl Streep and nearly $150 million in U.S. box office. And last week, Universal (the studio behind Mamma Mia!, incidentally) snapped up the rights to this year’s Best Musical, In the Heights; charismatic star Lin-Manuel Miranda — who penned the award-winning music and lyrics — is set to produce. (It’s expected that he’ll also reprise his starring role as bodega owner Usnavi. We know he’s busy, what with translating some lyrics into Spanish for Broadway’s upcoming West Side Story revival, but trust us: There’s no one who could do it better.)

So, PopWatchers, are there other Broadway shows you’d like to see make it to the big screen? And how about casting ideas for August? Fellow EW staffers Jason Clark and Aubry D’Arminio had some great ones: Jane Fonda as pill-popping mom Violet; Sam Shepard as her alcoholic hubby; Laura Linney, Diane Lane, Ashley Judd as the beleaguered Weston sisters. Who else can you see starring in Letts’ dysfunctional family drama?
 
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