Academy Award-nominated actor, director and playwright Sam Shepard is currently in talks to star as Beverly Weston in the forthcoming film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County, according to Variety. Shepard will reportedly star alongside previously announced Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, as well as Tony nominee Margo Martindale, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dermot Mulroney and Juliette Lewis. August: Osage County will be adapted by Letts, directed by John Wells and produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, along with Jean Doumanian, Steve Traxler and Clair Rudnick Polstein. Filming is set to begin in September. No release date has been set yet.
August: Osage County is the story of the Weston family, who reunites at their rural homestead in Oklahoma when Beverly (Shepard), the alcoholic patriarch, goes missing. Streep is set to play Violet, the pill-popping, deeply troubled mother of the family. Roberts will play Barbara, Violet’s daughter, and Breslin will play Barbara’s daughter Jean. Martindale is set to play Violet’s sister Mattie Fae, and Lewis and Mulroney will star as Karen and Steve, respectively. Cooper will play Charles Aiken, and Cumberbatch will play his son, Little Charles. August: Osage County originally premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, then transferred to Broadway on December 4, 2007, taking home the 2008 Tony Award for Best Play. August: Osage County ended its Broadway run June 28, 2009.
Shepard earned an Academy Award nomination for The Right Stuff. As an actor, his film and TV credits include Steel Magnolias, Paris, Texas, Crimes of the Heart, Voyager, Safe House, Blackthorn, Fair Game, Brothers, Felon, The Accidental Husband, Walker Payne, Ruffian, The Notebook, Swordfish and Shot in the Heart. August: Osage County would mark a reunion for Roberts and Shepard, who played a romantically linked law student and professor, respectively, in The Pelican Brief. Shepard earned a Pulitzer Prize for his 1979 play Buried Child. His additional Broadway playwriting credits include True West and Operation Sidewinder. His new play Heartless, starring Gary Cole and Julianne Nicholson, is currently playing at off-Broadway’s Pershing Square Signature Center.