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Tony Winner Tracy Letts Didn't Want a British Invasion in His Southern-Cooked American Masterpiece August: Osage County

Tony Winner Tracy Letts Didn't Want a British Invasion in His Southern-Cooked American Masterpiece August: Osage County
Dermot Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor & Abigail Breslin in 'August: Osage County'
Tracy Letts was not initially sold on 'August: Osage County' stars Ewan McGregor & Benedict Cumberbatch.

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein deserves credit for asking Tracy Letts to adapt his own play August: Osage County for the film version. We don't think anyone else would've been able to keep the venomous hilarity of the Weston family fully intact in the Pulitzer Prize-winning black comedy. Yet, Letts and Weinstein did butt heads over one thing during the making of the movie—the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch and Ewan McGregor. According to the London Evening Standard, Letts did not want a British invasion in his Southern-cooked American masterpiece.

Letts, who won the 2013 Tony Award for his performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and will soon be back on Broadway in The Realistic Joneses, grappled with McGregor and Cumberbatch being cast in the film because he thought it might send "the wrong message." It seems Letts was worried about casting "international" actors in the "profoundly American" story, which follows a family in Oklahoma. However, the celebrated writer conceded that he was "glad [he] lost the fight" with Weinstein and admits that McGregor and Cumberbatch "both do a great job" in their roles as Bill Fordham and Little Charles, respectively.

Directed by John Wells, the ensemble cast of August: Osage County is led by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, who both received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. In addition to Streep, Roberts, Cumberbatch and the Broadway-bound McGregor, the cast includes Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard and Misty Upham. The film, which is still in theaters, has grossed more than $26 million at the U.S. box office.

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