Emboldened by two Best Picture wins in two years (plus two Best Directors, two Best Actors and a Best Actress…), Harvey Weinstein seems to be setting out to win all the Oscars in 2013 — “The Master” and “Silver Linings Playbook” all look like players, and The Weinstein Company is also holding out hope for “Django Unchained,” “Killing Them Softly,” “Untouchable,” “Song for Marion,” “Quartet” and more. Next year, however, he’s going for a simpler approach, by cramming as many acclaimed actors as possible into a single acclaimed piece of source material.
Filming’s getting ready to roll on “August: Osage County,” the film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play by “Killer Joe” author Tracy Letts, and director John Wells (“Company Men“) has assembled a tremendous, star-laden cast already, with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale and Dermot Mulroney already on board. But one more big name (and one rather smaller one) has come on board, as The Weinstein Company’s Twitter announces that Ewan McGregor has joined the cast.
Between “Beginners,” “The Impossible,” “Haywire” and the aborted Noah Baumbach-helmed HBO version of “The Corrections,” McGregor’s career has been on something of an upswing after a problematic period, and this seems to put a cherry on the top of the last couple of years. The Scottish actor will play Bill Fordham, the estranged college professor husband of Barbara (Roberts), the eldest daughter of the Oklahoman Weston family that the play centers on, who’s left his wife for one of his students. It’s not a part that immediately screams McGregor as obvious casting, but given his current run, we’re confident he can pull it off.
A less familiar name has also come on board the project, as Variety report that Misty Upham (“Frozen River,” the upcoming “Jimmy Picard“) has also come on board. The actress will play Joanna, a Native American woman who works as the Weston family’s housekeeper. Despite the extensive cast, there’s still a few major roles to be cast, including middle daughter Ivy, so expect one or two big names to still join the extensive ensemble. The play is indeed terrific, although we wish there was a director who was less of a journeyman than Wells at the helm. Still, this should be worth watching for the performances alone. Filming gets underway soon for a 2013 release.