August: Osage County - True Story

August: Osage County Movie Poster

Tracy Letts


Playwright and actor Tracy Letts was born July 4, 1965 in Tulsa, Oklahoma to bestselling author Billie Letts and college professor/actor Dennis Letts. Surrounded by acting and music at a young age (his brother is a jazz musician and composer), Letts was inspired to become a writer and performer himself. One of his most known plays, Killer Joe, was performed off Broadway in 1998 for nine months and was adapted into a film in 2011 starring Matthew McConaughey. Letts’ most recent film adaptation is his play August: Osage County, starring Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Originally a stage production, August: Osage County premiered in Chicago on June 28, 2007 and ran for two months before moving to Broadway on December 4, 2007. The show lasted a year and a half on Broadway, where it won several awards, including a Tony Award for Best Play, an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Broadway Play, as well as the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play, a dark comedy, follows members of the dysfunctional Weston family, who are forced to come back together and face reality, from both their past and present as dark and shocking secrets are revealed.

A few characters in the production are based on Letts’ own family members. In the 1970s, his grandfather committed suicide by drowning himself in a lake. He left behind a wife, who eventually became an addict as she struggled to cope with her loss.

"The story haunted me all my adult life," Letts told the London-based newspaper The Telegraph. "My grandfather's suicide and its ripple effects were things I turned over in my head for many, many years. I came to believe that the best vehicle to tell that story was a play with 13 characters and a three-story set - a very expansive, broad-shouldered American play."

Directed by John Wells, the film adaptation has already received Ensemble of the Year and Best Supporting Actress for Julia Roberts at the Hollywood Film Festival. The production was also well received at the Toronto International Film Festival and is expected to be an Oscar contender.

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