The Weinstein Co. has acquired worldwide film rights to the Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning play “August: Osage County” and will produce a feature adaptation.
TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein will join Jean Doumanian and Steve Traxler as producers of the pic, with playwright Tracy Letts doing the adaptation.
Weinstein said his company will fully finance and distribute the film with an eye toward a 2011 release.
Weinstein and Doumanian have already received calls from reps of interested actresses who’ve seen the play.
Doumanian and Traxler, who are lead producers on the Broadway production with Jeffrey Richards and Jerry Frankel, made a deal with Letts during the summer to work on a script (Daily Variety, Aug. 6). Doumanian said she hopes to have a Letts-penned screenplay within two or three months. Weinstein is an investor in the stage play, which begins an eight-week engagement Nov. 21 at London’s National Theater. A national tour starts in the summer.
Richards and Frankel will exec produce the film.
“I’ve loved the writing since I was given a 240-page script for a three-hour play that starred nobody, that had no workshop,” Weinstein said. “My reaction was similar to the feeling I had when I read Quentin Tarantino’s script for ‘True Romance.’ Tracy has that kind of voice.”
“August: Osage County” becomes the latest project that Weinstein has boarded as producer. He’s teamed with Marc Platt to produce the Rob Marshall-directed adaptation of “Nine,” which Relativity is financing, and he’s also one of the producers of the Tarantino-directed “Inglourious Basterds,” a co-production with Universal Pictures that is lensing in Europe.
“Our company is 2½ years old. We’ve grown past the MGM deal and are doing our own distribution,” Weinstein said. “We’ve got our own Showtime deal to feed, and we’re moving toward the kind of films we used to do at Miramax.” Doumanian said that since Weinstein became one of the early investors in the play, she hoped he would participate in the film. They’ve worked often together, as he distributed Doumanian-produced, Woody Allen-directed films that include “Bullets Over Broadway,” “Everyone Says I Love You” and “Mighty Aphrodite.”