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William Hurt Fills Out ‘Winter’s Tale’ for Akiva Goldsman; ‘Justified’ Actress Margo Martindale Added to ‘Osage County’

Written by on August 1, 2012 

With years of slow development and, lately, months of stagnant assemblage, this writer has more or less forgotten that Winter’s Tale was even “a thing.” (Much less that Akiva Goldsman wants to make it his feature directing debut.) It says something about the project, its process, and even me. None of them are very good.

Deadline now informs us that William Hurt is signed for Winter’s Tale, a project that, and this is worth repeating, been moving rather sluggishly for some time — our last report was a casting item from April. But it’s said that he’ll be taking the film’s “final major role,” that of the wealthy father to Jessica Brown Findlay‘s dying girl.

In the adaptation of Mark Helprin‘s novel, Colin Farrell will be seen as a thief who breaks into Hurt‘s home, falls in love with Findlay, and becomes “driven to stop time and bring back the dead.” It’s a rather ambitious project, requiring a bigger-than-you’d-expect budget of $46 million; Russell Crowe and Will Smith putting in supporting turns certainly helps its case, though. Now, with the players assembled, production will commence in October.

August: Osage County‘s got a big cast to fill — mothers! fathers! daughters! sons! grandkids! — and the attempt to fashion this awards hopeful carries on, with Deadline reporting that Emmy winner Margo Martindale (Justified) has been roped into John Wells‘ film. Her character, Mattie Fae Aiken, has got quite the cinematic lineage, too, being the husband of Charles Aiken (Chris Cooper) and sister to Violet Weston (Meryl Streep).

The rest of the lineup, currently, consists of Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Abigail Breslin; the first two are both sisters and the daughter of Violet, while the lattermost is the first’s daughter. It’s a tangled, nearly Rules of the Game-like story of a family’s convergence after Violet’s husband goes missing, with their embedded secrets and feelings of contempt bubbling to the Oklahoma surface when everyone’s put in the same house. (Killer Joe scribe Tracy Letts wrote the original play and this film’s screenplay, but fried chicken probably doesn’t come into the picture.)

With George Clooney and Grant Heslov producing for The Weinstein Company, August: Osage County will hit in fall 2013.

Between these two projects, which do you think has the best chance of succeeding?

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