New Ending Possible for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Following Negative Audience Response
The LA Times reports that the highly anticipated big screen adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning play AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY may wind up with an all-new ending following initial audience reaction.
[SPOILER ALERT: The following text reveals certain details of the film]
The final scene of the original version of the film features family matriarch Violet Weston, as played by Meryl Streep, sitting alone on the stairs of her house after being abandoned by her adult daughters, especially her eldest daughter Barbara (Julia Roberts) who refused to stay and care for her. The scene follows the original ending of Lett's stage play.
However at the film's premiere this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, audiences viewed a more upbeat ending. While Violet is still seen on the stairs of her house, she calls out for her Native American nurse to come to her aid. Barbara is now seen driving away, conveying the fact that although she's leaving her mother, Violet will be under the care of the younger character.
According to the report, director John Wells and Letts are still trying to convince the film's producers and Weinstein Co. executives that the movie should end as did the original play, with Violet being alone and abandoned. Working against their efforts is the fact that when the film was screened for early audiences, they didn't approve.
"We tested it over and over again and people rebelled in the theater," Wells said in an interview Tuesday. "They were terrified about what happened to Barbara." He continues, "They felt like we were hitting them on the head with a hammer. I heard it over and over again"
It remains uncertain which ending audiences will ultimately see when the black comedy premieres in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day. Said Wells of the happier ending, "I'm not sure I'm OK with doing it that way. I don't want to say there's anything wrong with the current ending, because there isn't. But it's something we're still talking about. We don't open for three months, and it's possible you'll see something different."
Added playwright Letts, "A little ambiguity is not a bad thing," he said. "But we don't want audience confusion, where it's suddenly 'I don't know where the ball is.' So this is what we're trying to figure out."
A Weinstein Co. spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
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