Tracy Letts Talks AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY Characterizations & Adaptation
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Tony Award-winning actor Tracy Letts opens up about the finer points of the stage-to-screen adaptation of his celebrated drama AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY as part of a new interview.
Illuminating the characters in the play and how he himself figures into their creation and personalities, Letts reveals, "They're all me. They've got to be me. They're all some part of me. They all come out of me. The worst person in it, or the most poorly behaved person in it to the best, they're all some quality of me. Because this is autobiographical, they're all different views of the same story."
Letts specifies, "In some ways, Jean is the person I identify with, because some of the events in the story happened to me when I was 10 years old, and I'm looking a lot of it through her eyes."
Furthermore, Letts adds, "Barbara is dramatically the protagonist of the piece, so I'm looking at a lot of it though her eyes, but I think I'm looking at all of it though all their eyes. The fact that people are able to identify with a variety of people around the table in the family I think is great. It gives a lot of people different access into the thing. They're given their own secret access into the thing though the eyes of the character, and it's very cool."
Additionally, Letts sheds some light on the process of pruning the three-hour-plus play into a manageable two-hour screenplay, relating, "It wasn't all painful chipping away... There were things that I was happy to lose in that I thought, well, the movie is going to be better at showing this in some ways than the play is. There were certainly moments when I knew that good actors were going to be able to convey things on screen that didn't need a monologue anymore to convey. Yet, at the same time, there did come a point where I thought, 'Alright, we're going to lose some of the characters who are a little further out from the central conflict, we're going to lose some of their depth.''
Letts concludes, "That was hard for me to loose some of the depth of Beverly, Jean, Johnna. It gives the play a real dimension that in the film we didn't feel we had the time to get straight up far afield from our central conflict."
Check out the original article on the matter here.