'August: Osage County' May Have Ending Change After TIFF Grumbles

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After premiering at this week's Toronto International Film Festival, it has been speculated that the ending of the Meryl Streep-starring August: Osage County could be changed ahead of its wide release late this winter. Director John Wells adapted Tracy Letts' prize-winning play but made the unfortunate mistake of slightly changing the ending which has caused some discontent at TIFF.

August Osage County
The Relationship Between Streep's Vi And Roberts' Barbara Is Crucial To The Plot.

Those who have seen the play performed onstage will recall that the final scene shows the Weston family's harsh matriarch, Vi sitting alone on the stairs of her now empty house after her daughters can't deal with her constant berating and have left the house. The scene is contemplative and loaded with metaphor, but changes drastically if you take the situation from Julia Roberts' Barbara's view as she's driving away - as Wells chose to do.

Watch The August: Osage County Trailer:

The focus is shifted on to Vi's daughter, Barbara, as she's driving away which gives the film's close a different perspective that perhaps changes what viewers will think about afterwards. There was plenty of complaint about this final scene as journalists, bloggers, and critics exited the TIFF screening.

August Osage County Ewan McGregor
Some TIFF Viewers Have Found The Vibe Of The Changed Ending Hard To Accept.

Due to the film testing badly amongst some, it has been reported that Wells and producers George Clooney and Harvey Weinstein are considering changing the ending to incorporate Letts' script better. According to the LA Times, the Weinstein Co. are lobbying to keep the current ending but Wells and Letts would prefer a Streep-based finale. Apparently, very early cuts of the movie included Vi's star scene at the end but audiences at the time didn't approve.

"We tested it over and over again and people rebelled in the theater," Wells said in an interview at the festival on Tuesday. "They were terrified about what happened to Barbara." He said that maintaining the original script would alienate the audience the movie was playing to, and that's why Barbara is the final character shown - so that audiences would have a greater degree of closure.

August Osage County Meryl Streep
The Film Explores Family Life & The Hidden Skeletons In The Closet.

Though the Weinstein Co. have not commented on the matter, Wells has indicated that there may be a change of scene: "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."

The film has otherwise performed admirably at TIFF, with critics praising the out-of-the-park performances from a cast that includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis and Abigail Breslin. Streep's portrayal as the gorgon mother Vi has been particularly lauded, especially in the intense, dakrly comic family argument scenes.

August Osage County Julia Roberts
Will The Movie's Ending Now Be Changed?

August: Osage County will open in the USA on Christmas day and in the UK on the 17th January.


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Tags: Meryl Streep - Julia Roberts - Juliette Lewis - Abigail Breslin - Ewan McGregor - Benedict Cumberbatch

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