Yesterday I finished the novel. For anyone out there thinking that Meryl has a chance at a double nomination for her supporting role as Altha Carter and lead role as Violet Weston in August: Osage County...not gonna happen. If the film's screenplay is to even remotely resemble the book, Meryl's part is not very big. This isn't to say that it's an unimportant role, but I'm guessing Meryl's choice to participate in this film was more to work again with Tommy Lee Jones and perhaps her daughter Grace. She and Grace will likely be in the same scene, but they don't interact or speak to each other in the book. As I believe I mentioned before, it resembles her participation in 2007's Evening, where Meryl played the older version of her daughter Mamie's character, and shared a scene near the end of the film with the great Vanessa Redgrave.
Overall I really enjoyed the book. It was fun to picture Jones and Hilary Swank in the lead roles. In my post from last weekend about Hailee Steinfeld joining the cast, I wondered if the number of "crazy" women portrayed in the film would ultimately be decided as three or as four. In the book, four women are indeed taken to the end of the journey. It's certainly possible that the film version may have only three. IMDb has updated it's cast list to again include Miranda Otto, this time specifically listed to play Theoline Belknap. Only the character of Hedda Petzke is left to be revealed. Perhaps she has been dropped. I have my own thoughts on why she may be the odd one out, but I don't want to spoil any part the story with my hypotheses.
Back to Meryl. It will certainly be fun to see her portray a mid-19th century minster's wife in the midwest. She and Jones will have a nice extended scene together. There's perhaps an opportunity for some good moments, but again, I'm speculating rather heavily because I have a feeling they'll take some extensive liberties with the screenplay. Altha Carter is a woman whom we expect to be very much in control, but is startled by the state of the women who have been brought to her in Hebron, Iowa. Jones's character is by that point in the story a changed man, and it's interesting that Meryl's character only sees him in this new way. I'm very much looking forward to this film, not simply for Meryl's part but because I think it's a fantastic story. Hopefully it makes it to the big screen by year's end.