Tag Archives: Sam Shepard

Out of the Furnace – Has True Grit

Saturday night, I attended the 2013 AFI FEST’s Gala Premiere of director and screenwriter Scott Cooper’s “Out of the Furnace”.


“Out of the Furnace” Director Scott Cooper with cast members Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana and Tom Bower at the 2013 AFI FEST Gala Premiere.

Cooper’s blue-collar film paints a stark reality that is relevant to our modern times.  This gritty, powerful story set in a languishing mill town in Pennsylvania follows the Baze brothers — steel worker Russell (Christian Bale) and Rodney (Casey Affleck) an Iraq War veteran — who struggle to survive a world that seems pitted against them.  Woody Harrelson plays the kingpin of a crime ring whose merciless act of violence sends Christian Bale’s Russell Baze on a suicidal mission of personal redemption and justice.

The cast includes strong performances by Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe and Sam Shepard.  Among the film’s notable producers are Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott.

August: Osage County – A Tour de Force

For playwright Tracy Letts, “August: Osage County” has been a labor of love.  Now Letts has adapted his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play into a screenplay, and with Director John Wells at the helm, Letts’ beloved masterpiece about the dysfunctional Weston family has been made into an equally funny and deeply moving film.

I just attended the AFI FEST’s Gala screening of “August: Osage County” at the TCL Chinese Theater in downtown Hollywood, where Director John Wells introduced the film’s Academy Award winning Producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, and some of the cast.

"August: Osage County" Director John Wells with cast members Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney and Julianne Nicholson.

“August: Osage County” Director John Wells with cast members Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney and Julianne Nicholson and Producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

The ensemble cast of the film “August: Osage County”, which includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch, is a tour de force.  As I experienced the film, I couldn’t get over how perfectly and meticulously the actors had been matched with their characters.  You couldn’t hope for a better adaptation of an already perfect play.