Now imagine going from Redford to Streep. Goldman was nervous at first, but “August: Osage County” director John Wells introduced them at a welcome party in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where they shot the movie. “She came up to me and told me how pleased she was that I was here,” Goldman recalls. “She told me how much she and her daughter adored ‘Jane Eyre’ and how I shot Mia [Wasikowska]. The funny thing is we almost worked together on ‘The Iron Lady.'”
Again, the timing worked out so much better with “August: Osage County.” They spent four months shooting the ensemble piece (co-starring Julia Roberts and featuring Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Chris Cooper, and Sam Shepard). It was like summer camp because they hung out together on weekends as well.
“It’s a very strange dark comedy — there’s no redemption for anyone — which I like a lot,” adds Goldman. “It was intense but pleasant. John Wells is very organized and disciplined being a writer and producer. Again, it was a realistic approach on my part.”
But how do you shoot Streep? It’s all about pace and whatever price needs to be paid to get it right, according to the cinematographer. The multi-Oscar winner was respectful of her director’s vision yet always coming up with character subtleties. The most demanding sequence was a dinner scene involving 11 characters at the mid-point. Wells knew he couldn’t get master shots of every character so he broke the 20-page scene down into three parts, shooting characters for the whole scene.
“You could just see the other 10 actors watching Meryl Streep and being amazed by her performance,” Goldman recounts. “I remember Chris Cooper saying, ‘I’d love to give an interview one day about my job as an actor and would probably just talk about these three days that we shot the dinner scene and just watching Meryl at work.‘”
I’m sure most of us can’t wait to see Streep as Violet Weston and find out more about the bitchy “August: Osage County.”