There will likely be no more impressive cast this year than the one populating August: Osage County, the feature film adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer- and Tony-award winning play. Meryl Streep! Julia Roberts! Ewan McGregor! Chris Cooper! Benedict "Benny Batch" Cumberbatch! Juliette Lewis! Abigail Breslin! Dermot Mulroney! Margo Martindale! Any marketing exec worth their salt would put those actors front and center in the movie's first trailer, and that is exactly what the folks at The Weinstein Company have done.
But TWC also seems to be running away from the deliciously dark and poisonous atmosphere that hangs over Letts' play. To be fair: You do get a sense that Streep's family matriarch isn't the most pleasant person; Benny Batch does look like a weepy mess; and the play does have some hilarious moments. But the up-with-people music and preponderance of smiles and laughter makes August: Osage County seem like a heartwarming tale about a family struggling to hold it together — and, by inference, succeeding. Without spoiling what goes down in August: Osage County, heartwarming it is definitely not. (OK, one tiny spoiler: What's especially odd about this is that there are sequences from the play I am certain would be enticing to many moviegoers — like, why aren't Meryl and Julia screaming at each other? Everyone wants to see that.)
August: Osage County isn't arriving in theaters until November, so TWC may just be waiting to unveil the film's gloomier qualities for a later trailer. But this is far from the first time a feel-bad movie has been sold as the opposite experience. Here are 10 other examples: