The breakthrough: Meet ‘August: Osage County”s Julianne Nicholson

Julianne Nicholson plays on of three sisters in the dysfunctional family dramedy "August: Osage County." Credit: Getty Images
Julianne Nicholson plays on of three sisters in the dysfunctional family dramedy “August: Osage County.”
Credit: Getty Images

Who: Julianne Nicholson
Where you’ve seen her: The films “Kinsey,” “Flannel Pajamas” and “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men”; the shows “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Masters of Sex”
Her big break: Playing Ivy, the center of the storm of grotesques in the new film adaptation of “August: Osage County,” Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer-winning play, which also stars Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper and many, many more

Was she intimidated doing a film on this scale?: “Yes. The first hurdle was getting the job. I just didn’t think about [the cast]. Then I got the job and I felt great. I felt like I intrinsically knew who Ivy was. I was also doing a play at the time, a new Sam Sheppard play, so I felt like I was in that world, in a way. [Ed. Sheppard has a small role in the film.] But a week before I started panicking. As soon as I arrived, though, everyone was really welcoming.”

On doing a play on film: “I didn’t look at it as a play. I had seen the play and I had loved it. But enough time had passed that I didn’t remember any specifics. It wasn’t like I had to recreate anything. And it’s an amazing piece that’s perfectly written.”

Doing a play on film by a TV director: “John [Wells]’ strength is with ensembles. He has a history of doing that with ‘ER’ and ‘Shameless’ and ‘The Company Men.’ He has a real knack for bringing the right people together to get the best out of them.”

Shooting the big set piece — a 19-page dinner scene — over four days: “[Wells] broke it up into three sections, 6 or 7 pages for each part. We rehearsed the whole thing through at Meryl’s house. We all sat around the table and ate dinner while we rehearsed the lines and got the rhythm of it, discovered beats. When shooting it, it didn’t feel choppy. It felt like everyone knew their lines. We probably could have done it straight through every time.”

On it feeling like a play: “Early on it felt like the beginning days of a play, when you’re sitting around talking, before you put it on its feet. You’re sharing stories and exploring ideas and asking questions. It was also just being together, getting to know eachother, picking up eachother’s mannerisms, creating a feel of history so that when you start filming you already know eachother, rather than showing up on the first day and acting like someone’s your sister.”

How she watched the 2012 presidential race during filming: “We watched Obama get re-elected at Meryl’s house. It was pretty thrilling, actually. I’ll never forget where I was when Obama got reelected!”

TV vs. film vs. theater: “They’re each so different. I love being able to do them all. In theater I love the rehearsal process and really getting the role in your body. Film is exciting because you get the whole piece: You know the whole arc of your character. You know the beginning, middle and end. In television I like that you don’t know — that you don’t know what’s coming next. You can just play what’s happening now and be excited when you discover what’s coming next. TV also pays more, so you can feed your family. A lot of films I’ve done, they don’t pay a lot more. Unless you’re a movie star.”

On playing characters in the past, as on “Boardwalk Empire” and “Masters of Sex”: “I like being able to explore a woman’s experience in other times. It makes me very grateful for being here today. I got options.”


Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.


Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…


U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…


Mugger uses chokeholds in Central Park attacks: NYPD

Cops are searching for a Manhattan mugging suspect tied to at least two attacks near Central Park this week.


Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.


Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…


Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…