It happens during a dinner scene when Roberts lunges at Streep and tackles her to the ground while trying to taking bottle of pills from her hand.
A few seconds of rolling around on the floor ensues.
"I didn't look forward to it," Roberts admitted to me at the movie's premiere in downtown L.A. "It's not how I saw the dream of my time with Meryl Streep. But she was a worthy opponent. She was not going down without some scratches and some heels in thighs."
And it really was all them. "We had a stunt coordinator. We had stunt people," director John Wells said. "But Meryl and Julia didn't want to use the stunt people so they did it themselves. [Julia] leapt across the table and took her right to the floor. We did it a couple of times and it worked beautifully. And nobody got hurt, which was my real worry."
Streep cracked, "Julia didn't need a stunt double because she's plenty tough."
The film, based on the stage play of the same name, centers on three sisters (Roberts, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis) who reunite at their childhood home in Oklahoma after their father commits suicide. Their mom (Streep) is a bitter pill-popping drug addict with cancer whose ugly tongue lashings slowly tear the family apart.
In another scene, Roberts smacks Abigail Breslin across the face (the young actress plays her pot-smoking daughter). "She felt so bad everytime because she's so sweet...She was nervous," Breslin said.
As dark as the movie might be, there are comic and even sweet moments throughout the film. One in particular occurs when Benedict Cumberbatch (he plays the three sisters' first cousin) sings a song he has written for Nicholson.
"It was really cute. It was so nice," Nicholson said. "That's what that scene was. All I had to do was sit there and listen. That day was easy. I just had to sit on a piano bench next to Benedict Cumberbatch."
August: Osage County is in theaters on Dec. 27.