Xavier Dolan may be only 28 but he has already been twice at Cannes, directed 6 features, acted in more than 15 projects and won the special Jury Prize at Cannes in 2016 for It’s Only the End of the World starring Marion Cotillard and Léa Seydoux.
The multifaceted Canadian is now preparing for the release of his English-language feature debut, The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan. Dolan has been known to deal with extremely personal topics. His directorial debut, I Killed My Mother, was a semi-autobiographical story about a young homosexual and his difficult relationship with his mother. This time Dolan is entering the wild and unforgiving world of celebrities and fandom.
Written by Dolan and screenwriter partner, Jacob Tierney, the film is set 10 years after the death of fictional American TV star John F. Donovan. As a young actor, he reminisces over the written correspondence he once shared with the star and the impact it had on both their lives. Things take a dark turn when the correspondence with the young actor is publicly exposed.
A teaser poster was just released staring the film’s villain, Jessica Chastain. Chastain will be portraying, Moira McAllister-King, the evil gossip columnist who comes across the letters between Donovan and his young fan. Alongside Moira, we’ll also find a dreamy but closeted movie star, a caring mother refusing to accept his son’s vocation and a young kid full of dream to name a few.
Having started to act as a kid, Dolan has surely drawn from his own experience in the world of show business to develop his characters and story. The film also deals with mother and son relationship and homosexuality, recurrent themes for Dolan.
A couple of weeks ago the director shared set pictures of the laborious on-going production which took over a year and half as most actors do not appear in the same scenes. It however enabled Dolan to assemble an impressive cast which also includes Kit Harington, Taylor Kitsch, Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Thandie Newton and Bella Thorne. Dolan has admitted that he believes it to be his most commercial project to date.
Dark but haunting cinematography, eccentric but complex characters and an epic cast, this might very well be Dolan’s next indie masterpiece!
The film does not have a release date yet but is sure to hit festivals before the end of the year.