Xavier Dolan’s English language debut, “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,” has had a rather rocky road. Firstly, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, garnering the worst reviews of Dolan’s career in the process. Also, Jessica Chastain initially had a prominent supporting role but Dolan cut her character due to length reasons. So, the film has had its fair share of bumps. However, it still finally has a trailer that premiered today.
First off, Xavier Dolan has assembled quite the starry cast. It stars Kit Harrington and Jacob Tremblay along with Oscar winners Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, and Kathy Bates. Plus, Emmy winner Thandie Newton, Ben Schnetzer, Chris Zylka, Amara Karan, and Michael Gambon round out the cast.
A very starry ensemble in what looks like a film that tackles the perils of fame and celebrity culture. Interestingly, this is another film Natalie Portman has done tackling this subject matter after starring in “Vox Lux” last year. However, this one looks more chaotic in terms of its acting and disorienting cinematography. But it does seem to fit Xavier Dolan’s idiosyncratic filmmaking style.
The story follows the life of the titular celebrity (Harrington) and a young boy (Tremblay) who idolized him. For five years, they were secret pen pals. But when the letters they wrote became public, John’s life began to crumble. The film also focuses on the young boy, Rupert, when he becomes an adult. Rupert (Schnetzer) becomes a successful actor and in an interview with reporter Audrey Newhouse (Newton), he reflects on his troubled childhood.
“The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” currently doesn’t have a U.S. release date.
The trailer can be seen below: