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Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s epic drama “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” has been sitting on the shelf, at least stateside, since its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival. Boasting Dolan’s most ambitious cast to date — including Kit Harrington, Jacob Tremblay, Natalie Portman, Kathy Bates, Thandie Newton, and Susan Sarandon — “Donovan” was met with jeers at the festival, including by IndieWire’s critic Eric Kohn. In a new interview with the Globe and Mail, Dolan now says that the film originally ran a lengthy four hours long. As it stands, the film currently runs a cool two hours.
“I shot the film that I wrote, but the film that I wrote was a 160-page script that made no choices,” Dolan said. “You now want to focus on something [the editing] that I’ve been focusing on for two years and I don’t know how inspired I can be to talk about that. I usually edit movies in two months, not two years. It was at times brutal and invigorating to rediscover something you think you know by heart.”
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Dolan opted not to take the film to Cannes after critics savaged his 2016 chamber drama “It’s Only the End of the World,” which ended up winning the festival’s Jury Prize and is, actually, quite good. Originally, “Donovan,” which centers on a pen-pal relationship that develops between a young boy and a closeted TV star, was set to star Jessica Chastain. But at the...
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