Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan won’t be heading to Cannes.
The Montreal director’s English-language debut, “The Death And Life Of John F. Donovan”, was considered Canada’s best shot at the prestigious Palme d’Or but Dolan says the film simply won’t be ready in time to screen during the festival next month. It is now expected to debut during the fall festival circuit, likely aiming for a premiere in September at TIFF.
“We have seen the movie, we want to invite him but he has gone back to the editing room. So we’ll see this movie in the fall,” Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux announced during a press conference unveiling the festival’s Official Selection. When asked whether he believed Dolan was holding the film with hopes of an awards season push, Fremaux said, “I hope he’s going to get an Oscar but it’s the fall strategy.”
Rumours have plagued the movie, suggesting Dolan is having a hard time crafting the story about an actor’s public downfall after he’s caught up in a sex crime. Dolan’s first English-language film boasts an impressive ensemble cast including Kit Harington, Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Thandie Newton, Kathy Bates, and fellow Canadians Sarah Gadon, Jacob Tremblay and Emily Hampshire. Jessica Chastain had filmed scenes for the movie but Dolan announced he reluctantly cut his friend out of the final story because her scenes didn’t fit during the editing process.
Dolan, who has previously shown five of his films, including “Mommy” and “I Killed My Mother” on the Croisette and has won several major prizes at the festival, had expressed a reluctance to return to Cannes after “It’s Only The End Of The World” was ravaged in the press following its Cannes screening. This year, the festival has amended its screening rules so that films will not screen for critics before their black-tie galas.