Celebrated Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan announced on Monday that he had dropped Jessica Chastain’s scenes from his upcoming English language debut The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.
“What you need to hear from me is that Jessica Chastain’s character, after what was a long period of reflection, had to be cut from the film,” Dolan’s Instagram post read. “It was an extremely difficult decision to make. I feel, toward Jessica, a very sincere love, and a great admiration.” Dolan stressed that the decision had nothing to do with Chastain or her performance, but was based purely on the film’s “editorial and narrative” content.
The filmmaker, who has the films I Killed My Mother (2009) and Mommy (2014) to his credit, explained that the character played by Chastain did not fit with the bigger story. “The ‘villain’ subplot, albeit funny and entertaining, didn’t feel like it belonged to the rest of the story, which ended up not being on heroes or their enemies, but rather on childhood and its dreams,” Dolan said.
Dolan’s film tells the story of television star John F Donovan (Kit Harington) who develops a correspondence with 11-year old aspiring actor (Jacob Tremblay). The relationship comes under strain when a tabloid gets hold of the correspondence. Chastain was reportedly cast as the tabloid publisher.
The star-studded cast includes Kathy Bates, Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon. The release date is yet to be announced.
Chastain said that the matter was “handled with the up-most respect and love”. The actress said that she looked forward to working with Dolan in the future. “I am always impressed with your true commitment to telling a story,” Chastain said in her Instagram post. “To be an artist in each moment, you move beyond past ideas and expectations. I love you dearly and look forward to our future collaborations in life and art.”
When asked by a fan if he was planning to release an uncut version with Chastain’s scenes, Dolan said that he would “love to include certain scenes on the DVD”.