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Joaquin Phoenix Eyes Reunion with Gus Van Sant For John Callahan Biopic

Written by on November 29, 2016 

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Update: Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill are also in talks for the film, according to Deadline. Check out the original story below.

After breaking into acting under his birth name Leaf Phoenix, 1995 heralded the return of the newly minted Joaquin Phoenix to the world of filmmaking. The feature was Gus Van Sant’s To Die For, which he starred alongside Casey Affleck, Matt Dillon, and Nicole Kidman. Now, over two decades later, the star and director may have found a reunion feature.

According to Variety, they are eying a reteam with Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, an adaptation of the autobiography by quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan. A long-in-the-works project in Hollywood, it dates as far back as 1989 with Robin Williams circling portraying the man, who was paralyzed at the age of 21 after a car accident and because an acclaimed, controversial artist. See the Amazon synopsis of the novel below.

Is it possible to find humor — corrosive, taboo-shattering, laugh-till-you-cry humor — in the story of a 38-year-old- cartoonist who’s both a quadriplegic and a recovering alcoholic? The answer is yes, if the cartoonist is John Callahan — whose infamous work has graced the pages of Omni, Penthouse, and The New Yorker — and if he’s telling it in his own words and pictures. But Callahan’s uncensored account of his troubled — and sometimes impossible — life is also genuinely inspiring. Without self-pity or self-righteousness, this liberating book tells us how a quadriplegic with a healthy libido has sex, what it’s like to live in the exitless maze of the welfare system, where a cartoonist finds his comedy, and how a man with no reason to believe in anything discovers his own brand of faith.

With Phoenix at the height of his career after collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson, James Gray, and Spike Jonze — he also recently finished a film with Lynne Ramsay — this could prove a much-needed boost for the director after last year’s Cannes debacle, so we hope it comes together. As we await more details, check out the trailer for Joaquin Phoenix and Gus Van Sant’s first film, as well as one of Callahan’s animation.


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