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Watch: Xavier Dolan Directs ‘The Death and Life of John F. Donovan’ in First Behind-the-Scenes Footage

Written by on December 5, 2016 


Only a few months after bringing his Marion Cotillard-led drama It’s Only the End of the World to Cannes (our review), Xavier Dolan began shooting his follow-up The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. It features his most high-profile cast yet — including Jessica ChastainKit Harrington, Susan SarandonKathy Bates, Adele, Natalie Portman, Thandie Newton, Michael Gambon, and Bella Thorne — and we don’t have a trailer yet, but the first footage has now arrived.

A video profile from CNN (via Indiewire) stopped by the set to capture Dolan directing and talk to the helmer, along with Harrington, about the film, which delves into themes of identity and fame in showbiz, and focuses on a young actor reminiscing on a past pen pal relationship with his American TV idol. “The more I go the more I realize that my only way to directing actors is not directing them, but acting with them,” Dolan says on the set of his English-language debut, where he’s shooting an opening sequence in which the characters learn of the death of Donovan. “I can only understand acting from an actor’s point-of-view.”

Check it out below along with the synopsis.

The film takes place in the early 2000s and centers on the tribulations of John F Donovan (Harington), an American TV star in his late 20s, and his correspondence with Rupert Turner, a young actor-to-be living with his mother in England. Their lives take dramatic turns when the existence of their pen pal relationship is publicly exposed, eliciting the most ill-founded assumptions and sending Donovan in a vertical downfall. A decade later, the young actor recollects his relationship with his past idol over the course of an interview.

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan will likely premiere in 2017.

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