Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan says he has cut Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain from his upcoming movie “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.”
Dolan said in an Instagram post on Sunday evening that he had to rework the first cut of his film — his English-language debut — which was more than four hours long.
“We loved every (one) of the assembled scenes, but knew a more profound reflection on the film’s form and focus awaited us,” Dolan wrote.
“All sorts of developments unfold during the shooting of a film, as we know. Often, it isn’t before late into a production that it finds its tone…. It was an extremely difficult decision to make. I feel, toward Jessica, a very sincere love, and a great admiration. The decision was editorial and narrative, in that it has nothing to do with a performance, and everything to do with a character, and the compatibility of its storyline.”
Dolan, who has been editing the movie since May, said that Chastain’s villainous character simply did not fit with rest of the film’s pared-down story, but added he hoped to work with her again.
“I am disappointed that we didn’t get to reveal the exciting things we crafted together on this one adventure, but life is long, and missed opportunities almost always bode of even greater future collaborations,” he wrote.
Chastain also posted a statement on Instagram saying she had heard in advance about her character being cut and the process was “handled with the utmost respect and love.”
“I am always impressed with your true commitment to telling a story,” Chastain wrote in her statement, addressing Dolan.
“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.”
Dolan said he’s “beyond happy” with the film and eager to share it with fans.
He didn’t mention a release date, but said “the sooner, the better.”
The film has a star-studded cast including Natalie Portman, Kit Harington and Susan Sarandon.