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8/11/2017

Nancy Grant Says Xavier Dolan's 'John F. Donovan' Will Debut this Fall

Kit Harrington in The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
Photo by Shane Laverdière / eOne Films
The plot thickens! After much debate and speculation ensued when Xavier Dolan's upcoming star-studded English-language debut The Death and Life of John F. Donovan was not included in the Toronto International Film Festival's Canadian programming announcement comes another oddity. According to Marc-André Lussier at La presse, the film's producer, Nancy Grant, says Donovan will premiere at a festival this fall.

Lussier says Grant refused to say anything further about where or under what circumstances the film would premiere. Film buffs already know that Donovan will not be premiering at Venice, which debuted Dolan's Tom at the Farm, nor at New York, since the glitzy Italian festival and buzzy American fête already unveiled Xavier-free slates for the main attractions. Lussier's article, which was released prior to the TIFF announcement, conformed with consensus that the film would hit Toronto--a fair assumption given the roster of stars, several of whom, like Jessica Chastain, have other films at the festival--but he also speculates that Dolan's eyeing the prestige of Telluride. 

As noted in this week's report from the TIFF launch, the absence of the Dolan was the talking point of the event. Many friends in film and media said, albeit speculatively, that the lack of Donovan was an issue of prestige and a clash of egos. One member from the TIFF Canadian team said the film wasn't ready, but if Grant said it will be for a fall debut... will it appear in the final waves of TIFF line-ups or in a Labour Day weekend surprise?

At least one other Canadian director says his film isn't done either, but it's playing TIFF, and many screenings open with directors saying the final lock came down to the wire. Aside from the AFI, Vancouver, Whistler, or Montreal's Festival du Nouveau Cinema, there aren't many fall options.