Xavier Dolan won't submit his next movie, which stars Natalie Portman and Jessica Chastain, to the Cannes Film Festival to avoid personal attacks that masquerade as movie criticism.
In a post on his Instagram account, the Canadian director wrote that The Death and Life of John F. Donovan won't be ready in time for Cannes. An unanticipated hiatus will now take completion of production from November 2016 to June 2017.
But Dolan also wrote "the culture of trolling, bullying and unwarranted hatred shouldn't be an inextricable part of the cinematic or analytical adventure." Dolan, who has brought five of his previous six movies to Cannes for a world premiere, has in The Death and Life of John F. Donovan his most star-studded project to date.
But the indie, which features Kit Harington as an American TV star in a pen-pal relationship exposed by a gossip columnist, reveals a harsh media treatment Dolan wants to avoid in Cannes, and which greeted his 2016 film It's Only the End of the World before it earned the Grand Jury Prize on the Croisette.
"Since it appears we live in a time where they (critics) are unable to be disassociated, it is one's right to choose different trajectories for his work, without necessarily acting out of frustration, or reprisal," Dolan wrote on his Instagram account. The director has been a Cannes darling since first feature, I Killed My Mother, took top honors in the Directors' Fortnight program in 2009.
That was before Dolan's fifth feature, Mommy, in 2014 shared the third-place Jury Prize in Cannes. But It's Only the End of the World, his sixth film, which stars Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard and Lea Seydoux, received a critical mauling when screening in official competition.
The Death and Life of John F. Donovan's bypassing Cannes makes it more likely the film will debut in Venice, where his 2013 film Tom at the Farm had its world premiere, and then shift to Telluride and Toronto as launchpads.
A photo posted by xavierdolan (@xavierdolan) on Sep 18, 2016 at 4:16am PDT