Cinema gold child Xavier Dolan is putting his English-language debut “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” on the back burner to write and direct “It’s Only the End of the World,” an adaptation of Jean-Luc Lagarce’s chamber play. His heavenly cast will include Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Nathalie Baye and Gaspard Ulliel.
In the play, a writer estranged from his family for 12 years returns home to announce his upcoming death, only to derail the course of the afternoon as resentment, bitterness, feuds, misunderstandings, loneliness and doubt float to the surface.
Xavier Dolan, who cherishes his actors, said in a statement, “To reunite them has been a jigsaw puzzle of the highest Byzantine complexity but I’d honestly kill to be in a room with those five extraordinary, creative individuals.” Dolan said that Anne Dorval, whom he has directed in all his films including most recently “Mommy,” brought the play to his attention years ago.
According to Dolan, his other upcoming project “John F. Donovan” — a Hollywood satire set to star Jessica Chastain, Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon and Kit Harrington — won’t start shooting “before next fall, and I want to be on the ground again before we power the ‘Donovan’ machine.” Production on “It’s Only the End of the World” is set to begin at the end of May after the project is shopped at the Cannes market. Dolan won the Jury Prize last year for “Mommy” and this year sits on the Competition jury under the Coen Brothers.
Entertainment One boutique sales outfit Seville International and Quebec distribution arm Les Films Seville, alongside producers Sons of Manual and MK2, will present the film at Cannes. Sons of Manual’s Nancy Grant and Xavier Dolan and MK2’s Nathanaël Karmitz will serve as producers along with Sylvain Corbeil. eOne, which has handled much of Dolan’s output, and Les Films Séville have confirmed that they will directly distribute the film throughout Canada and Québec.