Jessica Chastain will not appear in The Death and Life of John F. Donovan after all.
French Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan made the announcement via Instagram Sunday. The drama—his English-language debut—boasts an ensemble cast that includes Kathy Bates, Kit Harington, Jared Keeso, Ben Schnetzer, Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandona and Bella Thorne.
When the project was announced in December 2014—with both Chastain and Harington attached to star—Dolan released an official synopsis. “A decade ago, the publisher of a gossip magazine, Moira, exposed the correspondences of an American TV star, John F. Donovan, with an 11-year-old British boy, Rupert Turner. A storm kills Donovan’s life and career and culminates in his death. Ten years later, Turner reminiscences the written correspondence, as well as the impact those letters had on both their lives.” Les Films Séville is distributing the film.
In a lengthy note, Dolan defended his decision to remove Chastain’s scenes.