Here’s Why Jessica Chastain Was Cut From Xavier Dolan’s New Film

Photo by Shayne Laverdière

She was previously the face of ‘The Death and Life of John F. Donovan’

Jessica Chastain has been cut from Xavier Dolan's upcoming movie, The Death and Life Of John F. Donovan. Chastain was among a star-studded cast, which includes Natalie Portman, Kit Harington, Susan Sarandon, Jacob Tremblay, Thandie Newton, Kathy Bates, and Dumbledore himself, Michael Gambon.

This news comes as a bit of a surprise considering Chastain's fiery-haired character dominated early promotional material for the movie. From her character poster to the first-glimpse press imagery and BTS photos, Chastain's role appeared to be central to the film's plot. And, in a way, it was. Chastain's character was a ruthless gossip columnist, similar to Rita Skeeter of the Harry Potter world, most likely covering the events of fictional celebrity, John F. Donovan, whose death serves as the plot's tentpole. 

However, after what Dolan says was a four-hour first cut of the film and "a long period of reflection," her character was not necessary anymore. Dolan writes in a lengthy Instagram post:

What you need to hear from me is Jessica Chastain’s character, after what was a long period of reflection, had to be cut from the film. It was an extremely difficult decision to make. I feel, toward Jessica, a 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. This “villain” subplot, albeit funny and entertaining, didn’t feel like it belonged to the rest of the story, which ended up not being on heroes or their nemesis, but rather on childhood, and its dreams. There is, in this film, a conversation on show business, yes, but it was in the family dynamics—and, once again, in mothers and sons relationships—that the heart of this film resided.

Too often casting and narrative decisions aren't public knowledge. Dolan's transparency is to be commended and highlights the artistry of filmmaking, editing, and storytelling that gets glossed over by Hollywood's shine. Addressing Chastain's character being cut head-on immediately clears the air, leaving no ifs, ands, or buts to question. Chastain, too, has publicly addressed the decision, choosing to honor the art of it all.

"I am always impressed with your true commitment to telling a story," Chastain writes. "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." 

Honestly? We do, too. Perhaps there's enough material from that four-hour cut to create a villain-only story for Chastain's character.

Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.



Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.