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Xavier Dolan Reveals His Next Feature ‘Matt & Max’



Following the star-studded English-language title ‘The Death and Life of John F. Donovan,’ the prolific French Canadian auteur is returning to his roots with an intimate drama set in Quebec.

His latest feature hasn’t even premiered yet, but French Canadian art-house darling Xavier Dolan is already preparing his next project.

Dolan is currently in the last stages of post-production on his English-language debut, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, which will premiere sometime later this year. The drama, about the secret correspondence between a Hollywood TV actor (Kit Harrington) and a young fan (Jacob Tremblay), has a starry cast that also includes Natalie Portman, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates and Jessica Chastain.

Including Donovan, the actor and writer-director, who will turn 29 in March, has made a staggering seven films since he debuted his first feature, I Killed My Mother, in Cannes nine years ago.

He has already lined up his next project for a possible premiere in 2019 as well: Matt & Max, a French-language drama that will focus on friends in their late 20s.

After the 2016 Cannes Grand Prix winner It’s Only the End of the World, which featured an all-French cast that included Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel, and the English-language Donovan, the multi-hyphenate is returning home for his eighth feature. Matt & Max will be shot in his native Quebec with French Canadian actors who are also Dolan’s friends, which seems apt given that friendship is one of its major themes.

No doubt the most welcome news for his fans is the fact he hopes to cast his muse, Anne Dorval — who played the iconic maternal characters in both Mommy and I Killed My Mother — in the role of Max’s mother. Dolan himself will play Max.

“My desire to talk about homosexuality and how we live with it, how we see it, how we label it, how we organize it as a society” was part of the idea behind Donovan, the director tells THR. But finally, the film became “more of an homage to the family dramas of the ’90s rather than a profound reflection on what it is to be gay,” so he felt the need to tackle the subject more directly in his new film.

At the same time, he was confronted with a recent crop of high-quality LGBTQ films, including Boy Erased, a conversion-therapy drama written and directed by Joel Edgerton that stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, as well as Dolan. The film will be released in the U.S. by Focus Features in September.

“This year I’ve been exposed to films that I felt were so brave and so authentic in their writing and how they talked about queer love,” explains Dolan, who suggests that some of his previous films, like Mommy, could be perceived as “coy” about the sexuality of the characters. “I have felt the need to explore characters that weren’t necessarily gay,” he says, but “when I read Boy Erased, it touched my heart. I was getting tattooed at the time, and it just took all the pain away. It made me want to go back to writing a script about characters who are gay.”

The desire to write was so strong, he says, that part of the Matt & Max screenplay was actually written while Dolan was shooting Boy Erased in Atlanta last September. “I’ve been writing about kids and adolescents,” he adds, but lately “I have been confronted with such mature material, like Boy Erased, Call Me by Your Name and God’s Own Country, and that gave me the desire to talk about homosexuality from an adult — and not a post-adolescent — point of view, and to talk about my generation and my friends and friendships. It made me want to write about two best friends falling in love who had never realized they could have a preference for men. I want to talk about true friendship and true love.”

The Matt & Max screenplay was finalized earlier this month, and Dolan plans to shoot the film in the fall. As for what to expect, the director suggests that “it would be a combination of [Dolan’s 2013 release] Tom at the Farm, aesthetically, and Mommy in terms of energy and spirit.”

Editor-in-Chief of Movie Marker. Likes: Scorsese, Spielberg and Tarantino Dislikes: The film 'Open Water' I mean, what was that all about?


Aquaman Director Teases Two Of The Film’s Creatures, And Gosh They Look Silly



So, Aquaman is a film that’s coming out. It feels like, as a culture, the general cinema-going public still hasn’t quite acclimated to the idea that an Aquaman film is just two months away. Like, y’know, a film about Aquaman. Aquaman.

One person looking to change that general perception is director James Wan, who shared new glimpses at some of the film’s mounted ocean creatures and… oh good lord, just look at them.

Click through to get an even-higher resolution look at what’s to come, but as you can see there’s a saddle-mounted hammerhead shark, and a tylosaurus (a sort-of prehistoric crocodile). Yeah.

Aquaman is due out on the 14th of December, rated 12A, and stars Jason Momoa as the titular rightful ruler of Atlantis. As the film’s PR campaign ramps up, WB released a five-minute extended trailer just a few weeks ago, which you can check out here.

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Box Office News

Halloween Scores Series-Best Opening, As Venom Crosses $450m Worldwide



Jamie Lee Curtis’ rebootquel Halloween scored a domestic opening of $77.5 million this weekend, after an impressive $27.2M Saturday. Not only does that easily make it the best US opening for John Carpenter’s four-decade old franchise, but it also solidifies it as the second-best opening ever for the month of October behind Sony’s Venom, which netted $80.2M just a few weeks ago.

Speaking of Venom, the critically-derided, audience-adored antihero flick starring Tom Hardy took another $18 million in the US this week, and a further $32 million internationally, taking the film’s global total to a staggering $460.2 million – for perspective, that’s bottom-end MCU money, beating out titles like Thor ($449.3m), Captain America: The First Avenger ($370.6m) and The Incredible Hulk ($263.4m), and gaining on films like Ant-Man ($519.3m) and the original Iron Man ($585.2m). Venom is still yet to open in China and Japan.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ smash-hit musical drama A Star Is Born is still raking in the dough. Star/director Bradley Cooper’s feature, which has garnered a big push in ticket sales from the successful stunt-casting of Lady Gaga as the secondary lead, brought its tally up to $201 million internationally this week, and looks set to continue hanging on at the box office despite fierce October competition.

All three films are in UK cinemas now, with Venom and A Star Is Born both rated 15, and Halloween rather expectedly rated 18.

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Casting News

Ana de Armas Joins Daniel Craig In Rian Johnson’s Knives Out



Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049) has officially signed on to join actors Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Michael Shannon in Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.

The film, which Johnson also wrote, is scheduled to start shooting next month. Knives Out has been described as a contemporary whodunit, with Craig portraying an archetypal grizzled detective, tasked with getting to the bottom of a classic locked-room murder mystery.

Johnson is set to produce with his creative partner Ram Bergman, and studios are expected to bid fiercely for the rights to distribute the feature in the coming months. Craig was previously pencilled in to begin shooting Bond 25 for director Danny Boyle at the tail end of this year, but when Boyle departed that project following creative differences it freed up the Casino Royale actor’s schedule to join Knives Out.

Somewhat ironically, Ana de Armas can next be seen in an untitled project from Danny Boyle, which is likely to release prior to Johnson’s crime thriller.

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