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Xavier Dolan Reveals His Next Feature ‘Matt & Max’

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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?

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The Nun Tracking For Impressive $32M+ Opening Weekend

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Warner Bros.’ might have an early Halloween treat on their hands, with their Conjuring-adjacent fright-flick The Nun on track to earn $32 million domestically in its opening weekend, with some outlets even predicting as high as $37 million.

For a low-budget, concept-driven horror, those are good numbers, and will comfortably turn the studio a profit. The Nun, a spinoff from The Conjuring 2, will be set in 1950s Romania and follow a Catholic priest and a novitiate as they investigate the apparent suicide of a nun. Collectively, the Conjuring shared universe has currently generated WB over $1 billion.

Though a $32M-$37M opening would indeed set off some smiles in the studio boardroom, it’s unlikely that The Nun will match the numbers of the same weekend last year, which saw director Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King classic It smash box office records and generate $123 million in its opening weekend.

The Nun stars Taissa Farmiga, Bonnie Aarons, Jonny Coyne, Charlotte Hope, Demian Bichir, and Jonas Bloquet. It has been directed by Corin Hardy, and is due for release in UK cinemas on the 7th of September, rated 15.

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The Meg Nets Over $200M Worldwide, Now 3rd-Highest Grossing Shark Film Of All Time

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After just one week at the global box office, Jason Statham-vehicle The Meg has chomped $213.4 million for itself on an estimated budget of $150 million.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure), Warner Bros.’ The Meg follows a team of scientists working together to take down a 70-foot prehistoric shark known as the Carcharodon Megalodon – or, The Meg. The picture has now become the third-highest grossing shark film of all time, unadjusted for inflation, behind 2004’s animated family comedy Shark Tale ($367.3M) and Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic Jaws ($470.7M).

Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose and Winston Chao all co-star with Statham in the project, which currently has a 4.6 score on Metacritic, and a 6.2 User Review score on IMDb. Warner Bros. are reportedly thrilled at the flick’s overperformance, especially in China where Bingbing is a household name – yet another modern example of Hollywood prioritising the emerging mega-market of the Middle Kingdom and it paying off in droves.

The Meg is in UK cinemas now, rated 12A.

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‘Millie Bobby Brown Voicing A VR Experience For Darren Aronofsky’ Is The Most 2018 Headline You’ll Read Today

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Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobby Brown has signed on to narrate the second ‘episode’ in a three-part virtual reality experience entitled Spheres, from creative auteur Darren Aronofsky.

Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) lent her voice to the first episode, which was unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival. The third episode premiered before the second, at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was narrated by Patti Smith (Song to Song). Aronofsky has produced the series, which is described as a ‘virtual journey’ – because of course it is – and is based on the famous ‘Pale Blue Dot‘ image of Earth, taken by the Voyager 1 probe in 1990. All three episodes were directed by up-and-comer Eliza McNitt (Fistful of Stars).

The series will be shown off for the first time in its entirety at the Venice Film Festival, as part of the event’s virtual reality section, from the 29th of August until the 8th of September. Spheres will be released to the public on the Oculus VR system following the culmination of the VFF.

Millie Bobby Brown can next be seen in Legendary’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters, due on the 31st May next year.

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