While it's not every day a filmmaker cuts a two-time Academy Award nominee from their film, Dolan made that "extremely difficult decision." He opened up about his tough call in an Instagram post on Monday, and basically, it comes down to the story he wants to tell. Although he has a "very sincere love" and "great admiration" for Chastain, he realized that her character and storyline didn't fit the film.
"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," Dolan wrote, in part, in a statement uploaded as a series of photos. "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."
The first cut of the film "topped four hours," according to Dolan, so cuts had to be made. The fact that Chastain had to go is surprising, but Dolan should know what he's doing. His cast still includes Natalie Portman, Kit Harington, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Thandie Newton, and more, so although they are down one star, many more remain.
"The Death and Life of John F. Donovan" does not yet have a release date.