The Death & Life of John F. Donovan

A decade after the death of an American TV star, a young actor reminisces about the written correspondence he once shared with the former, as well as the impact those letters had on both their lives.

Credits: TheMovieDb.

Film Cast:

  • John F. Donovan: Kit Harington
  • Rupert Turner: Jacob Tremblay
  • Sam Turner: Natalie Portman
  • Adult Rupert Turner: Ben Schnetzer
  • Audrey Newhouse: Thandiwe Newton
  • Grace Donovan: Susan Sarandon
  • Mrs. Kureishi: Amara Karan
  • Will Jefford Jr.: Chris Zylka
  • Amy Bosworth: Emily Hampshire
  • James Donovan: Jared Keeso
  • Barbara Haggermaker: Kathy Bates
  • Man in Diner: Michael Gambon
  • Liz Jones: Sarah Gadon
  • Eric: Dakota Jamal Wellman
  • Aunt Faith: Susan Almgren
  • Bonnie: Leni Parker
  • Billy: Ari Millen
  • Trish: Katy Breier
  • Adam’s Mother: Ellen David
  • Hellsome High Actress: Alison Louder
  • Hellsome High Actor: Matthew Raudsepp
  • Producer: Harry Standjofski
  • Director: Trevor Hayes
  • Director #2: Pat Kiely
  • Editor #1: Brent Skagford
  • Journalist #3: Sangita Patel
  • Cedric James: Lukas Rolfe
  • Aunt Anne: Jane Wheeler
  • Uncle Patrick: Craig Eldridge
  • Porter: Carolyn Fe
  • Sasha: Connor McMahon
  • Editor #2: Michael Daniel Murphy
  • Journalist #2: Holly Bernier
  • Journalist #4: Hamza Haq
  • Security Guard: Niko Nikolov
  • Club Boy #1: Patrick Allard
  • Fan in the Club: Pierre-Luc Lafontaine
  • Rupert’s Boyfriend: Gijs Blom

Film Crew:

  • Original Music Composer: Gabriel Yared
  • Co-Producer: Peter Carlton
  • Costume Design: Pierre-Yves Gayraud
  • Costume Design: Michele Clapton
  • Casting Director: Carmen Cuba
  • Producer: Lyse Lafontaine
  • Writer: Jacob Tierney
  • Producer: Xavier Dolan
  • Production Design: Colombe Raby
  • Cinematography: André Turpin
  • Editor: Mathieu Denis
  • Producer: Nancy Grant
  • Set Decoration: Susan Raney
  • VFX Artist: Alain Lachance
  • Makeup Artist: Linda Dowds
  • Art Direction: James Price
  • Set Designer: Raymond Larose
  • Set Designer: Lucie Tremblay
  • Picture Car Coordinator: Réal Hamel
  • Visual Effects Supervisor: Jean-François Ferland
  • Makeup Artist: Sian Grigg
  • Key Makeup Artist: Kathy Kelso
  • Costume Supervisor: Heather Leat
  • Set Decoration: Frédérique Bolté
  • Makeup Artist: Scott Hersh
  • Gaffer: Denis Lamothe
  • Makeup Artist: Maïna Militza
  • ADR Editor: Sylvain Brassard
  • Set Decoration: Pascale Deschênes
  • Art Department Assistant: Charles-Olivier Tremblay
  • Visual Effects Coordinator: Marie-Claude Lafontaine
  • Production Coordinator: Yves Desjardins
  • Transportation Coordinator: Marianne Messier Petit
  • Set Dresser: Louis Cyr
  • Co-Producer: Barry Ryan
  • Location Manager: Benoît Mathieu
  • Production Accountant: Liana Dee
  • Production Accountant: Christian Fluet
  • Costume Supervisor: Lenka Koutková
  • Makeup Artist: Julie Brisebois
  • Visual Effects Producer: Annie Cliche
  • Visual Effects Supervisor: Robert Bock
  • Set Dresser: Benoit Robitaille
  • Set Dresser: Georges Samuel
  • Set Designer: Radia Slaimi
  • Makeup Artist: Camiel McLean
  • Set Decoration: Sébastien Thivierge
  • Sound Effects Editor: Jean-Philippe Savard
  • Art Direction: Pierre Perrault
  • Set Dresser: Patrick Binette
  • Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Jean-Charles Liozu
  • Costume Supervisor: Suzanne Pakier
  • Set Designer: Anna Mayerová
  • Key Hair Stylist: Denis Vidal
  • VFX Artist: Ismaël Gros
  • Makeup Supervisor: Sjaan Gillings
  • Set Costumer: Karel Bocek

Movie Reviews:

  • cityguide: Perhaps best known as the film that Jessica Chastain’s role was cut from, Xavier Dolan’s upcoming drama is still plenty star-studded, featuring a cast that includes Natalie Portman, Jacob Tremblay, Thandie Newton, Susan Sarandon, and Kit Harington. Though little is truly known about the project — only a single 17-second teaser trailer has been released — it’s described as a reminiscence on the life and death of an American TV star (Kit Harington), as told through his then 11-year-old pen pal (Jacob Tremblay)
  • SWITCH.: You can see Xavier Dolan reaching for something grand with this film, a bigger story than he has ever attempted before and even more romantic questions of identity and self, but while one of the problems of ‘The Death and Life of John F. Donovan’ is that there are too many questions being asked, it doesn’t mean that any of them aren’t worth asking. This is still a Xavier Dolan film, and for all the right reasons, even down to his continuing dissection of the complex relationships between mothers and sons, and when he has sure footing, his flashes of spectacle in this film are really wonderful. He also connects so beautifully with his cast, with almost all of them in perfect step with him. This isn’t a hidden masterpiece, but it also is nowhere near a disaster. It’s an arresting misstep from a deeply passionate filmmaker who cares about every frame, who is trying for something genuine and honest, and yes, he chooses the framework of the privileged and the white, but these are (for all their problems) our modern mythical figures. To Rupert, John is a god, a superhero, an ideal to reach for, and the ultimate understanding of the film is that it is far more important to be human than iconic. In many ways, through his journey to discover that for himself, this is the gift that John gives Rupert in his letters. ‘The Death and Life of John F. Donovan’ will be a curiosity in the (hopefully long) career of this gifted filmmaker, and to be honest, a failed curiosity from Xavier Dolan is still a film worth every second.
    – Daniel Lammin

    Read Daniel’s full article…

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