“What you need to hear from me is that Jessica Chastain’s character, after what was a long period of reflection, had to be cut from the film,” Dolan wrote. “It was an extremely difficult decision to make. I feel, toward Jessica, a very 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.”
In his post, Donovan revealed that the initial cut of the film was over four hours long, and, though he praised Chastain’s work, the “villain subplot” felt like it did not belong with the rest of the story. Chastain is no longer listed as a member of the cast on the film’s IMDb page, nor is the film listed as one of her upcoming projects.
When one Twitter user asked Dolan if there was a possibility of releasing an uncut version with Chastain’s scenes included, the director responded that he would “love to include certain scenes on the DVD.”
“The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” is still set to star Kit Harington, Ben Schnetzer, Natalie Portman, Bella Thorne, Susan Sarandon, Jacob Tremblay, Jared Keeso, Kathy Bates, Thandie Newton, Michael Gambon, and Sarah Gadon.