Van Sant returns with a passion project that will finally see the light of day at Sundance.
Gus Van Sant didn’t really have the best of fortunes with his last picture. You know the one, The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Watts, and Ken Watanabe. Apparently, shooting anything in a suicide forest is a bad idea. Well, Gus Van Sant has a new project on the table and this one is a reunion with Joaquin Phoenix.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a traditional Sundance selection through and through. The story follows John Callahan (Phoenix), who is an alcoholic whose only joy comes from drawing comic strips in the funny pages. His drinking has left him a shell of a man, but his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and AA buddy (Jonah Hill) will try to get him back on the right foot. It should be mentioned that in addition to being an alcoholic, Callahan is also paralyzed which can’t make life all too easy in the first place. The project has been in the works for over twenty years and the late Robin Williams was attached for quite a while, but they just couldn’t get it made. Now we’ll get to see how Phoenix does in this performance.
After Portland slacker John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) nearly loses his life in a car accident, the last thing he intends to do is give up drinking. But when he reluctantly enters treatment – with encouragement from his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and a charismatic sponsor (Jonah Hill) – Callahan discovers a gift for drawing edgy, irreverent newspaper cartoons that develop a national following and grant him a new lease on life. Based on a true story, this poignant, insightful and often funny drama about the healing power of art is adapted from Callahan’s autobiography and directed by two-time Oscar® nominee Gus Van Sant. Jack Black, Carrie Brownstein, Beth Ditto and Kim Gordon also star.
Sundance has a long tradition of champing these underdog stories. Remember titles such as Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Other People? Those were other high profile Sundance features that just haven’t aged all that well. There is hope that Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot will be a winner though. It already has distribution through Amazon and for every misfire Van Sant has had, he has also done classics like Good Will Hunting and My Own Private Idaho, so he definitely has the ability to direct a winner. We’ll find out shortly as Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot will be premiering at Sundance in just a few days.