When Gus Van Sant’s latest feature The Sea of Trees debuted at Cannes nearly a year ago, expectations were high. A skilled actor’s director, Van Sant’s collaboration with buzzy star Matthew McConaughey was presumed to be an insta-hit and a possible Oscar contender in the making. McConaughey’s professional capital has never been higher, and the Cannes set has always been fond of Van Sant, awarding him the Palme d’Or for his school-shooting drama Elephant in 2003. So it came as that much more of a shock when audiences roundly rejected The Sea of Trees, complete with booing and walkouts. (Though that sounds a bit more dramatic than it is. Cannes audiences love big gestures; nearly everything gets either a standing ovation or jeering, and in the rarest of occasions, both.)
Gus Van Sant
The drama finds McConaughey portraying a wayward businessman who travels to Aokigahara to end his life, but before he can do so, he meets a like-minded soul (Ken Watanabe) who’s come for the same reason.
Turns out Gus Van Sant really wants to direct '50 Shades of Grey' -- so bad, in fact, that he recruited Alex Pettyfer ('Magic Mike') to shoot a sex scene with a number of actress to present to the studio and author E.L. James. Did it work?
We're starting to get a good look at this year's Oscar race, and one of the newest contenders is 'Promised Land' which was directed by Gus Van Sant, and stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski. Damon and Krasinski also wrote it (from a story by Dave Eggers), so yeah, this is definitely a contender.
Gus Van Sant's latest effort is shaping up rather nicely, with a script from Matt Damon and John Krasinski (who both also star), and now legendary actor Hal Holbrook is negotiating to join the roster.