Seeing the phrase “A Gus Van Sant Film” on a movie poster is a real mixed blessing. Sometimes it means you’re looking at the next Milk or My Own Private Idaho. And sometimes you’re looking at Gerry, the one about Matt Damon getting lost in the desert. Or that one about Matthew McConaughey in the Japanese suicide forest from 3 years ago. Remember that one? No? Me either.
But no matter what, “A Gus Van Sant” film is usually a great conversation starter — and his next picture looks like it’ll have plenty of people talking. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot is based on the memoir of cartoonist John Callahan, who became paralyzed in a car accident at the age of 21 and discovered drawing as a form of therapy. His darkly funny, controversial work has been featured in publications like The New Yorker, Penthouse, and Playboy. Joaquin Phoenix, who worked with Van Sant on To Die For over 20 years ago, stars as Callahan. He’ll be teaming up with Rooney Mara (who is also starring with Phoenix in the upcoming Mary Magdalene) as well as Jonah Hill, Jack Black, and a passel of other recognizable actors and musicians from Udo Kier to Kim Gordon.
Here is the official synopsis:
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.
And here is the poster!
The idea for the film has been kicking around Hollywood since Callahan’s book was released in 1989. Robin Williams was a fan, and supposedly tried to produce and star in an adaptation of this memoir during the 1990s. Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot will debut at the Sundance Film Festival this month, and will be released in theaters May 11, 2018.