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Matt Damon and Anna Paquin film finally coming to theaters after six years

Matt Damon and Anna Paquin film finally coming to theaters after six years (photo)

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The Playlist spotted an item from Exhibitor Relations that brings some surprising news: Fox Searchlight will finally open Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret” on September 30. The long lost film has been sitting on a shelf for a very long time. How long? So long that when casting announcements were made, Anna Paquin was still working on “X-Men: The Last Stand” — and it was still called “X3.” So long that people were already writing “Where is Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘Margaret?'” articles three years ago. Shooting originally wrapped in 2005.

Since then, the film has been bogged down in years of edits and re-edits, and numerous contentious lawsuits between Lonergan, the studio, and various other production and insurance entities. The whole sordid affair — or at least the whole sordid affair circa 2009 — can be found in the Los Angeles Times article “Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘Margaret’: post-production in a courtroom,” which outlines the main reason that the film is just now coming out six years after principal photography: “Lonergan [couldn’t] finish the film.”

“A number of producers and editors — including Rudin, Pollack and Martin Scorsese’s legendary editor, Thelma Schoonmaker — have tried but failed to help Lonergan complete his movie, court documents and interviews show. With his financing from [financier Gary] Gilbert and Fox Searchlight cut off, Lonergan borrowed more than $1 million from actor and close friend Matthew Broderick (who has a small part in “Margaret”) in an attempt to complete the editing of the movie, according to a person close to the production.”

But wait! There’s more!

“After a year and a half of editing, the situation imploded in the summer of 2007. Gilbert brought back the film’s original editors, [Anne] McCabe and Mike Fay, to recut the film while Lonergan was on vacation, but when Lonergan returned he ‘forbade’ them to work on the film.”

And that brings us basically to where we are now with — wait, what? There’s more?!?

“Not long after, ‘Margaret”s completion bond company, International Film Guarantors, which insures that the film will be finished and delivered in a timely manner, stepped in. Lonergan gave IFG an earlier cut of the film (which Gilbert says was “randomly selected” and “incoherent”), which was then delivered to Fox Searchlight last June. With the film in hand, Fox Searchlight demanded that Gilbert and Camelot pay its contractually obligated share of the film’s budget, $6.2 million, which they haven’t paid.

Okay, is that it? Probably not, but I’m just going to move on before we’re stuck here all day.

That is a lot of legal wrangling for just one movie. But just what is the movie about? The Times piece also includes a detailed synopsis of the plot, which is reprinted, word for word, on “Margaret”‘s Wikipedia page (it might be considered slightly SPOILERish, so be aware):

“The story revolves around a 17-year-old New York City high school student named Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin), who may have contributed to a bus accident in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Lisa’s mother, Joan (played by Lonergan’s wife, J. Smith-Cameron), is a single mom grappling with parenting and her acting career. A sexually active teen, Lisa inappropriately flirts with one of her teachers (Matt Damon) while arguing with her classmates about the Middle East. Lisa ultimately becomes involved in a legal action against the bus operator (Mark Ruffalo). The film’s title comes from the Margaret in the poem ‘Spring and Fall: To a Young Child’ by 19th century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, briefly alluded to in one of Lisa’s classrooms.”

What remains unclear at the moment is exactly which of the myriad cuts of the film Fox Searchlight is going to release and just how sizable that release will be. Lonergan had final cut on the film — that’s the reason Fox didn’t just take the movie away from him after a couple years, edit it themselves, and release it — so unless that changed as a result of the settlement of all these lawsuits, it should be something the director is reasonably happy with. I’m curious to finally see this thing and to find out whether it’s even half as interesting as its own tortured history. Who knows how good the movie of “Margaret” will be, but the production of “Margaret” was juicy enough to make a great film itself.

Curious about a six year old movie? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or on and Twitter.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…