Six years and two lawsuits later, the Matt Damon film, Margaret, is finally set to hit theaters at the end of the month. Director and reported perfectionist, Kenneth Lonergan has refused to release the film until now, insisting it needed further edits and spurring multiple legal disputes.
The film began shooting in September, 2005 and also stars Anna Paquin, Mark Rufallo and Allison Janney. The story centers on a New York City high schooler (a pre-”True Blood” Paquin) who witnesses a fatal bus accident. Damon plays the teen’s teacher, who becomes the object of her inappropriate affection.
The trouble with Margaret began in the film’s post production. Lonergan is granted the final say with films he directs, even though Margaret is only his second film (the first film he directed was 2000′s You Can Count On Me). He struggled to complete the film to his satisfaction, refusing aide and input from other professionals and required more money to finish the movie. Fox Searchlight refused to put anymore money towards the film and producer Gary Gilbert began to fund Lonergran’s post production. Lonergan reportedly borrowed over $1 million from friend Matthew Broderick, who has a small role in the film, in order to continue production.
In 2008, Fox Searchlight filed a lawsuit against Gilbert and his company, Camelot Films, claiming they did not pay all the necesary production costs for Margaret. Gilbert struck back with another suit, two months later, against Fox Searchlight and Lonergan, saying he was forced to put up extra funds due to Lonergan’s refusals to finish the film, claiming the director evaded efforts to complete production.
The lawsuits temporarily halted further production on Margaret, but this July, Fox Searchlight announced Lonergan had completed the film. Margaret will officially hit theaters on September 30, six years after filming began. Matt Damon has said he will attend the film’s premiere.