Acclaimed director Paul Schrader, known for his significant contributions to cinema, recently disclosed plans for what may be one of his final film projects. In an interview with New York Magazine, Schrader announced that he will be adapting the late Russell Banks’ novel, “Foregone,” into a film titled “Oh, Canada.”
The film promises to be an emotionally stirring exploration into the life of Leonard Fife, a tormented writer nearing the end of his life. Fife, to be portrayed by Richard Gere, is a Canadian American leftist who fled to Canada to evade the Vietnam War draft. Now battling cancer in Montreal, Fife consents to a last interview, during which he plans to reveal his closely guarded secrets and unravel the myths surrounding his life.
“Oh, Canada” marks a thematic shift from Schrader’s recent Robert Bresson-inspired trilogy, which includes the critically acclaimed films “First Reformed” (2018), “The Card Counter” (2021), and the soon-to-be-released “Master Gardener” (2023). Despite the success of these films, Schrader’s upcoming project seems to return to the introspective and existential themes that have defined much of his career.
As Schrader approaches his 77th birthday, he continues to face his own health challenges with determination and passion for his craft. During the filming of “The Master Gardener,” he refused hospitalization and continued to work while relying on an oxygen tank. Even as he referred to this project as his “last rodeo” at the Venice premiere, his commitment to film remains undeterred.
“Oh, Canada,” adapted from Banks’ “Foregone,” offers an opportunity to witness the continued dedication and artistry of Paul Schrader. As the director defies health struggles to bring this poignant narrative to the screen, audiences are eagerly awaiting the production of what promises to be another memorable cinematic experience from the legendary filmmaker.