A talented filmmaker capable of delivering unconventional indies and riveting crowdpleasers without ever sacrificing a moment of genuine emotion, Gus Van Sant has more than proven throughout the years that his projects are worth keeping a close eye on. Van Sant’s next film, Sea of Trees, is no different – especially because it stars Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey.
McConaughey stars alongside Ken Watanabe (Godzilla) in the low-budgeted drama, about an American man who encounters a Japanese man in Japan’s infamous Suicide Forest, where many people go to end their lives. Bonding over their shared sadness, the two set out into the forest on a journey of self-reflection.
Recently, Katie Aselton, of FX’s comedy The League, joined Sea of Trees in a supporting role. She’ll play a woman who had an affair with McConaughey’s character. Naomi Watts is already set to play McConaughey’s on-screen wife. Both Aselton and Watts’ characters are only expected to appear via flashback, as the focus is squarely on the journey undertaken by McConaughey and Watanabe’s leads.
Adding to our anticipation for Sea of Trees is the fact that Chris Sparling’s script landed on the 2013 Black List, an annual Hollywood compendium for the most-liked but unproduced screenplays. It certainly sounds like an unusual, if heavy story, but Van Sant is exactly the type of director I feel comfortable trusting with such a set-up. He’s delivered many moving, inspiring stories with weighty premises in the past, and the cast that the director is working with on this project just improves its chances of turning into something great.
No word yet on a release date for Sea of Trees, but production kicked off in F. Gilbert Hills State Forest in Foxborough, Massachusetts last month and will move to Japan in September.