Willem Dafoe to play painter Van Gogh in new biopic

Hollywood star Willem Dafoe at the 71st Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido on Sept 4, 2017.
Hollywood star Willem Dafoe at the 71st Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido on Sept 4, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

CANNES, FRANCE (AFP) - Hollywood star Willem Dafoe is to play the painter Vincent Van Gogh in a new film about the tortured genius by artist Julian Schnabel, its producers said Sunday (May 21).

At Eternity's Gate takes its title from one of Van Gogh's last canvasses which shows a man holding his head in his hands.

"This is a film about painting and a painter and their relationship to infinity," said Schnabel, who won best director at the Cannes film festival in 2007 for The Diving Bell And The Butterfly.

"It is told by a painter. It contains what I felt were essential moments in his life. This is not the official history - it's my version," he added.

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Schnabel wrote the script with acclaimed French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere (The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, 1988).

The film, which will be shot in France, centres on Van Gogh's time in the southern French city of Arles and the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris.