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Coming Soon...Six Years Later

Kenneth Lonergan's much anticipated follow-up to ''You Can Count on Me'' finally gets a release. But why did it take so long?

Eleven years after making his directorial debut with the celebrated sibling drama You Can Count on Me, Kenneth Lonergan is finally set to unveil his long-awaited second movie. Fox Searchlight will release Margaret — the story of a 17-year-old New York City girl who feels guilty for causing a deadly traffic accident — in limited release on Sept. 30, six years after it was filmed. (How long ago was that? Anna Paquin, now 29, plays the teen.) Costar Mark Ruffalo, whose role in You Can Count on Me put him on the movie-star map, has called Margaret a ''love story to post-9/11 America.'' And the stellar cast also includes Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick, and Kieran Culkin. So why the long delay? Lonergan initially handed in a film that ran more than three hours long, well in excess of the reported 150-minute running time necessary to secure his right to final cut. Lawsuits were exchanged in 2008 between Fox Searchlight and producer Gary Gilbert as the studio feared it was stuck with an unreleasable movie, and Gilbert was unable to get Lonergan to trim his opus. The company now says in a statement, ''Although the film has had a long journey from filming to completion, we are looking forward to getting this film out to audiences this fall.'' But who won, and whose version of the movie will we see? Though Lonergan has remained silent about the legal wrangling, there might be a clue in the official running time: 149 minutes, with one minute to spare.

Originally posted Aug 12, 2011 Published in issue #1168-1169 Aug 19, 2011 Order article reprints