Now this is a story where all the details are clearly not on the table so to make any kind of snap-judgment or point fingers in any direction would be premature. However, the details as we know them at this point come from Deadline who report director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) did not show up for the first day of production yesterday, Monday, March 18, on what was to be her new film, Jane Got a Gun.
Deadline‘s Mike Fleming reports Ramsay “abruptly dropped out of the film” and of those that learned of her departure only yesterday include star and co-producers Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Jude Law and Rodrigo Santoro along with producer Scott Steindorff who is financing the picture through his label, Scott Pictures.
Now, to suggest Ramsay would simply bail without any warning or writing on the wall seems silly to imply. I have a hard time believing there wasn’t any thought of turmoil prior to this point. The fact Jude Law only joined the picture last Tuesday, and subsequently taking on the villain role once occupied by Edgerton as Edgerton moved into the hero role to replace the departing Michael Fassbender.
However, for now Ramsay is being made the villain and it may actually be a fair characterization considering she did develop the picture and her not showing up does put a lot of other jobs in jeopardy. Ramsay has a pay or play deal and Steindorff indicates crew is still showing up to work and the project, with actors rehearsing scenes.
Steindorff added, “I have millions of dollars invested, we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast… I’m shocked and so disappointed someone would do this to 150 crew members who devoted so much time, energy, commitment and loyalty to a project, and then have the director not show up. It is insane somebody would do this to other people. I feel more for the crew and their families, but we are keeping the show going on, directors are flying in, and a replacement is imminent.”
When it comes to legal ramifications, Steindorff has retained litigator Marty Singer and tells Fleming, “She was pay or play, and Marty Singer has been retained. My focus is on making this movie, but I will protect all my rights. This comes down to an irresponsible act by one person.”
So it sounds like the intention is to keep the film moving, but I have no idea what kind of director is going to step in on a film and carry out someone else’s vision without it ending up a clouded mess. As for the story, Portman plays a woman whose outlaw husband returns home riddled with bullet wounds and barely alive. When her husband’s gang eventually tracks him down to finish the job, she is forced to reach out to an ex-lover (Edgerton) and ask if he will help defend her farm.