Perhaps you’ve read about Natalie Portman’s next project, the Western Jane Got A Gun. Portman stars as Jane, a woman whose husband returns home shot up from a run-in with outlaws. Jane must then take up arms and turn to an ex-lover for help as she prepares to defend herself and her husband from the jerks coming to finish him off. It sounds benign enough, if not interesting or different.
What makes Portman’s production newsworthy is the exit of Michael Fassbender from the role as her ex-lover. Joel Edgerton, originally cast in another role, then moved into the ex-lover role and Jude Law took Edgerton’s vacated role. That was last week and yesterday was scheduled to be the first day of shooting with accomplished director Lynne Ramsay (We Need To Talk About Kevin).
Ramsay just didn’t show up.
A director with three films under her belt, films of high quality, just doesn’t show up for work with Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Jude Law, and Rodrigo Santoro? An indie film where she has already been confirmed and worked through casting changes and all of the preperation that comes with directing a film? There has to be more to this story, but Ramsay is tight-lipped at the moment. Portman’s fellow producer, Scott Steindorff, is most definitely not keeping quiet:
“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… My focus is on making this movie, but I will protect all my rights. This comes down to an irresponsible act by one person.”
Seriously, who does this? Who just doesn’t show up for work in an industry where it is difficult enough for a female director to be hired, especially when the film is this filled with big names? Ramsay couldn’t let someone know before she skipped out on her duties and before the cast and crew arrived on set to find they didn’t actually have a job to do? It’s unprofessional, to say the least, and I am very interested in Ramsay’s reasoning behind such a dramatic exit.
UPDATE: Warrior director Gavin O’Connor has been hired to replace Ramsay.
UPDATE 2: Upon reaching Lynne Ramsay’s manager, Huffington Post learned the director
is was represented by producer Scott Steindorff’s daughter. Jessica Steindorff has sided with her father in the matter.
UPDATE 3 Jude Law has now formally exited production, likely because he signed on to work with Ramsay and not O’Conner. (Deadline)