March 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm #95211
She decided not to show up:
When the cast and crew of the indie drama Jane Got A Gun showed up for the first day of production Monday in Sante Fe, they learned that director Lynne Ramsay was a no-show and had abruptly dropped out of the film. Among those who learned of her exit yesterday were Natalie Portman, who stars in the film and is producing with Scott Steindorff, Joel Edgerton, Jude Law and Rodrigo Santoro. Steindorff, who is financing the picture through his Scott Pictures label, confirmed the crisis and said they are determined to hold the picture together until they set a new director. He said that would happen imminently.
A lot of filmmakers step off projects and we chalk it up to creative differences, but I can’t remember a situation when a filmmaker who developed a film didn’t show up for work on the day it starts production. Clearly there was drama the weekend before, but this is pretty shocking. Not surprisingly, Steindorff indicated that there is a high level of acrimony here. He said that Ramsay has a pay or play deal, and that he has also retained litigator Marty Singer to keep his options open. The crew is still showing up to work and the project is still being cash flowed, with actors rehearsing scenes.
“I have millions of dollars invested, we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast,” Steindorff told Deadline. “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.”
As for the prospect of legal ramifications, Steindorff said: “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.”
Ramsay, best known for directing We Need To Talk About Kevin, wasn’t immediately available for comment, but I will update this as I learn more.
In the Brian Duffield-scripted drama, Portman plays the title character, a woman whose outlaw husband returns home riddled with bullets. Convinced his gang will return to finish him off and destroy her farm, the woman turns to an ex-lover she hasn’t seen in a decade to help her defend the farm.March 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm #95213
Jane Got a Gun but not a director. As first reported by Deadline.com, director Lynne Ramsay (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”) left the new film “Jane Got A Gun” on the first day of shooting, forcing producers to scramble for a replacement. Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Joel Edgerton are set to star in the Western, which focuses on a young woman who defends her farm and husband against an outlaw gang with the help of an ex-lover.
“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,” producer Scott Steindorff told Deadline.com. “It is insane somebody would do this to other people.” Portman is also a producer on the film.
HuffPost Entertainment reached out to Ramsay’s manager for comment on the situation. In a twist, the director’s representative was Jessica Steindorff, Scott’s daughter. “My father Scott Steindorff prevails under extreme amounts of stress and the show will go on,” Jessica Steindorff said to HuffPost Entertainment via email. “Sorry, but in this town it’s family first.” The younger Steindorff wrote that she no longer manages Ramsay.
HuffPost Entertainment also reached out to screenwriter Brian Duffield’s representatives, but did not receive any response. As yet, no reason has been given for Ramsay’s departure.
This is the second shake-up to “Jane Got A Gun” in recent weeks. On March 11, THR reported that Michael Fassbender, who was set to play the male lead in the film opposite Portman, had left the project. Jude Law stepped in to replace Fassbender in the cast, but not in his role: Edgerton, who was attached to play the villain in “Jane Got A Gun” took Fassbender’s part, with Law slotting in as the film’s antagonist.March 20, 2013 at 1:02 am #95214
This is really interesting and unprecedented almost in history! Law or portman directorial debut?!March 20, 2013 at 2:50 am #95215
Portman has actually directed before, but I believe only short films and not a feature length film yet.March 20, 2013 at 4:47 am #95216
This is really interesting and unprecedented almost in history! Law or portman directorial debut?!
Hardly unprecedented, I’m afraid. In the silent days, this sort of thing was fairly par for the course. And while it seldom occurs on the first day of filming, many directors with pay-or-play contracts have been known to walk on projects in the early stages of filming, pre-production or development.March 20, 2013 at 10:30 am #95217
Gavin O’Connor (director of ‘Tumbleweeds’ and ‘Warrior’ amongst others) is going to replace Lynne Ramsay.
Now the trouble is that Jude Law has left the film because he signed on just to work with Lynne Ramsay.March 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm #95218
This is becoming a mess. I hope they replace Law quickly and get this film rolling. I was looking forward to it.March 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm #95219
Couldn’t she just have left at the first day of “We Need To Talk Abut Kevin”? Now those are some hours of my life I want back.March 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm #95221
It’ll be interesting to hear more sides of the story. Right now it sounds like a lot of spin.March 21, 2013 at 9:48 pm #95222
I don’t care who you are or what the excuse is: Not showing up to work is just plain wrong.March 22, 2013 at 9:45 am #95223
Per this Hollywood Reporter article, Ramsay’s deal included the right not to proceed with the film if certain contactual commitments weren’t met. She informed the producer on Saturday that she was quitting, so it wasn’t a case of her just not showing up to work. That sounds like an attempt by the producer to make her look very bad:
Director Lynne Ramsay abruptly quits, a revolving-door cast, 175 extras sent home — why Portman’s new movie faces problems as shooting begins.
When Natalie Portman showed up Monday for the first day of shooting on the New Mexico set of Jane Got a Gun, she was unaware of the turmoil going on behind the scenes of the indie Western. Director Lynne Ramsay had just dropped out after a three-day standoff with producer-financier Scott Steindorff, and Jude Law, who had been recruited only days earlier when star Michael Fassbender abruptly quit the movie, would also exit the project.
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Sources close to the project who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter are painting a conflicting picture of who is to blame for Ramsay’s exit. Two sources say the Scottish filmmaker (We Need to Talk About Kevin) still had not been presented with an approved schedule, script or budget mere days before shooting was set to begin. Another source says Ramsay, who was revising the screenplay herself, failed to deliver a shooting script despite several delays and increasingly bizarre behavior.
One dealmaker says Ramsay had final cut on the film subject to various parameters. If, for example, the movie went over budget or over schedule, she could lose the right to final cut. In light of the uncertainties, Ramsay’s camp apparently asked to amend her deal to preserve a certain measure of creative control amid the delays. But efforts to discuss such issues with the producers were met with resistance. The producers, according to sources, saw the requests as an attempt to renegotiate a deal that already had been closed. With the two sides at an impasse, Ramsay gave notice on Saturday morning that she was exercising her right to exit the project.
However, Ramsay’s departure was kept secret from Portman as producers scrambled to find a replacement director. News of Ramsay’s exit broke Monday, and by Tuesday, Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) had been hired to take over the project.
But more drama was to follow.
Less than 24 hours later, Law bolted. Sources say the actor had agreed to join the cast because he wanted to work with Ramsay.
The problems on the high-profile project illustrate the pitfalls that can plague indie productions, particularly those relying on A-list talent.
Steindorff, whose credits include 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, is said to have butted heads with Ramsay several times during the last two months as the project hit a number of setbacks on its way to its delayed production start date.
The $15 million-budgeted film is the story of a frontier woman (Portman) who reaches out to an ex-lover to help her defend her farm from her outlaw husband and his gang. Fassbender was to play the ex-lover, but he dropped out in early March because of the delays. Fassbender, according to insiders, was facing a time crunch as his next movie, the Fox tentpole X-Men: Days of Future Past, is about to begin filming.
According to insiders, Steindorff submitted a list of 10 actors who were considered bankable to Ramsay and Portman for approval. But the trio cold not agree on Fassbender’s replacement.
Eventually, it was decided to move Joel Edgerton, who was originally set to play the leader of the outlaws, into the role vacated by Fassbender and to hire Law, who worked with Portman on the 2004 drama Closer, to take on the villain part.
By the time the casting was straightened out, Jane was 10 days behind schedule, having lost valuable prep time. And since Edgerton’s name doesn’t carry the same weight as Fassbender’s in the foreign pre-sales world, the film’s financing was on shaky ground.
Those issues were straightened out and the film finally was trotting to its March 18 start date. Then came the big clash between Ramsay and Steindorff over the script, creative control and the budget. A dispute on Friday carried over into Saturday, with Ramsay deciding she wanted out. She apparently has returned home to the U.K.
O’Connor began shooting on Thursday, but not before other problems emerged.
For example, 175 extras had been hired to work this coming weekend but because of the delays, the original schedule was scrapped and the production informed the background actors they weren’t going to be used. Producers then had to rehire a brand new group of extras for a newly scheduled midweek shoot.
Sources who have worked with Ramsay say that the director can be fickle and difficult. But her defenders respond that such characteristics are common among top filmmakers and that Ramsay has been painted as particularly difficult because she is a woman.
Jane isn’t the first project Ramsay has spent years developing only to leave it behind under strained circumstances. At one point, she was set to direct the screen adaptation of The Lovely Bones, which was eventually scooped up by DreamWorks and Peter Jackson.
She also suffered a few ups and downs with financing while making her acclaimed indie We Need to Talk About Kevin.March 22, 2013 at 10:08 am #95224
The takeaway from this is that the producer apparently lied when he suggested the first time anyone knew she had left the film was Monday when she didn’t show up, likely in an attempt to make her look as bad as possible (which appears to have worked, since this apparent falsehood was what was widely reported).
And he didn’t tell co-producer and star Portman.
He had valid reasons (he was trying to hold his production together and have a new director in place), but as I suspected from the start, we didn’t (and still don’t) have the whole story.March 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm #95225
That they tried to blindside Portman (and, really, the whole crew) on Monday was outrageous. Even if they had found a new director on time, I don’t think a last second, “Well, Ramsay dropped out but here’s……” would have gone over well.March 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm #95226
Clearly we don’t know all the details.
But if indeed the producer spread the story that Ramsay didn’t show up with no warning when she was contractually obligated too, she potentially has a major slander suit possible against him to throw into the hopper of all the other potential litigation out there.
What’s worse, it suggests the producer wanted to take advantage of Ramsay not having any American professional reputation and worse, her being a woman to play off of (like male directors are never difficult or tough to work with) to make himself seem like the victim here.