There have been some famous “Go” projects that have changed their director midstream. Films like The Wolfman and many more have gone through very public changeovers when the person who was supposed to be its captain leaves the film. But few have had as strange and quick a replacement as Jane Got a Gun, which was to begin filming on Monday when it was reported that director Lynne Ramsay didn’t show up for work.
The film had recently lost Michael Fassbender as a cast member, and early word was that Ramsay failed to appear on set. It looks like now the situation is more complicated than what was initially reported, as word has leaked that Ramsay had been struggling with the project for a while, and that may have been why Fassbender left — either because of or in support of her vision. Who’s to say at this point.
But the latest news from Deadline Hollywood is that Jude Law has dropped out of the project, and Gavin O’Connor (who recently helmed Warrior) is in as director, with the film going into production tomorrow. Natalie Portman (who is also producing the film) and Joel Edgerton are still attached, and it looks like the movie will try to keep going even with last minutes casting and directorial replacements.
Lynne Ramsay, best known for films like Ratcatcher and the more recent We Need to Talk About Kevin, has had some rough developmental processes previously as she was the original writer/director of The Lovely Bones, before Peter Jackson decided to film it (his version is pretty terrible, we must say). It sounds like there had been problems for a while, so Ramsay’s no-show status may have been a way for the producers to humiliate her. It’s also possible that she was in the wrong, but right now the dust hasn’t settled.
But more than anything it’s unfortunate for the film, which now has a very public black eye. It’s one thing for a new Gavin O’Connor movie starring Portman and Edgerton, which — on the face of it — sounds interesting, but now it’s the “Gavin O’Connor film that was to be directed by Lynne Ramsay until she dropped out of the project at the very last second.” And if the film was intended to get academy attention, that’s now been made political. This looks to be a no-win situation.