What kind of extreme circumstances could have motivated director Lynne Ramsay to bail on Jane Got A Gun, an indie melodrama that was about to begin principal photography in Santa Fe two days ago? It sounds like an irresponsible action, not to mention tempestuous. But this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what happened.
Putting aside the possibility that Ramsay might have given in to an unwarranted emotional impulse, a neutral observer has to presume that she came to believe that (a) her ability to capture the film she saw in her head had become so compromised by unforeseen production budget limitations that there was no point in even trying and (b) that the film’s producer, Scott Steindorff of Scott Pictures, wasn’t on her side and perhaps had become, in Ramsay’s mind at least, a kind of adversary.
It just doesn’t add up that a gifted director would walk off a film as shooting was about to begin because she had a temper tantrum. A woman who only makes three features over a period of 12 years is clearly picky and exacting but probably no more than that. Ramsay, 43, began directing short films in the mid ’90s and released her first feature, Ratcatcher, in ’99. She made Morvern Callar in ’02, was hoping to direct The Lovely Bones before leaving the project in ’04, and directed nothing for five or six years before finally making We Need To Talk About Kevin, which came out in ’11.
Yesterday Steindorff told Deadline‘s Michael Fleming that “we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast and [I have] millions of dollars invested. 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 [that] 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.”
The latest turns are that (a) Gavin O’Connor has been hired to replace Ramsay, and (b) costar Jude Law has left the project out of loyalty to fellow-Brit Ramsay. I’m sure Ramsay shared every last detail and grievance with Law and he figured it was better to pull up stakes without Ramsay guiding the herd.
Costar Michael Fassbender left the project a while back, and one wonders what the real reason for that might have been.