By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist April 5, 2013 at 8:44PM
Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Only a few weeks back, things were looking grim for the much-buzzed-about western "Jane Got a Gun." The film, starring and produced by Natalie Portman, had a Black List-ed script and a top-notch cast, but a few weeks after Michael Fassbender left the project, director Lynne Ramsay bailed just as production was meant to get underway, with actor Jude Law, who was to play the villain, following hot on her heels.
But Ramsay was replaced within a couple of days by "Warrior" helmer Gavin O'Connor, and production on the film, which co-stars Joel Edgerton and Rodrigo Santoro, got underway only a few days later. And now, they've filled Law's boots, and with one of the most in-demand actors around, as Deadline report that Bradley Cooper has signed up to play the bad guy in the project.
Portman has the title role, a woman whose husband comes home riddled with bullets, courtesy of a gang of outlaws (led by Cooper), and who's forced to enlist the help of her ex-lover (Edgerton) to defend her home and family. Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeff Bridges and Tobey Maguire were all discussed for the role, but after the success of "Silver Linings Playbook," which won him an Oscar nomination, and strong reviews for "The Place Beyond the Pines," Cooper is hotter than ever, and this is a serious step up for the production, and one that can only boost morale for all involved. Presumably, he's found room in his schedule having completed (or at least found a gap in) his work on David O. Russell's latest project.
It's still not clear who's playing the husband -- Santoro, or another actor? -- but even so, this marks a remarkable pullback from the brink for a project that looked as if it risked being lost to the ages not long ago. Let's hope this marks the end of trouble on the film, because with filming underway now, we should see "Jane Got a Gun" in theaters sometime in 2014.