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Did Lynne Ramsay Quit 'Jane Got A Gun' Over Final Cut?

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by Oliver Lyttelton
March 22, 2013 4:37 PM
16 Comments
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Filming might have got underway, but the dust is still settling on what was undoubtedly the biggest news story of the week: "We Need To Talk About Kevin" director Lynne Ramsay seemingly walking out of her latest film, western "Jane Got A Gun" on the first day of production, before a frame had been shot. She was swiftly replaced by "Warrior" helmer Gavin O'Connor, but actor Jude Law followed Ramsay out the door, leaving stars Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton without a villain (though Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges are apparently being courted).

Filming finally got underway yesterday, and today, a little more detail's started to leak out about what might have led to Ramsay's shock exit, although there's still a bit of he-said-she-said going on. The Hollywood Reporter's spoken to a source who says that trouble had brewing for a while: Ramsay and producer Scott Steindorff had apparently clashed a number of times in the last few months, a situation worsened when the production date was pushed back, causing Michael Fassbender, who was to star in the film, to drop out, apparently due to the approaching start date for "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" (though other sources have suggested that he fell out with Ramsay).

Ramsay apparently couldn't come to an agreement with the producer on a replacement, and the decision was made to switch Joel Edgerton, who was previously in the villain's role, to play Portman's ex-lover who rides to the rescue, with Jude Law stepping in as the bad guy. But with Edgerton deemed a smaller name than Fassbender at this point, this caused some brief problems with the film's financing.

Sources seem divided as to what happened from there on out; one camp says that Ramsay was often out of contact during prep, and failed to deliver a shooting script that she was revising, while two other sources say that the producers hadn't given Ramsay approval on the schedule, script or budget only days before filming. But perhaps the most interesting tidbit is that Ramsay's contract gave her final cut on the film, but that would become up for grabs should the film go over budget or over schedule. When the start date slipped, and the schedule and budget couldn't be nailed down, Ramsay wanted to renegotiate to protect her creative control of the project, and this seems to be where negotiations broke down, with Ramsay saying on Saturday that she was departing the project (news that was reportedly kept secret from Portman, while Steindorff tried to either persuade Ramsay to stay on board, or find a replacement).

There's no doubt that it's been a messy situation, and it's unlikely that a clear answer with a good guy and a bad guy will ever emerge as to exactly what happened. If Ramsay had simply failed to show up to work, as initial reports suggested, that certainly would have been a shitty move. But if she quit over not getting final cut, as THR certainly seems to suggest, then that seems fair, and only puts to further shame those who've been attacking Ramsay without knowing the full picture. We'll obviously keep you in the loop as more details emerge, but for now, we're just glad that things seem to be moving forward on "Jane Got A Gun," a project that we'd be looking forward to with or without Ramsay in the director's chair.


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16 Comments

  • trackofalljades | March 25, 2013 3:03 PMReply

    The folks over at NFS have posted a thoughtful piece today, including an embed of a YouTube video of a relevant interview from DP/30. I'd recommend anyone following this thread take a look over there too:

    http://nofilmschool.com/2013/03/director-lynne-ramsay-creative-control/

  • Smithy | March 25, 2013 10:31 AMReply

    Ramsay was lucky to get final cut (it's not that common for directors of her experience to get it, is it?) and I can see her wanting to protect that.

    But it's also not unthinkable that the producers were wanting to stick to the contract they negotiated: that if she went over budget or over time she loses final cut.

  • DG | March 24, 2013 12:05 AMReply

    Whatever the cause this movie is worse off for her departure. Sorry but I just rewatched Morvarn Callar last night and it's brilliant. I mean, Warrior isn't bad, it has some moments, I cried when Nolte fell off the wagon you know, I'll admit it, but Ramsey's movies stick in my head, paint a beautiful picture, feel personal and real. I'm curious to see Jane now but mostly just to see if I can recognize whatever it was in it that attracted Ramsey in the first place. Hopefully it'll still be good but it'll be compromised viewing no matter what

  • Frank | March 24, 2013 10:01 AM

    Movern Callar and Ratcatcher are brilliant. Both films were on The Playlists movies of the decade. http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2009/11/best-of-decade-playlists-best-films-of.html and http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2009/01/best-of-decade-playlists-best-films-of.html

  • sam | March 23, 2013 7:59 PMReply

    so.... it isn't such a clear-cut case against Ramsay, now, is it? seems you (along with a lot of folks) jumped the gun as soon as one person (Steindorff, i believe) opened his mouth to tell his side of the story. tssk tssk, Playlist... :)

  • Frank | March 24, 2013 10:01 AM

    What the fuck are u talking about? They've been on her side (or at least very objective) since minute one.

  • Alan B | March 23, 2013 1:27 AMReply

    In retrospect, Ramsay made a poor decision to commit to the project. The film was packaged as a genre piece with a hot-shot producer and an Oscar winning star, which is against her very methodology: "Well, there was a lot of that kind of stuff from American agents, yeah. And through the years I've been sent scripts as well. But it's always all packaged and ready to go, and that just isn't me. Do you know what I mean?" Ramsay seemed to have a clear idea of what she wanted to do as an artist: she turned down 'Jane Eyre' and moved on from 'The Lovely Bones'. She wants artistic control, so it seems foolhardy to think she was ever going to have the same level of control on a star vehicle as she did on a lower budget feature, especially when she also made a series of poor business decisions (the stifling contract, hiring the producer's daughter as her manager) that indicate she's more comfortable with artistic - rather than practical - side of filmmaking.

  • maria | March 22, 2013 7:20 PMReply

    as a woman..someone who's always rooting for other women who can really make their mark and have control in this business (there are very few)... I've worked with Lynne..and any story regarding this situation that doesn't totally acknowledge she's an insane, out of control person.... has no idea of any kind of 'responsibility' re shooting..treats people terrible..often showed up very late to set on WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN...drunkenly tried to punch her boyfriend (the writer) on the same film. she's awful. a train wreck.

  • dan | March 23, 2013 2:16 PM

    Yeah come on! I want Maria and Brian to have a debate, what is she like?!

  • Brian | March 23, 2013 1:21 PM

    There's a film drunk article out there about the Producer’s assistant apparently just begging for positive comments. http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2013/03/jane-got-a-gun-producer-scott-steindorff-soliciting-positive-comments#ixzz2OOMMIbfv

  • Brian | March 23, 2013 1:21 PM

    I have no idea who you are, but I've worked with Lynne in the past and this is way off-base. She is kind, generous, loyal, and utterly professional. She is absolutely committed to her craft and will defend a decision passionately if she feels it's right, and this rubs some people (shitty producers) the wrong way, but this characterization is ridiculous. I'm sure people like Fassbender and Jude Law are eager to work with her because they hear she's so "insane" and "out of control." This smear campaign is beyond the pale. Do you work for Steindorff, or did you just get this email?

  • AE | March 23, 2013 12:46 PM

    I thought 'trainwreck' was an essential requirement for wanting to make movies? Possibly not these days; maybe that's why the films aren't are as great as they once were?

  • Imagine | March 23, 2013 7:49 AM

    "if Tilda Swinton is down with Ramsey" Is that you cinesnark? Or one of her minions? Take your gossip worshipping elsewhere

  • oogle monster | March 22, 2013 8:27 PM

    Oooo! Tell us more!!! Although I suspect this is the exact picture Deadline and co. are trying to paint, so I take what you say with a grain of salt. I mean- if Tilda Swinton is down with Ramsey, shouldn't we all be? How can you not follow the Swinton?

  • Denice | March 22, 2013 7:08 PMReply

    The fact that Natalie Portman didn't know all this was going on as a producer on the film doesn't shed a good light on her at all. She should have been more than fleetingly aware of these events and should have taken a much more active role in trying to help. It is ridiculous to put your name to a film as a producer but then have no hand in the actual producing. I know it happens all the time, but Portman is a high profile actress, and an Oscar winner at that.

  • RealAlias | March 22, 2013 4:54 PMReply

    That's X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST that Fassbender dropped out for *not* X-MEN: FIRST CLASS.

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