By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com March 22, 2013 at 4:37PM
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.