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We Need To Talk About The Director: Lynne Ramsay Quits 'Jane Got A Gun' On First Day Of Production

by Kevin Jagernauth
March 19, 2013 1:15 PM
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While it took nearly a decade for Lynne Ramsay to deliver "We Need To Talk About Kevin," her third feature following 2002's "Morvern Callar," things seemed to be moving swimmingly for her foray into the western genre with "Jane Got A Gun." Natalie Portman signed on last spring, and the film quickly assembled a top-shelf cast including Joel Edgerton, Rodrigo Santoro and Michael Fassbender. But a week before production was to start, surprising news arrived that Fassbender has exited the movie, with Edgerton taking his role instead, and Jude Law filling in the gap in the cast. And while "scheduling" with "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" was blamed (it actually doesn't start shooting for a few weeks yet), was it the first sign of trouble on the horizon?

We're sure there's much more to come, but for now, Deadline reports that Ramsay herself has exited the movie, and hasn't shown up on set for the first day of production which was supposed to be today. So far, the only side of the story being heard is from producer Scott Steindorff of Scott Pictures, and naturally he's shocked and angry. “I have millions of dollars invested, we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast,” Steindorff said to Deadline. “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 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 producer notes that Ramsay has a pay-or-play deal, and that he's looking at his legal options, but he insists the movie will shoot as they are scrambling to find a replacement director. But here's the thing: unless Ramsay truly inexplicably bailed, whatever the reasons for her departure, it must have been something brewing behind-the-scenes for a while to force such a drastic action. And as it tends to go with these sorts of things, this is probably only the start of the details that will emerge.

Either way, it will be interesting to see if a director does sub in -- we'd imagine it will have to someone of particular calibre to keep the involvement of Portman, who tends to be selective. And it will be a pretty ugly gig to step into, not only with the production in disarray, but with all the prep work being done for the distinct vision of another filmmaker entirely. Much more to come undoubtedly, but our dream of a Ramsay-directed western is on hold for now.

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More: Lynne Ramsay, Jane Got a Gun

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  • Justin Thaler | March 21, 2013 4:00 PMReply

    Fine... I will do it.

  • Julia Chasman | March 21, 2013 2:26 PMReply

    What I'm wondering about is the level of experience of the producer -- and why he is repped by his daughter, and why she was also representing the director, a Brit, who probably didn't have an American manager before this project got underway (and now won't want one again). I haven't done any research on this, but I know a bit about Scott Steindorff, and I think it just needs to be said that he is one of the many people who have bought their way into Hollywood. In his case he created a career around optioning important literary works, and then attaching himself as producer when more seasoned types wanted to adapt those works. That's a time-honored method, and no law against it.....but it's also no real path to gathering experience for being a hands-on producer. Maybe by now he has gathered that experience, as much as anyone else, but there are two main behind the camera roles on a film in pre-production: the director and the producer. So, at the very least, the producer here failed to keep his production together, and must bear part of the blame for those crew and cast members who lost money by the push-back.

  • Derek | March 20, 2013 1:54 AMReply

    John Hillcoat could direct this western in his sleep.

  • hank | March 20, 2013 2:28 AM

    yeah, he sure could. and then it would be an overwrought yawn fest just like every other film he directed. in his sleep.

  • Alan B | March 20, 2013 1:21 AMReply

    This project needs someone smart, capable director who can get the production back on track whilst also bringing an interesting style/approach to the genre: Walter Hill, John Dahl, Brad Anderson, Nash Edgerton, Timothy Van Patten, Phillip Noyce, Paul Verhoeven, William Friedkin, Rupert Wyatt, Nicholas Meyer etc.

  • GERARD KENNELLY | March 19, 2013 11:37 PMReply

    oh god
    i wish she has directed THE LOVELY BONES instead of peter jackson
    anybody who saw we need to talk about kevin knows exactly what i mean

  • Deneice | March 19, 2013 11:37 PMReply

    No, Todd Field shouldn't direct this film. He is too closed off. This film requires expansiveness, like Jared Moshe.

  • Carlos | March 19, 2013 9:49 PMReply

    Todd Field will be a great option for this film

  • sam | March 19, 2013 8:17 PMReply

    ah, the i-feel-for-these-poor-folks-families line. good one. i have a feeling there's a lot more to her side than disappointing so many crew members and their families.

  • j | March 19, 2013 10:21 PM

    of course ,theres two sides too every story no doubt.

  • AE | March 19, 2013 8:08 PMReply

    Something never sat right about this project. The idea of Ramsey directing some kind of hip western was just wrong and nothing about the story suggested this was anything more interesting than your average western.

  • Kate | March 19, 2013 8:03 PMReply

    Screen Daily claims that Fassbender left the project because of conflicts with Ramsay.

  • Me | March 19, 2013 7:05 PMReply

    I just got a new Hero.

  • d | March 20, 2013 1:34 AM


  • JD | March 19, 2013 4:45 PMReply

    Since no one wants the job, I guess I'll do it.


  • Real | March 19, 2013 3:59 PMReply

    Such unprofessional behaviour from Ramsey. I feel so sorry for everyone else involved with the project. This is a very difficult position to put them in. Unless it's due to serious personal or health issues there is no excuse for not even being gracious enough to turn up on the first day. Portman fought very hard to get Ramsey on the project and Portman has been a very vocal supporter of woman filmmakers (she also championed Patty Jenkins for Thor 2) . From a female perspective it's very disappointing for Ramsey to behave this way when there are few enough chances for women in Hollywood as it is.

  • AE | March 23, 2013 1:05 PM

    @REAL. You're quite right. Wouldn't be great though if a woman director could behave independently and even erratically without it casting judgement over her gender.

  • alex | March 20, 2013 1:38 AM

    If Hollywood uses this as another justification to continue to not hire women directors, that's their fault. Not Ramsay's.

  • Real | March 19, 2013 8:49 PM

    @AE: Don't be deliberately obtuse. It's about a female filmmaker being allowed to helm a big budget, action, fantasy movie that is a guaranteed moneymaker. How often are women directors even in the running for director jobs like that? The fact that Jenkins even got a look-in was down to Portman championing her.

  • AE | March 19, 2013 8:16 PM

    Feminism has paved the way for a woman to direct Thor 2. Something worth fighting for?

  • Jacqueline | March 19, 2013 2:36 PMReply

    People should not criticize Ramsay, we don't know the reason behind her action. Maybe she lost a dear one. Please people be less judgemental and let's remember that we are all here because we love cinema

  • Paul | March 19, 2013 4:10 PM

    If she lost someone close to her it would be announced in the Deadline article & the producers would have pushed the start date back. Not to mention Ramsay or her assistant would have immediately informed the producers as to what happened.
    That's not the case. Seems that the crew, the actors, & all the 150+ people involved in getting a movie of this size to work showed up on the first day regardless of what was going on in their personal lives because they love their jobs & love cinema. Ramsay didn't show. Nor does it sound like she informed anyone else of this decision. So by spitting in the producers faces for some behind the scenes dealing she also spat in the faces of all the actors & crew members who showed up that day to do their job.
    Sounds petty & arrogant. If she wanted to leave she should've given the producers an ultimatum & gone about quitting the film in any of the million more professional & respectable ways possible.

  • Ugh | March 19, 2013 2:31 PMReply

    Regardless of what the true story behind the production is, I'm REALLY disappointed in Lynn Ramsay. Even if she is unhappy with the way the project has been going this is without a doubt the most unprofessional way possible to handle the issue.

  • yer | March 19, 2013 2:53 PM

    Severely unprofessional. Her career will take a hit because of it.

  • oogle monster | March 19, 2013 2:18 PMReply

    So can Patty Jenkins swoop in? How perfect would that be?

  • oogle monster | March 19, 2013 5:55 PM

    Wise One- You're not very wise there bud, it was no joke. I'm serious. Patty Jenkins is a perfect fit.

  • BEF | March 19, 2013 5:26 PM

    No, this would be perfect since, I'm assuming Oogle is referring to the fact that Portman was very unhappy when Patty Jenkins was replaced as the director of Thor 2. Here, she is a producer and can make that call. What a mess though. Remember Thombstone? That was directed by someone who didn't receive credit because the credited director was old, ill, getting paid, couldn't be on set the whole time. Westerns, man. Tough.

  • WISE ONE | March 19, 2013 4:03 PM

    I am assuming this is a very sarcastic joke ?

  • BEF | March 19, 2013 2:15 PMReply

    Wow, this is awful, not just for film fans, but the whole crew. A director for hire on the very first day of shooting who hasn't been stepping along with the growth of the script, crew, getting the beats of the actors during pre-production. This is insane. But .... someone get Todd Field, stat!

  • spassky | March 19, 2013 2:26 PM

    Oh man! Todd Field would be amazing-- he can use all that research from "Blood Meridian" too!

  • BEF | March 19, 2013 2:16 PM

    And I really liked the idea of a neo-western directed by a woman. And I'm a fan of Ramsey. This is so bad for her, but regardless of what was behind the scenes, she can really only blame herself -- unless she had some horrible accident.

  • spassky | March 19, 2013 2:03 PMReply

    This sucks. I love Ramsay, but if she keeps pulling this recalcitrant-to-money/authority thing, then she might as well just go back to the arthouse ghetto where we can actually enjoy her work on a regular basis.

    This is so unprofessional though, my respect for her is greatly diminished. I don't care what kind of bullshit was flying around in pre-production, but this is just something you never do, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's a complete career-ender for her.


  • yer | March 19, 2013 1:56 PMReply

    'Portman, who tends to be selective.' lol uhh no.

  • DG | March 19, 2013 1:56 PMReply

    Whoa that's crazy who does that?

  • SR | March 19, 2013 1:45 PMReply

    This sucks! I was so looking forward to this. Now I've lost interest.

  • Chris | March 19, 2013 1:29 PMReply

    Vincent Gallo should step up to the plate and direct.

  • butterfingers | March 21, 2013 4:20 PM


  • JD | March 19, 2013 4:50 PM

    Haha, suddenly, every scene has been rewritten to include putting his dick in Portman's month.

  • JD | March 19, 2013 4:50 PM

    Haha, suddenly, every scene has been rewritten to include putting his dick in Portman's month.

  • spassky | March 19, 2013 2:00 PM

    hahaha. nice.

  • Kate | March 19, 2013 1:25 PMReply

    My first thought when I saw this news was that "scheduling" was NOT the reason for the Fassbender drop out.

  • Finn | March 19, 2013 10:06 PM

    Except that this film was supposed to start weeks ago--with a late March 18 start date, how could Fassbender report to X-Men set in April and finish his film too? Answer: he couldn't.

  • caro | March 19, 2013 1:39 PM


  • Caro | March 19, 2013 1:23 PMReply

    or Portman can be involved in her exit :remember the stories with Portman on Thor 2's director
    BUT it's very weird!

  • DAZZA | March 19, 2013 2:55 PM

    We don't know anything about her attitude filming Thor 2. All we know is that she was not best pleased about Jenkins being kicked off but obviously sucked it up and did her job when the time came.

    But now you're pointing the finger at Ramsay so I'm not really sure what you're saying :-P

  • caro | March 19, 2013 2:50 PM

    @dazza @neil
    i know she wanted a woman to direct THOR 2 and how she was upset when Jenkins was booted but i talked about her attitude during the filming of THOR 2 (not nice)
    now in JGAG,Nathalie Portman is one of the producers and she wanted Ramsay .
    here Lynne Ramsay looks totally unprofessional

  • Dazza | March 19, 2013 2:36 PM

    You've got it the wrong way around. Portman championed Jenkins and was thrilled when she got the Thor 2 gig. And then there were reports about how upset she was when Jenkins was booted.

  • neil | March 19, 2013 1:43 PM

    What? I'm pretty sure Natalie Portman really wanted the lady that directed Monster to get the gig on Thor 2?

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