|Portman as Jane|
There's a new phrase in the Hollywood lexicon that is trotted out when things are going badly on a movie set: "Well, it could be worse---we could be working on Jane Got A Gun."
The Western that was due to star Natalie Portman and Jude Law is at the centre of a storm of rumour and controversy following the abrupt departure of the director, Lynne Ramsay and Law just as production was about to begin in New Mexico. .
The producers have hurriedly hired Warrior director Gavin O’Connor to replace Ramsay and are now seeking an actor to take over the Jude Law role.
Observers are saying it will be difficult for the plot of the western to be as compelling as the story that's been unfolding in recent days on the film's set.
Michael Fassbender dropped out of the movie just weeks before the movie was set to begin production but that was nothing compared to Lynne Ramsay abandoning the movie last Monday, on its first day of shooting, leaving hundreds of cast and crew members on a dusty plain in New Mexico with no one at the helm.
Ramsay hasn't said why she left the production, but some say she was frustrated because she hadn't received an approved schedule, script or budget from the producers while others say she had been "acting bizarrely" in the weeks leading up to the shoot..
One source close to the production told the Los Angeles Times that Ramsay terminated her involvement with the producers on the Saturday before production began because of a contract dispute.
Her agency, WME, declined to comment.
Another source with knowledge of the film's inner workings said Ramsay returned to London because she may be dealing with some “personal issues.” The source said that at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, stars Portman and Joel Edgerton were prepped and ready to go, along with the 150-person crew and some horses. Yet they had no Ramsay.
Ramsay is a highly regarded indie director. Her debut feature, Ratcatcher, won much acclaim, while 2011's We Need to Talk About Kevin headed many top ten lists of that year..
Jane Got a Gun represented her highest-profile project. A few sources near the project say there were signs something was amiss leading up to the start of production — she was often out of contact as the movie was being prepped.
The film, which would have been Ramsay's fourth, stars Portman as Jane, a woman whose husband comes home riddled with bullets. Convinced the gang that wounded him will return to finish the job she turns to an ex-lover to help her defend her husband and her farm. Fassbender was set to play the ex-lover, but he dropped off the project reportedly because of scheduling issues with his upcoming “X-Men” movie.
That departure saw Edgerton, originally due to play the villain, take on the Fassbender role while Jude Law came in to replace Edgerton as the bad guy.
Now with Law off the film, O'Connor is said to be looking at a slew of actors with an international following who also happen to look good in a hat. On that list are Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges.