Jane Got A Gun was set to begin production Monday in Sante Fe, but cast and crew found out yesterday morning that Director Lynn Ramsay would no longer be directing. The $25 million western, written by Brian Duffield and said to be one of the best Black List scripts of 2011, involves an outlaw who has managed to make it back to his home in spite of being ventilated with eight bullet holes. His wife must then turn to an ex-lover to help defend them against the gang tracking the wounded man back to their farm to finish him off. The stellar cast includes Natalie Portman, Scott Steindorff, Joel Edgerton and Rodrigo Santoro. Jude Law replaced Michael Fassbender as the husband on March 11 — an eleventh-hour shakeup that now looks like a earlier sign of deeper problems.
No details about the precise nature of the creative conflict have emerged, but naturally the default mode on male-dominated comment pages I’ve seen is to find a way to finger the female ego as the unstable element at fault. Whatever the actual problems may be, the worst idle chatter today revolves around Lynne Ramsay being a woman and reckless speculation about how this mess might damage or wreck her career. Silliest overreaction of all are the baseless extrapolations that this incident could taint the perception of professionalism of women directors in general. The only reason I’m even repeating that load of crap is so when I call it a load of crap and you’ll know what I’m talking about. There’s no word yet about how Michael Fassbender’s abrupt departure from the film last week reflects badly on every male actor. We can only hope it won’t make producers skittish about hiring men to star in movies from now on.
UPDATE: Gavin O’Connor has signed on to direct. His credits include Pride and Glory, Tumbleweeds and Warrior — one of the most undervalued movies of 2011.