Jane Got A Gun has lost director Lynne Ramsay

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.

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43 Comments

  1. ROBERT
    March 19, 2013

    sasha, are you going to write about ‘August: Osage County’ first screening? It happened yesterday.

  2. izert
    March 19, 2013

    Sasha, don’t manipulate.

    We are not shocked because Lynne Ramsay is a woman, we are shocked because SHE IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE FILM, she is the captain of the boat, not the sailor (that would be Michael Fassbender).

  3. March 19, 2013

    Wouldn’t it be cool if NatPo stepped up and took her place?

    This sounded like an intriguing project. Hopefully Lynne Ramsay is moving on to better things. When Michael Fassbender dropped out and Jude Law replaced him, I lost a lot of interest already.

  4. March 19, 2013

    izert,

    I wrote this.

    Good for you that you’re not shocked about Lynne Ramsey being a woman. Nobody is ‘shocked.’

    But I’m just relaying what I’m reading on the male-dominated hen-party gossip discussion pages of places like Deadline, and I’m telling you that a lot of comments are all about how she’s a difficult woman, and sneers from guys scratching their balls making crummy forecasts about how this is going to set back all the advances women directors have made.

    Men drop out of directing movies too — sometimes right in the middle of production — but you never hear speculation about how that could affect the perception of reliability of other male directors.

  5. kjbacon
    March 19, 2013

    Stanley Kubrick replaced Anthony Mann on Spartacus four days in.

  6. March 19, 2013

    a couple of concrete examples to show you some of the nonsense being bandied about:

    Hey female filmmakers,

    You can not EFF UP. Let me repeat myself, YOU. CAN. NOT. EFF. UP.

    Let’s all go to the cinema and see all the female names above-the-line… all the Writers. Directors. Producers. Even actresses. It’s… pathetic. It’s never been this bad in contemporary features (and heck, I’ll count the 1930s, at least they had female driven movies). Which means one thing for females in the industry, YOU CAN NOT EFF UP.

    ===

    Agree me0w, this should be a story about “a director” walking out on a movie, but it will be remembered as “a difficult female director” walking. While I agree with you on that, it’s slightly unsettling that you take the position of “she’s ruining it for all of us and should behave better because she’s a woman”. So, what you’re saying is we all need to be very, very good girls so we can stay in the club? How’s that equality? I believe everybody in Hollywood should conduct themselves in a professional manner preferably all the time, but it is a creative and emotional job and people get hired based on those skills, which unfortunately sometimes turn in the wrong direction. But for puck’s sake, for all the Michael Bays, David O.russels, James Camerons,Tony Kayes, Roman Polanskis, etc. etc., could we have a Lynn Ramsey and not crucify her till the end of days before we even know what went on?

    Do you see now what I mean? When a director bows out of a movie — for whatever reason — do we ever hear: “Hey male filmmakers, You can not EFF UP. Let me repeat myself, YOU. CAN. NOT. EFF. UP… one thing for males in the industry, YOU CAN NOT EFF UP.”

    No. So why is an isolated incident with one female director being waved around as a warning to ALL female directors?

  7. Aaron
    March 19, 2013

    Something about this whole thing is fishy, although I don’t think it’s apt to label this a sexist issue as of now. Regardless of your sex, it initially looks unprofessional when you fail to show up for the first day of work and up and quit–particularly when that job involves $25 million dollars plus 150+ people under your direct supervision.

    Supposedly Fassbender withdrew because of filming commitments with the new X-Men movie. Jane Got a Gun had been delayed and it overlaped with the schedule of the other movie.

  8. Alboone
    March 19, 2013

    Sorry but this is about professionalism. You don’t leave a production a day before shooting. It’s like a white guy going to a NAACP event and using the n word to ingratiate himself with the guests, you just don’t do it.

  9. steve50
    March 19, 2013

    The loss of both Ramsay and Fassbender from this project, for whatever reasons, opens the trapdoor on my expectations for this film. No matter who replaces, the complexion has changed. The loss of a partucular type of talent on this project deep-sixes it, imo.

    Yeah, the chatter about this damaging Ramsey’s career – perhaps it won’t help with regards to the mainstream companies, but I’d rather see a film by an unrestrained, independent Lynne Ramsay than one by a Lynne Ramsay shackled by a large production house. I doubt her sex has as much to do with it as her profession – less-known directors are not as widely appreciated and therefore more vulnerable than actors. Fassbender (or Winslet, Phoenix, Streep, etc) can actually gain cred by pulling out of a project if it looks like it’ll be a turkey, whereas a director is somehow made into the villain.

    Julie Taymor survived and so will Ramsay.

  10. Bryce Forestieri
    March 19, 2013

    “There’s no word yet about how Michael Fassbender’s abrupt departure from the film last week reflects badly on every male actor”

    He left due to a scheduling conflict. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is starting production and he was under contract for that well before this the JANE movie. So that’s why he left not due to some abrupt instability.

  11. steve50
    March 19, 2013

    Ryan – Just saw your last post. Who is the dick (“Hey female filmmakers”) throwing down the gauntlet? Is that really the mentality?

    “You don’t leave a production a day before shooting.” (alboone)

    Yes, sometimes you do. You see what’s ahead, you weigh the options, confer with your conscience and make your decision. Consequences for any decision follow. That IS professionalism.

  12. March 19, 2013

    Bryce, I think the issue is that people are speculating negatively about Lynne Ramsay’s departure when they don’t know why she left. Michael Fassbender didn’t receive that treatment.

  13. March 19, 2013

    My understanding was the Fassbender had to drop out due to X-Men scheduling conflicts which arose. Am I mistaken?

    This really stings. Especially for Natalie Portman. It just sucks. She’s a champion of female directors.

    Still, who knows what will happen.

    And, it will be interesting to see if there will be details that will “exonerate” Ramsay. I doubt it, but I’ll hold my breath for a few days.

  14. Bryce Forestieri
    March 19, 2013

    True. Probably the only ones at fault here are those trying to side for or against Ramsay based only on her gender. Plenty of examples of male directors getting the hell out of underway productions due to “creative differences” and such shit.

  15. Bryce Forestieri
    March 19, 2013

    But seriously Ryan you should provide a link. Someone needs to go troll those assholes.

  16. March 19, 2013

    Ryan maybe got them from the deadline article. I recognize commenter “me0w,” who may have been commenting on another site. But, me0w was also at Deadline, though this me0w was more critical of Ramsay:

    http://www.deadline.com/2013/03/shocker-jane-got-a-gun-loses-director-lynne-ramsay-on-first-day-of-production/

    Weird.

    Anyway, one Anonymous commenter writes: “I think all the positive posts about her are being removed -and that the above story is propaganda. There are always 2 sides to the story…. and I doubt his is the real one.”

    And, if Ryan did cull the comments from Deadline, then Anonymous was correct. Which is kind of creepy.

    RE: Ryan’s pull quotes

    I actually thought they were criticizing all of those who were jumping on Ramsay for being female. But, it seems that Ryan is being critical of them too. My reading comprehension skills are just going down the toilet I guess. But, it does seem like he is referring to those two pull quotes as “nonsense” when I think he means he’s supporting the two pull quotes for calling out the nonsense.

    Do I have this correct, Ryan?

  17. March 19, 2013

    you’re right Vince. I left the attribution deliberately vague. In fact, I think both quotes I pulled may have been written by the few women responding to 100 men in the Deadline discussion.

  18. March 19, 2013

    Thanks Ryan!

    And, you also confirmed that those two pull quotes were removed by Deadline’s editors.

    Can we TALK about HOW MESSED UP THAT IS?

    HELLO!

    Deadline removes my comments all the time because I’m on their “watch list” for past transgressions and/or they flat out won’t keep anything I say unless it’s 100% agreeable to their tastes.

    But these commenters made valid points. And, for Deadline to deliberately shape this misogynistic narrative is truly disgusting. And if you add the fact that its founder is a woman boggles the mind. For what purpose? To drum up traffic? If that’s the case, excuse me while I barf.

  19. March 19, 2013

    wow, Vince — that’s outrageous. Those comments are excellent artifacts of sincere feelings. Glad we got to preserve them here.

    In reference to this Deadline story today, someone on Twitter said this:

    Is there a Lynne Ramsay story that doesn’t originate with Deadline? The site acts as a producers’ lackey and these stories end careers.

  20. Talie
    March 19, 2013

    There was a pretty decent female-centered western at Sundance called Sweetwater with Ed Harris and one of the Mad Men females.

  21. alex
    March 19, 2013

    Regarding Deadline deleting those comments, I beg you guys to REALLY make some noise about this. That’s fucked up.

    And I agree with you, Ryan. The idea that her being a woman has anything to do with this is ridiculous. It’s not her fault Hollywood doesn’t hire women directors and it never will be, and she doesn’t owe women directors a damn thing–Hollywood does.

    @steve50: Right on with your last comment.

  22. March 20, 2013

    Certainly this has zero to do with the director being a woman. Nothing whatsoever. But when a director as talented as her splits at the last minute on a high profile shoot I do get worried about his/her reputation. The last thing I’d want to see is another 9 or 10 year gap between films because of some bullshit drama. I am insanely curious about why Ramsay left the picture.

  23. vv
    March 20, 2013

    I’ll wait to hear her side of the story.

    In any case, from what I’ve read so far, the double standard is obvious.

  24. Alan B
    March 20, 2013

    Ugh, your reference to Michael Fassbender’s exit is not comparable to this situation. At all. Fassbender had scheduling conflicts: originally, the production was scheduled to shoot in February, but the producers pushed filming back, which meant that the schedule would have overlapped with ‘X-Men’ in April. Fassbender was ready to shoot … when the producers promised the film would be shot, and his exit was inevitable as a result in the changes. (McAvoy has press commitments to other films in April, which meant that – if Fassbender had stayed with ‘Jane’ – ‘X-Men’ would have been without its two leads for the first month of shooting).

    Congratulations though, Ryan, on transforming a story about a thoughtless, unreliable director into a diatribe about sexism. Filmmakers have creative disputes every day, however they way in which she chose to resolve her problems with the producers is cowardly and unbelievably selfish. With the exception of an emergency, there is no acceptable reason for bailing on the production at such short notice, risking the jobs of the below-the-line crew. She’s basically blacklisted herself in Hollywood for a long time: even IF a producer is willing to trust her and a studio is amenable enough to back her, insurers might not be so forgiving. At the very least, she should give back whatever money she has been given and reimburse the producers for any delays in production.

    I am a little astonished, frankly, that you seem more interested in the perceived crimes of contributors to the COMMENT SECTION than Ramsay’s unbelievably petulant and irresponsible actions.

  25. Kane
    March 20, 2013

    Before we hear anything from her side it’s kind of hard to blame this on sexism. Directors are hired and let go of all the time, man or woman. If the powers that be really didn’t want a woman on board directing this project then why let her go at this stage? It would’ve been done long before the first day of shoot or she would’ve never been brought it on board at all. The costs of not shooting for one day, maybe even more to come, is pretty high and nobody is going to risk losing all that money. The producers would’ve already had a director in mind to replace her but it seems like they’re still scrambling to find someone. Ramsey proved herself with her last film and I feel those who wanted her in the first place could direct a great actress in a western, like Kelly Reichardt (hopefully I didn’t butcher the spelling) did in Meek’s Cutoff.

  26. steve50
    March 20, 2013

    …cowardly and unbelievably selfish. With the exception of an emergency, there is no acceptable reason for bailing on the production at such short notice….

    Since it’s a common occurrence, I thought I’d poke around and see if I could find any examples of notable “quitters” online. Eureka! One director quit three films in as any years, since 2010.

    David O Russell abandoned Nailed, Pride/Prejudice/Zombies, and Uncharted; the first two projects didn’t survive, to my knowledge. I wonder if it has had any impact on his career. mmmm…nope, doesn’t seem to have.

  27. dana
    March 20, 2013

    I’ve seen less people saying her actions reflect on women directors in general than saying that they know within the industry she’ll be used as a negative example of female directors. I think that’s an important distinction. Anticipating the reality of misogyny is not the same as perpetuating it yourself. No matter the absolute fact that her actions reflect on no one other than herself and her career, it will be used by men who need very little to minimize womens’ opportunities.

  28. Alan B
    March 20, 2013

    Check again, because Russell/Nailed is a BADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD example. That production suffered from financial problems that are not applicable to issues beset by ‘Jane’. For one thing, ‘Nailed’ producer David Bergstein is a shady character who didn’t give the crew the money they were entitled, and so IATSE shut down the film, as a result. The film actually didn’t finish shooting, so there isn’t enough footage for an adequate cut. Russell trusted the wrong person, but he did his job as director (by – you know – showing up). Despite the fact that Russell wasn’t the villain in the situation, his career actually did take a hit, and it was only the risk taken by Mark Wahlberg that reignited his career.

    As for ‘Uncharted’, what? Is that example a joke? He pitched an idea for the franchise, the producers didn’t like it and they let Russell go. Big deal. These things happen all the time: it’s called creative differences. ‘Pride’ suffered from scheduling conflicts when his intended star Natalie Portman couldn’t appear in the film. So, he left the project. But – on both those projects – he didn’t leave during production: he left early in pre-production, giving the producers a chance to find a replacement and start over. No crews were left waiting, no money had been spent on sets, the financing wasn’t fixed.

    Ramsay, on the other hand, left ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRODUCTION. It’s the difference between giving two weeks notice to your boss … and not even bothering to show up to work when you’re supposed to. The former decision shows that you’re an adult capable of taking responsibility for your actions and able to take into account the needs of others, whilst the later choice shows other people that you’re petulant, mean-spirited and incapable of collaborating with your colleagues. I can almost understand the reasoning that she’s an artist who wants to follow her own path … if she actually had the courage to announce the decision to the cast and crew herself. Instead, she bailed and left it to other people. That isn’t artistic integrity: that’s cowardice

  29. Alan B
    March 20, 2013

    Dana is 100% right.

  30. steve50
    March 20, 2013

    The standout in this whole conversation is that male directors always have a valid excuse for bailing while Ramsay jumped on a whim. We don’t know that to be true.

    What we get is “anticipating the reality of misogyny is not the same as perpetuating it yourself,” when that should have nothing to do with it. Each incident has its own set of circumstances that you and I are not privy to. (If you are directly effected, take heart – you’ll find another project).

    Damn these cowardly, petulant women who can’t collaborate. Can’t we stick with even-tempered, non-confrontational male directors and have some peace in the valley?

  31. Alan B
    March 20, 2013

    steve50, you’re attempts to paint me or anyone else as a misogynist were always pathetic, but now they’re starting to get desperate. I have addressed – in detail – the differences between the circumstances of David O. Russell NOT ACTUALLY HAVING THE FUNDS TO COMPLETE HIS MOVIE and Ramsay quitting on the first day of production. Those are different circumstances, which you don’t seem to understand. Ramsay’s problems have NOTHING to do with being a woman, and everything to do with being a coward. Would Kathryn Bigelow – who always keeps her shot lists on hand – pull this irresponsible crap? Shit no. Would Jane Campion? Andrea Arnold? Sofia Coppola? Susanne Bier? Catherine Breillat? Why? Because those are pros who don’t take tolerate disrespect on set and – in turn – are wise enough to respect other people’s money and trust. It’s kinda depressing that you can’t tell the difference between an attack against her professionalism and her gender. Nothing I’ve written comes close to misogyny, and I’m kinda disgusted by your reverse-sexism.

  32. March 20, 2013

    Deadline reports that Jude Law jumped ship today too.

    Damn, they need to make a movie about the making of this movie.

    Deadline – Law is Gone

  33. March 20, 2013

    Thanks for sharing, Simone.

  34. Kane
    March 20, 2013

    @Simone, I saw that. Something’s going on. This is starting to turn into Hell, it’ll be a modern Apocalypse Now :P

  35. CMG
    March 20, 2013

    As steve50 said, whoever replaces has to deal with the fact I am judging partially on the ‘what if…’ regarding Ramsay much like Peter Jackson with The Lovely Bones (another project Ramsay tried but could not get financed, IIRC), Zack Snyder and Watchmen (Paul Greengrass was soooooo close to making that), and Bennett Miller and Moneyball (I still want to see Soderbergh’s version of the book). I do like O’Connor’s work that I have seen with Miracle and Warrior, but this seems a little different.

  36. Jason B
    March 20, 2013

    Ramsay is in an extremely unfortunate position since her agent/manager is the producer’s daughter. So there’s really no one at the moment to field the questions or assist in a press release. For all we know, the director could have been asking to be removed from the project for weeks, but her manager might have been pushing her forward… no one really knows.

    Anyway speculation about how this impacts women filmmakers is dumb. No one is really going to believe it’d prevent Kathryn Bigelow from making another film.

    Now, Ramsay will definitely find skepticism when being booked for future projects. But, directors have over come this before.

  37. March 20, 2013

    Comment

  38. Valerie
    March 20, 2013

    @AlanB

    Unless you have some intimate knowledge as to what happened, you are also speculating. I’m not suggesting Ramsay is in the right or wrong here, but there seems to be a pattern here and some real need to control the message about Ramsay’s departure by the producers of the film. Fassbender, Ramsay, Jude Law now leaving and they already have a new director lined up(Gavin O’Connor), so it doesnt sound like pre-production has been sound to begin with. I suspect there is more than meets the eye here.

    I think Deadlines coverage as typical for them, is controlled, biased, and disappointing along with their removing comments to the article that didnt seem to jive with the story they had been asked to spread. But thats nothing new for them.

  39. Alan B
    March 20, 2013

    There’s only one issue with what you’re saying, Valerie: Deadline has REPEATEDLY attempted to contact Ramsay, and Ramsay has REPEATEDLY ignored their requests. If she’s a media victim, then she’s put herself in that position by ignoring the fallout from her actions.

  40. March 20, 2013

    Jason B, that is a very interesting wrinkle in the story that I had not known previously (regarding her agent/manager). Perhaps that could explain a lot. I’m on board with the theory that she wanted to leave a while ago (perhaps when Fassbender left?) but was being pressured by her manager aka the producer’s daughter to stay on board. Now, understand that I am sympathetic to the crew and, yes, even the money men who got left without a director on Day 1, but if Jason is right, then the producers should’ve known Ramsay wanted to leave and either let her go early on, or at least prepared for her exit in order to avoid scrambling at the last minute. Having a manger who is so personally tied to this production would explain why she is not speaking to the press as well.

    Side Note: Agree 100% with Ryan about Warrior. Had it in my top 5 that year. It was a great old-fashioned melodrama with some fantastic performances. I’ll sign up for anything Gavin O’Connor does at this point.

  41. Valerie
    March 20, 2013

    Ramsay owes Deadline nothing. And none of us know what she’s been advised to do by her attorney. I assume she did have a contract for this job right?

    This can’t have come out of the blue. Her agent and manager is/was the producers sister right? So im just saying with the amount of turnover of personnel in this past week, something is fishy here. Ramsay could very well be entirely culpable but you can’t tell me the producers were not aware of problems considering the already got someone new up to direct. They might have been close to firing her anyway.

  42. March 20, 2013

    Hmmn. Alan B. made some excellent (EXCELLENT, I repeat EXCELLENT) points earlier. However …

    1) Director doesn’t show up for work, leaves cast and crew hanging, worries investors, creates pandemonium, etc. That is what happened. That is all we know. Yet, there is a whole backstory that we don’t.

    2) Deadline favorably skews the story to the Producer and makes him look like the good guy (which maybe he is) in attempt to help him and the film out, all the while conducting themselves as they usually do (erasing comments, etc.).

    3) Producer’s daughter, who was a major portion of director’s PR team and would have been in charge of speaking for the director in situations like this, has quit representing the director because “family first,” obviously.

    Wouldn’t it follow that …

    4) We might not hear from the director right away, whether for legal reasons or otherwise, and that she especially might be weary of speaking to DEADLINE of all outlets? If there is more to this story that we’re not hearing about (which the departure of Fassbender and Law seems to suggest), and if Ramsay found herself in a pickle she couldn’t get out of unscathed, perhaps she’s in the process of speaking with lawyers and a new PR team to cover her ass.

    That’s giving her the benefit of the doubt. And, that being said, in the meanwhile, it doesn’t look good for the director (for now). But all these elements put together make this one bizarre situation. I look forward to hearing from Ramsay, when she does come forward.

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