Pile On — Condemning Lynne Ramsay

IMG_6222

Kathryn Bigelow is a torture apologist, Leni Reifenstahl and according to an article in The Hollywood Reporter, not the one who really directed Zero Dark Thirty and now, the other really great female director, Lynne Ramsay, is “hysterical,” having had a “hissy fit” on the set of the Natalie Portman movie, Jane Got a Gun.  Maybe we can figure out a way to verbally stone enough of them to make sure another strong woman never emerges in Hollywood again.

Whatever happened there was morphed into what has become all too commonplace in the way people talk about women. Film.com’s Callum Marsh nails the chorus to the wall with his latest piece, “Lynne Ramsay, and Why We Need to Talk About How We Talk About Female Directors“:

[quote_box author=”” profession=””]

That wide swaths of the (overwhelmingly male) film-nerd public would flock to social media to express grossly misogynistic thoughts after the slightest opportunity presents itself is perhaps not so surprising. But what is surprising—and what’s much more disconcerting, given the circumstances—is how deeply and needlessly gendered the response to this story has been from professional journalists and news organizations. Leaving aside the somewhat unexpected shift in default editorial sympathies from the artist to her producer, the articles reporting this story have continued to lean on language tailored, at least implicitly, for gender-based condescension.

One reason I’m glad a man wrote that is because people like you always take a piece like this written by a woman with a grain of salt. Come on, admit it. You do. Yes, those of you reading this, at least some of you, will tend to dismiss it: “Oh there she goes again.” But when a male writer calls out misogyny people listen. Really listen. So cheers to Callum Marsh.[/quote_box]


[quote_box]Pay close attention to the choice of words even in the original Deadline report: “Clearly there was drama the weekend before”. The word “drama”, much like the word “hysterical”, tends to surface only when men are in a position to describe the behaviour of women, and it’s highly unlikely in this case that Deadline would be inferring that “drama” unfolded if, say, Kenneth Lonergan had walked off-set in similar circumstances. This might sound like a minor sticking point, but it’s important: language like this informs the discussion to a remarkable degree, imposing a gendered reading of a situation that simply doesn’t require one. There is literally nothing about this story which implies “drama”—given the situation, it might be reasonable to assume that there exists a conflict between Ramsay and her producer, but “conflict” and “drama” are far from the same word. And the word is significant.[/quote_box]

I never started my site, first Oscarwatch and now AwardsDaily to be a site that defends the rights of women and minorities in Hollywood but over the years, the things I’ve seen, have so repulsed me that I have no choice but to try to join the chorus of people who rail against the oppressive status quo, which I must say has not improved in the last fifteen years since I began. In fact, it’s gone backwards. It’s become much much worse. Women in Hollywood now are mostly young girls tarted up, the younger the better.  They are sex objects before they are anything else and it is truly horrifying to watch stuff like this go down.

I met Lynne Ramsay in Telluride two years ago and I’ve never met a more charming, humble and intelligent filmmaker. Never. There was no ego involved in talking to her. We shared stories of having to get dressed up to go to these events and how we both hated that part of it. We talked about our kids, and why raising them trumps just about everything else in our lives. We talked about art, about film directing, about Hollywood. She strikes me as the type of filmmaker who would be willing to walk away from a film if that film isn’t the film she wants to make. She doesn’t have to get on her knees and  bring off anyone in Hollywood.  Trust me, she doesn’t care about fame or power. She’s an artist who makes the films she wants to make and the rest of the time lives far, far away from Hollywood.

Whether this silly chatter has effected her or not career-wise is a different conversation.  Big picture: who gives a fuck?  Ruining things for women directors? Blow me. I trust her that she knows what she’s doing. Full stop.  So the whispers and moans of people who have nothing better to do than to hate on some of the industry’s most promising female writer/directors will do nothing but fortify the base and that is to coddle and mythologize male filmmakers. So, fine. But let’s not try to pretend it’s anything else.

 

 

76 Comments on this Post

  1. Such hypocrisy from you considering your extremely rude rant/dismissal of the other Lynn (Shelton) on an Oscar Poker podcast last spring.

  2. Great piece.

  3. smoothcriminal

    Agreed, at this point I wish they would just clearly state the reason for her departure so people can stop fanning the flames.

    That being said, I tend to leave this site everyday feeling like a dick simply for having one.

  4. Great piece. I think it’s telling that Jude Law also left the production after Lynne R. quit. Clearly, there were some creative differences between Lynne and the producers and Jude Law stood by his director. I never thought, in a million years, that I would become a Law fan. He broke my heart in Anna Karenina (why was he snubbed during awards season by the way? Him and Keira Knightley deserved attention) and now this? My respect for the guy steadily rises.

  5. @Passport, either two things happened with Law. 1) He left because he supported Ramsey or 2) He left because Ramsey was out and so was Fassbender so he felt the ship was sinking. Sink or swim, right?

    As far as this article goes, as usual, I agree and disagree with Sasha. It’s tough for me to go along with this “Sexism in Hollywood” thing until we know Ramsey’s side of the story. This is stirring a pot before we know the ingredients. That being said Sasha is right when it comes to the way women are viewed in Hollywood. Is it as serious as she says it is? Most likely, she’s met much more people in the film world (Hollywood or otherwise) then I have or ever will. The public will always be the public and they will always want their shiny new toys. Hollywood doesn’t want a shiny toy like the public wants, they have to find one to provide it to them to make the public happy. It’s why we have Transformer movies, why Breaking Dawn was split into two parts, why masculine directors are brought on board to give us ZOMGGGG ‘splosions for people who aren’t into the type of film criticism we are all into. This is in no way defending, per say, Hollywood. It’s run like a business and a business needs its money so expansion can occur. I’m just thinking like a businessman. Callum Marsh nailed the phrase “film-nerd public”. Why that term hit me hard was that upon reading it I immediately thought of almost 90% of people playing online games, specifically something like Call of Duty. They are fans but incredibly rude to one another, saying things on their mics that they would never say in public. These “film nerd public” types are probably saying some grotesque things about Lynn Ramsey on these sites just so they can say them, to be cool and get the chatter started. It’s these sorts of people I heavily dislike, to say something without knowing the person/situation in question. It makes me understand why Sasha can be so passionate on her website. But until we find out the story it’s all speculation at this point with the wolves feasting on nothing, growling just so they can growl.

  6. Misogyny is deeply ingrained in the English Language, and it’s often hard to spot. A five year old boy telling his playmates what to do is assertive, a girl doing the same thing is “bossy”. it was only when a female friend pointed this out to me that I noticed my implication in this crazy system.

    Although I have problems with the now defunct PC movement, in that I feel a prejudice unexpressed is more dangerous than an expressed one, I still think it’s important to point these things out and avoid them. I guess I’m more and more a minority.

    Don’t ever stop writing pieces like this Sasha. it’s only because of you I recognised The Newsroom for what it was and I’m always grateful when you help me battle my inner bigot.

  7. I agree that there’s obviously more to this than news sites are reporting. However, *if* Ramsay did simply just not show up on the first day of filming, that’s a pretty shitty thing to do to the crew of 150+ people (some of whom, I presume, are also women filmmakers) who are depending on the bigwigs (including her) for their living. If she had creative issues that meant she no longer wanted to work on the film she should have paid her cast and crew the respect of giving them notice of her resignation – to simply not show up is both rude and unprofessional, no matter how brilliant a director she is. (This is coming from a female filmmaker and someone who admires Ramsay’s work, before anyone accuses me of being misogynistic!)

  8. ^THAT — Totally agree with Holly… granted, everybody in the moviesphere is making this about the professionalism of men vs. woman, but it ultimately comes down to the fact that as a respected director, you don’t walk off the set (creative differences or not).

    If Behn Zeitlin or Wes Anderson or virtually anybody walked off a set in this manner, we’d all be saying the same thing. It’s not “bad for women” and bad for film, specially indie film…

  9. Jason B

    @Kane,

    It’s because Sasha and Calum Marsh aren’t journalists, and like Deadline, are posting commentary. Sasha and Film.com don’t cite any sources or where they get these quotes from. Ryan Adams did for several in the message board yesterday.

    However, ‘piling on’ is an exaggeration. I looked through Deadline, here and IMDb. What I found were some sexist a**holes, some defenders and a majority who was just baffled by why she quit last minute. Since there’s no information and Ramsay unfortunately had a manager who had a conflict of interest, Ramsay hasn’t spoken out against the producer’s attack on her.

    If this leak is legit, the producers are lying about something and using Deadline as their puppet/mouthpiece: http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/2013/03/jane-got-a-gun-producer-scott-steindorff-soliciting-positive-comments

    With Jude Law joining Ramsay, there’s more to the story then there being… well, a good story (i.e. film).

    @Sasha,

    “She strikes me as the type of filmmaker who would be willing to walk away from a film if that film isn’t the film she wants to make.”

    Do you find too much slack is given to “artists” or “auteurs” in this respect? It’s part of the industry, the plug is pulled on films all the time. But usually it’s by ‘the money’ who everyone expects to be jerks. Whereas the director is like a ship’s captain. She should have at least spoken to the crew and thanks them for their work. These are working people, most not making a modest living.

    I guess since the rumor mill has favored one direction heavily, the other doesn’t want to give any leverage over. Or wants to justify everything by equivocating it. But I guess everyone is also forgetting how Ramsay’s manager also had a responsibility and though naturally siding with family, should have not spoken to the press out of professionalism. It leaves her future clients to wonder whether she’ll put their interest first or her family’s interest.

    But then again, I guess that’s bashing another woman… Sorry, that wasn’t the intent.

  10. “She should have at least spoken to the crew and thanks them for their work.”

    We don’t no that she didn’t. Personally, I’m going to assume that the primary cast and crew are not in the dark about all this. I’m going to assume that a lot of people working on this film know a lot more than the story that’s being filtered through Deadline.

    I know of one person on the inside who has not made any public comment at all. It’s someone who must surely know what’s happening, but he’s been totally silent for the past few days.

    Let’s not forget that the only narrative we’re hearing is the producer’s side of the story.

  11. Jason B

    On an related note, I don’t know which is worse – a director being told she’s ruining filmmaking for all future females or an actress having this said about her. At least on here, people might disagree about issues, but I’d rather be wrong about something than have this attached it (looking at you, Michael Kittredge):

    “Michael Kittredge: Natalie [Portman], when are you going to have a fully nude sex scene? Something over the top, like Hallie Berry in “Monsters Ball

    Lord Yogi Olivarez: Yes. She needs to get pounded.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/jane-got-a-gun-gavin-oconnor-natalie-portman_n_2915619.html

  12. 1) He left because he supported Ramsey or 2) He left because Ramsey was out and so was Fassbender so he felt the ship was sinking.

    Related to both these explanations but another angle: 3) Could be Jude Law wanted to work with Ramsay and signed on to have that opportunity. It could be that Ramsay’s involvement was what he found most interesting.

    So it might not be a matter of showing solidarity as much as simply finding himself attached to a movie that’s not turning out to be what he was told it would be.

  13. Noah R.

    What bothers me most is how everyone is so willing to take Steindorff’s side without yet hearing Ramsay’s perspective. I find it very hard to believe that any filmmaker would simply refuse to turn up unless he/she was mentally ill or a self-obsessed film student. We already had Fassbender walk, we now have Ramsay AND Jude Law walking (and Law’s a friend of Natalie Portman so I don’t think he’d simply abandon the show unless there was a real problem), and now we have the leaked e-mails from Steindorff’s assistant begging people for positive comments. Huh? If it’s really all Ramsay’s fault, surely Steindorff needs no help from anyone.

    This reminds me of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Everyone chose to believe that Terry Gilliam was out of control despite the fact that he was working with an inexperienced and reckless producer. And this isn’t the first time Ramsay has been shafted from a production. I’m not buying his story for a second.

  14. When Fassbender left (probably due to all the delays, perhaps not), a commenter floated the rumor that the production lost some of its foreign financing. Don’t know if that’s true. Perhaps Ramsay couldn’t fulfill her artistic vision on a compromised budget, but Steindorff wanted to push ahead after too many delays. She tries to renegotiate her contract. He starts looking for another director (otherwise, how did he find a director so quickly) and ends up being Gavin O’Connor, who already has a working relationship with actor Joel Edgerton, who recently switched roles from villain to hero. She lost control and decided to leave. Her representative was Steindorff’s daughter, who severs relations with her. Who is there to put out a statement for her? Meanwhile, Fassbender is drinking with buddies and having a good time on the streets of Hollywood and London. And, as a commenter already brilliantly put it, Ramsay is hiding in Tilda’s castle (we wish). This shit is juicy, but I hope Ramsay gets the last laugh.

    But this all seems to point back to: why all the delays? Was Ramsay too demanding? Was Steindorff a control-freak? Steindorff was quite enamored with her initially. What changed? And how did things get so personal and vindictive? (the way Deadline handled the situation, as well as the Steindorff assistant cowering with fear of losing her job)

  15. Jason B

    @Ryan Adams,

    I agree. I was thinking about that too. Which is why I find it annoying that her manager spoke out. Directors are often odd (in the sense they might be shut-ins or reserved). Christopher Nolan doesn’t have a cell phone or email address, it goes through his wife.

    I’m more inclined to believe the headlines that said she “walked off” not didn’t show up.

    But there’s often many news stories that due to one side never commenting you can’t prove otherwise. So you unfortunately have to take only one side’s word in as sensitive a way you can.

  16. steve50

    Great post, Sasha.

    Yesterday I was accused of reverse-sexism – not for taking Ramsay’s side but for suggesting neutrality until all the details are known and for calling out some of the unnecessary sexist comments and assumptions.

    These things don’t just happen without a reason. Three major players bailing on a project, whatever their official PR reasons (scheduling, hissy-fit, etc), speaks more to problems with the project than with the players.

  17. @Ryan, sorry that’s what I meant on my #1. Law probably wanted to work with her and only stayed because of her. Some of these female directors are becoming more exciting and I say that because now they’re given more chances to explore and expand their talents. Hell I would LOVE to work with Kelly Reichardt. I would’ve walked that damn dog from Wendy and Lucy to keep the pooch healthy.

  18. “Which is why I find it annoying that her manager spoke out.”

    Let’s just clarify that point — although you brought it before in yesterday’s post in another thread.

    “My father Scott Steindorff prevails under extreme amounts of stress and the show will go on,” Jessica Steindorff said to HuffPost Entertainment via email. “Sorry, but in this town it’s family first.” The younger Steindorff wrote that she no longer manages Ramsay.

    That’s Lynn Ramsay’s former manager, Jessica Steindorff, now trying to sound like Michael Corleone.

  19. I’m still very curious to hear what Lynne has to say about this saga, if just to defend herself. Her continued silence is allowing the typical misogynist opinions be known. Frankly, I realize that she has a right to drop out of filming a movie, but to leave a film like this, starring a top female actress who trusted Lynne… I too expect a explanation – valid or invalid.

  20. Totally correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don’t remember a director (man OR woman) in recent memory stepping off a project like this the day before shooting. Man or woman, I think what she did was not right. If she had mixed feelings about the whole thing, she should have dropped out sooner.

    It’s just kind of circumstantial that she was a woman, and unfortunate because there are so few opportunities for women to display their directorial talents, especially in big projects like this one.

    Bottom line: I hope it doesn’t ruin things for female directors and I don’t think it will. I also think what she did was pretty shitty.

  21. I thought that might be what you meant, Kane. Others have wondered if Jude Law and Lynne Ramsay are friends and he’s leaving in protest or sympathy, so I just wanted to differentiate the various shades of their possible connections to one another.

  22. “Family first.” Right? Why even say anything?

  23. A friend of mine works for a company in the sales department. His sales manager, who was a great guy, very knowledgable, etc, managed a team of sales representatives. Due to questionable decisions made by the owner, the company began to lose some money and big key accounts, one of them the sales manager was responsible for bringing to the company. For a good week, the owner began to make choices that undermined the sales manager’s authority (behind his back), leaving him pretty powerless. During a meeting with the sales team, the owner then threatened to end the whole outside sales department, insisting that it was costing the company too much money, told them they were expendable, etc (all stick, no carrot, in other words). The sales manager decided the writing was on the wall and that it was his time to move on. He diplomatically filed his resignation with the owner and left at the end of the week. The owner did not make any kind of formal announcement to the company, only carried on per usual. And there was no opportunity for the sales manager to address the company or the sales team as a whole. The sales manager shared with some of the representatives whom he felt he had good relations with of his departure. And that was the end of that.

    People keep talking about how Ramsay didn’t make some kind of formal announcement to the cast and crew and how egregious an error it was. Perhaps it was. I still think there is a lot of room for benefit of the doubt.

    The partnership of Ramsay and Portman (and to a lesser extent Fassbender) involving a dramatic genre picture is what made me anticipate this film. Without Ramsay … not so much. Now all I’m interested in is the backstory.

  24. Totally correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don’t remember a director (man OR woman) in recent memory stepping off a project like this the day before shooting. Man or woman, I think what she did was not right. If she had mixed feelings about the whole thing, she should have dropped out sooner.

    I can’t remember any precisely parallel thing happening on the first day of shooting. But in 2009 Steven Soderbergh was all set to make his version of Moneyball after investing months of his time and energy — and Sony pulled the plug on him less than a week before filming was about to begin. They suspended the entire production for months, throwing hundreds of people out of work who thought they were ready to make a movie.

    How is it any less disreputable for a studio executive to do that? SONY is not a machine. Some individual at Sony made that decision. We don’t know his name because everybody involved clammed up about it. Executives are insulated from public scrutiny but it’s very much the same situation. Wrecking the plans of hundreds of people and throwing months of pre-production work out the window so close to Day One of filming.

  25. Movieram

    I think Jane’s Got a Gun sounds like it could be a great western, and westerns directed by women are rarer than Halley’s Comet appearances. So it’s a shame that the production is in disarray.

    It seems important that Ramsay tell her side of the story. Otherwise, this is career suicide for her, and that would e a shame.

    The situation would have to be appalling for a principled director to put the production in jeopardy. Walking away leaves investors out of money as well as the technical people without jobs. Therefore, if Ransay had good cause to leave, she should make her case. I’d feel that way if it were a male director; her gender in this situation does not matter.

    I would imagine there will be a lawsuit if a contract was broken.

    In the days of the studio system, there were often directorial changes. George Cukor was replaced by Victor Fleming early on in the production of Gone With the Wind. John Ford, though blaming gall bladder troubles, left filming of Mister Roberts three-quarters of the way through because of disagreements with star Henry Fonda. Both films proved commercially and critically successful. I wish similar good fortune for Jane’s Got a Gun.

    And I hope Ramsay has a strong support system.

  26. The situation would have to be appalling for a principled director to put the production in jeopardy. Walking away leaves investors out of money as well as the technical people without jobs.

    When Fassbender departed this production a couple of weeks ago, the budget took a huge hit when foreign investors bailed out. Why wasn’t he pilloried ?

  27. I don’t know who she is but to back out the day shooting is to begin is unacceptable to me

  28. Where is her statement? Why is she waiting that long to explain her decision? Why hasn’t she already told her side of the story?

    MF and JL left the movie with a press announcement. This director left the movie hiding away. First not appearing on set and then not making a public announcement. Full stop.

  29. Where is her statement? Why is she waiting that long to explain her decision?

    There Will Be Lawyers. Ramsay’s contract was Play or Pay. That means she gets paid whether she’s the director or not.

    Lynne Ramsay doesn’t owe us an explanation. I’d rather she stand back and let the producers show their true colors — which are looking muddier by the minute — and protect herself from legal ramifications.

  30. “Why wasn’t he pilloried ?”

    Why should he be? Because he has a dick?

  31. Vince, you present a good analogy, but I don’t see that as the case with the Ramsay situation. I’ve heard positive and negative things about her “professionalism” and I’m hopeful that if I were to err on the side of her being responsible, she gave notice, hence the timely arrival of Gavin O’Connor. But for Law to up and leave, and understanding that he took on the role because of the chance to work with Ramsay, leads me to believe that her not showing up was not planned in advance and that’s why there was turmoil and the press going crazy. I know you’re trying to be fair and open-minded, but I’m of the belief that her no show action surprised a lot of people.

  32. - “Why wasn’t he pilloried ?”

    – Why should he be? Because he has a dick?

    He shouldn’t be. Neither should Ramsay.

    But she is. Because she’s not got a dick.

  33. The situation would have to be appalling for a principled director to put the production in jeopardy. Walking away leaves investors out of money as well as the technical people without jobs.

    When Fassbender departed this production a couple of weeks ago, the budget took a huge hit when foreign investors bailed out. Why wasn’t he pilloried ?

    @Ryan, because Michael Fassbender was just one of several actors – he’s not the Director, or the producer (and he could easily be replaced – see: Law). He had a great influence on bringing in nearly $9 million to the budget, but something happened, creative differences, or just a pure conflict in his schedule (the filming of Frank when over schedule – and he just came off of the ‘Untitled Malick Film’ which co-starred Portman there). He’s starting filming of X-Men in late April – and he HAS to be available for that. He shouldn’t get pilloried, that’s why he’s not getting pillorized.

  34. He’s starting filming of X-Men in late April – and he HAS to be available for that.

    So that didn’t occur to him until March 11th?

    It’s entirely possible that when Fassbender left — taking 1/3 of the film’s budget with him — Ramsay then saw that she couldn’t make the movie she had intended to make at a discount 60% of the sum she was told would be available.

  35. I don’t know how large his role was in ‘Jane’, ie. screen time, but Frank went over schedule and he just completed that not two weeks ago. He left Jane LAST week, not March 20th. Maybe he thought he could still be in Jane but decided to pull out when he did. In any event, something strange is going on and I think it’s unfair for people to raise an eyebrow over Fassbender’s exit.

  36. If Lynne can’t make a movie for $16 million (minus Fassbender’s foreign investments), then I don’t know what to tell you. If budget was the problem, you just tweet : no money, no film, no work.

  37. If Lynne can’t make a movie for $16 million, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    You shouldn’t feel like you have to tell me anything. You’re busy enough telling Lynne Ramsay what she should do.

    If Ms Ramsay is reading this she can decide whether to follow your advice to tweet what she knows to satisfy the twittersphere instead of doing what her silly lawyers are telling her to do.

  38. Basically want to echo Vince’s post regarding the anticipation of the movie having a lady director and star in a Western (I know, there was Meek’s Cutoff before it) that got my attention the most. Not all of us got to read Brian Duffield’s script and as a screenwriter, I sympathize with being in this odd situation of where your script is in the middle of the fire storm but you are not the party most considered in this instance.

    And on the subject of Gilliam, I love his movies and the treatment of Brazil was horrific but he also was terrible to a lot of his actors. Particularly Sarah Polley’s recounting of Baron Munchausen that traumatized her so much that she considered quitting acting. When I think of JK Rowling having him as her first choice for Harry Potter, I can think of the aesthetics absolutely being on point but Gilliam with actors, particularly children, would have been disastrous.

    And Ryan, re: Moneyball: Soderbergh had a specific vision for Moneyball that was slowly being revealed in the early stages. The vision was having a mix of documentary interviews of the real subjects of the book spliced in with re-enactments with even some ballplayers as themselves that included Scott Hatteberg. It sounded more Errol Morris than a standard sports movie. Stan Chervin’s script was thrown away with Sorkin re-writing it (David Frankel and Steve Zaillian too), Demetri Martin as Paul DePodesta dropped out and Jonah Hill was cast in a character who would not be the fictionalized composite character known as Peter Brand. Only Brad Pitt stayed on.

  39. Natalie Portman must be mortified about this whole situation. Being a producer on this movie, it appears this was a project she was passionate about. It’s unfortunate that its now so utterly defined by problems and scandal. Obviously she’ll recover just fine from all of this, but a movie takes so much effort to wrangle together, this situation has to sting a bit for her.

  40. CMG, thanks. We covered the Moneyball changeovers here at AD as they were happening. One of the best recaps about how things fell apart is this piece at the Times, which you’ve probably seen.

    The fact remains, Sony waited until the week before start date to pull the plug on a project Soderbergh had spent months preparing. They weren’t happy with the final draft of the screenplay Soderbergh had revised at the last minute.

    I don’t mean to say that the circumstances are the same. The question was simply: “When has a major movie ever seen director depart right before start date?”

    The answer is: It happens. But in spite of the fact that Soderbergh sort of sprung a surprise on Sony, nobody in 2009 was talking about how he had screwed his career. That’s the point I wanted to make.

  41. I can’t wait until the full story comes out. Executive producers are some of the most unsavory characters in the industry, yet many people seem to be taking Steindorff at his word. (And now, there is murmuring that Fassbender left the set over differences with Ramsay — yet I have not seen any substantiated reports of this, just hearsay being reported as fact.) I believe there is a lot more to this story; that so many commenters have rushed to condemn Ramsay does, unfortunately, seem to reveal a bias.

    Many are saying there is “no excuse” for what Ramsay did. I can think of a bunch of explanations. What if she’d been physically threatened to stay away? What if she was being blackmailed? Or had been raped by someone on the production team? Told that an explosive device awaited her in her trailer? Perhaps now she’s assembling a legal team and waiting to release a statement? These may sound like preposterous possibilities, but no more preposterous than reaching a verdict about this situation without the full story.

  42. Aaron B

    What if she’d been physically threatened to stay away? What if she was being blackmailed? Or had been raped by someone on the production team? Told that an explosive device awaited her in her trailer? Perhaps now she’s assembling a legal team and waiting to release a statement?

    Sounds like just a bunch of drama to me, Klara

  43. Movieram

    I didn’t realize that money was lost when Fassbinder exited the project. Did he know that a lot of the movie’s budget was contingent on him? Was the loss of funds attributable to him leaving, or did the two events just occur about the same time. If he knew the money was contingent on him, then perhaps his exit is a more serious issue.

    But if a third of the budget was pulled from the movie, that should have been a producer’s issue and not Ramsay’s. In this situation, are the director’s contracts contingent on the budget? (i.e., was Ramsay contracted to do the movie at a budget of X million dollars?)

    And maybe she was concerned that she wouldn’t be paid.

    Just questions about an unfortunate but fascinating situation.

  44. Jpns Viewer

    [I’ve just checked out D******e and the financing producer is reportedly (S.) Steindorff (sp).]

    No matter what conflicts had taken place prior […], the way I’ve read into it at least for the time being is that, mainly, her no-show on the first day of production in particular, in process causing more or less trouble to crew members et al, is, again to me at least, a sign of non-professionalism. I am hoping she really had a so-called good, real reason for that.

    I don’t know her or Steindorff and of what behind the scenes of this so-called drama. So, all the best to Steindorff – don’t give up…. [I imagine this would cause him helter skelter, financially and all….]

    By the way, love the film title, especially given it, reportedly, an indie type.

  45. Natalie Portman must be mortified about this whole situation. Being a producer on this movie, it appears this was a project she was passionate about. It’s unfortunate that its now so utterly defined by problems and scandal. Obviously she’ll recover just fine from all of this, but a movie takes so much effort to wrangle together, this situation has to sting a bit for her.

    Chris, I think this happens a lot, we just don’t hear about all the situations because this film features high-profile actress/actors and a female director, on an otherwise highly anticipated and interesting project. I certainly don’t think Lynne’s career is over as some people make it to be, but this still doesn’t look professional. In Hollywood, the industry hires for the talent,… the bs and drama sometimes come with the territory. In the end, I still would like to see this movie.

  46. Ryan, I agree with that. Soderbergh has had a lot of projects in development that have been talked about the last few years that have not materialized for a number of reasons but nothing to do with his sanity or unprecedented need for artistic independence or whatever. Is his retirement being tired of trying to get these passion projects off the ground? No idea. He has kinda done it all but I think he is also a director who wants artistic freedom and doing an Ocean’s 25 in the name of getting a Man from U.N.C.L.E. adaptation in his own vision is what needs to be done, he will do it and has done it, but it was probably exhausting. Ramsay comparatively has never tried to stand in these two words of commercial movies and the art movie. This was probably the closest she was ever going to get.

    Kathryn Bigelow has consciously had her last 2 movies independently funded (lest we forget, Sony was merely the distributor, Megan Ellison and Annapurna were the producers) in hands-off situations from producers since K-19: The Widowmaker. I think due to her last dance with a major studio (and she had a good relationship with the head of that studio, Friedkin’s wife) probably has her think twice when she undoubtedly got post-Oscar calls for new projects by major studios. She grew into the director she has become for a reason. Now this example has little to do with gender, but it does involve an artistic dilemmas many directors face in breaking through or even when they have broken through. I like Lynne Ramsay a lot and hope that none of this BS sticks on her.

    I do wonder about Portman in this. Mainly because she has producer credit to the movie. Last time I think of situation where director and studio (along with the star) were so far apart creatively was Jonathan Demme with Swing Shift and Goldie Hawn played a large part in messing with Demme’s vision of the movie. I like Portman too, so I am not throwing any stones at her based on very little evidence (and Brad Pitt had producer credit in Moneyball too and I doubt he wanted Soderbergh kicked off) but I feel like there are many other stories besides this not known yet about the project.

  47. Simone:

    “If Lynne can’t make a movie for $16 million, then I don’t know what to tell you.”

    She can. But if this is why she left it’s because she felt this particular movie required more. The agreed upon budget was slashed a week before production, the one she’d planned the movie around. Some directors might suck it up and make compromises–she isn’t one of them.

  48. Does anyone have a link to a valid source citing the $9M hit in budget with Fasabender’s exit? I’ve only seen it mentioned in comments.

    PS. I’m assuming his character was the male lead.

  49. Depends on if you consider Jane’s husband or her ex-lover to be the male lead. Might need to ask Jane about that.

    I think I read about the foreign financing evaporating at IndieWire, but can’t recall for sure, Vince. I’m away from the desk and can’t easily search around right now.

    Fassbender was to have played the ex-lover. When Jude Law came in he was not taking over Fassbender’s vacancy. Edgerton was switching roles to play the ex-lover and Law was taking over the Edgerton’s role as the new villain.

  50. I agree with Simone. But I also agree with Ryan.

    I imagine her meeting with lawyers in Tilda’s castle (on a cloud). Fingers crossed that she had a valid reason(s) and an ace up her sleeve. If she ends up being crackers that would suck. But the whole d******e article, “family first” and then assistant debacle give me hope that she wasn’t.

    Wish I were a lady. Then I could fly over to london and get Fassie drunk and maybe he’d spill the beans (before we moved on to other activities).

  51. Thanks Ryan. I will see what I can dig up later when I’m on my main computer.

    Because of Fassie’s stature and plot line, I imagined that a good deal of the film involved old sparks reigniting between the old lover character and Portman’s. That’s pure conjecture of course.

  52. John Mack

    Oh, for crying out loud! This is like an assembly of chattering underlings for Barbra Streisand and Paul Linde! Why Lynne did was unconscionable, classless, hysterical, and inexcusable!

    Do you realize that if she quit on Sunday, with notice, everyone would be curious as to the why, and not one mention of Lynney’s hysterics would be mentioned!

    What happened to “strong willed” women that were still feminine, classy, and professional? Do you think Bette Davis would pull such a stunt? No pro would!

    Look, Steindorff could be the villain in all of this, Lynney could be 100% justified in leaving the project but NOT under ANY circumstances should she ever have failed to show up on the first day of shooting. Ever!

    You want to know why the outcry? Even feminist are lamenting her damnable actions since it is akin to running away and locking herself in the bathroom!

    Shame!

    Best, The “P.L.D.”

  53. Paul Linde. Ah. They don’t make them like that anymore. Nor Babs.

  54. There’s too much missing in this story for anyone to really draw an honest conclusion to what actually took place. The use of specific language to define Ramsay’s decision is obviously a manuever to discredit her and lay the blame at her doorstep. Ramsay’s silence is probably her way of trying to contain the fallout whereas Steindorff is pointing fingers so that no one can lay the blame at his door. The thing that is interesting is Fassbender’s exit and whether he should be pilorized or not he also has a responsibility in this mess. He made a committment and then walked away. It wouldn’t matter to me whether he took financing with him or not unless he’s suffering from mental exhaustion from overwork then he has some responsibility in all this. We’ve seen actors walk away from a project or not sign on to a project because of conflicts with scheduling but they know well in advance that production overrides will affect their contractual committments. The person you have to really feel bad for is Natalie Portman. This is obviously a project she believed in and now she’s standing there holding a script in her hands with no actors and no director. If I were Portman I’d be pissed no matter what anyone’s reasons were for leaving.

  55. steve50

    …fly over to london and get Fassie drunk….

    Ha, Vince! Yeah, these “beans” would be saved for a conversation over breakfast.

  56. The Pope

    It is highly regrettable that Lynn Ramsey has not issued a statement. As Winston Churchill wisely observed, “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

  57. Jake Lodge

    A charming anecdote but I have no idea whot it was that Sasha Stone met in Telluride but it certainly was not Lynne Ramsay who has no children. As to the charges of misogyny – I have read two articles posted on Yahoo that reported the producer’s chagrin and made no mention of a ‘hissy fit’ or otherwise on the part of the putative director. Speculation is rarely productive and demonizing anyone on the basis of hearsay is fatuous irrespective of their genitalia.

  58. For Family Guy enthusiasts…maybe Sasha met Fred Savage who was donning a Lynne Ramsay costume. He must’ve been taking a break from being Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh.

  59. Steve50 – yes you are right:beans for breakfast.

    Jake Lodge – good catch. I cant believd i missed that. Maybe she met Lynn Shelton. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time she mixed those two up.

  60. Thanks, Vince. The one morning I don’t go to Hollywood Reporter this article is posted…ugh. Either way we’re getting a little more insight but still not the whole story. It only seems to show butting heads and makes either story (Ramsay was fired, Ramsay quit) just more believable.

  61. Fuck Borys Kit at THR for exacerbating the dismissive attitude with language like “fickle” and “increasingly bizarre behavior.”

    If you’re going to say there was bizarre behavior then you’d better have a concrete example or two. Otherwise that part of your story is bullshit.

    When in all of film history has a male director been accused of being “fickle”?

    Now we have this dweeb John Mack show up at AD repeatedly referring to Ramsay as “Lynney.” A guy who’s never commented here in the past 10 years appears out of the woodwork to talk about Ramsay’s “hysterics.” Meanwhile he can’t stop using exclamation marks to shriek his little jabs in every second sentence he pounds out. …!! …!! Alright, alright, don’t lose your blob, Miss Macky.

  62. Ryan go RAWR!

  63. Good points Ryan. I feel so bad for Portman. It doesn’t appear that Steindorff did her a favor if he kept Ramsay’s exit (fired or quit) away from her.

    Sorry about being so fresh with you in the Enlightened thread yesterday. It sucks when a great show gets canceled prematurely. I can do better about thinking before I comment.

  64. There’s not a lot to mine here, but here’s the screenwriter’s Twitter:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/BrianDuffield/tweets

  65. There’s even less to mine here, but here are the producer’s sparse tweets during happier times and then (possibly) when things began to sour and he was trying to keep his chin up:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Scottsteindorff

  66. I don’t think the status quo become “MUCH WORSE” in the last fifteen years, as you state in your article. Sure, the situation is nowhere where it should be yet. However:

    In the last fifteen years, the first woman ever won an Academy Award for best director.
    In the last fifteen years, two women have been nominated for best Director (Coppola and Bigelow) – that’s as much as in the seventy years before that.
    In the last fifteen years, the first colored woman won a Best Actress Oscar (Berry), one more (Davis) came very close.
    In the last fifteen years, the first woman (Roberts) broke the 20 Mio Dollar actors paycheck club that was male only before that.
    In the last fifteen years, an around 60-year-old-actress has become a box office megastar (Streep with Mama Mia, Devil Wears Prade, Julie&Julia, It’s Complicated…).
    In the last four years, four women directed Best Picture nominees (Zero Dark Thirty, The Kids Are All Right, Winter’s Bone, The Hurt Locker).
    Female-lead movies like The Help, Julie&Julia and Bridesmaids are blockbusters.

    I think those are all improvements.

  67. Sakul, very good points. I think “things have gotten worse for women” is sort of relative. However I will say that 15 years ago you would not have seen a woman direct The Hurt Locker and then beat the man who made Titanic. She certainly would NOT have been the one to make the first real movie about the hunt, and capture, on the world’s most elusive terrorist. I think Sasha says that things have gotten worse for women because, frankly, she follows this stuff much more than I do so I can’t really argue with her. But, as I’ve said before, it’s premature to say that this is all happening to Ramsay because she’s a woman. What I do agree with her on is how much of the public “film nerd” types that view women like Ramsay. Either way we just need the whole story that might never come about.

  68. Claiming the status quo is worse in Hollywood than 15 years ago (for practically any perceived minority) is somewhat ridiculous. So pessimistic.

  69. Houstonrufus

    Sasha, I applaud your reaction to the reaction. I just wonder if you’d ever even allow yourself to consider she maybe bungled this, regardless of the reaction. The notion that she’s ruined this for other directors is ridiculous and it shouldn’t be that way, but, well, it is. It’s wrong. But it has an impact. That’s not Ramsey’s fault. But it also doesn’t make her handling of the situation any less professional. I’m sad for HER. Because she’s a talented a director and I want to see more of her work. Whatever the reasons, whatever the reaction, this will make things more difficult for her unfortunately.

    I watched the Actor’s Studio with Tina Fey and it reminds me of this. A female student asked her how to deal with working in a male dominated industry. Fey was sort of brutally honest. Do the work. Let the work speak for you. Obviously I’m not as eloquent as Fey, especially with her laser delivery. It’s true Ramsey will get piled on even more because she’s female. That’s why it would have been even more important for her to have shown up and completed the project. You can whine about the situation or show up and do good work. Eventually, the good work, with some luck, will take care of things.

  70. The Dude

    No matter who is to blame here, whether it is the producer or Ramsay (most likely both), this story is increasingly bizarre even for Hollywood standards.

  71. “Yesterday I was accused of reverse-sexism – not for taking Ramsay’s side but for suggesting neutrality until all the details are known and for calling out some of the unnecessary sexist comments and assumptions.”

    Nah, steve50, that isn’t the case. At all. You made a series of incompatible comparisons to the ‘Jane Got a Gun’ situation: I corrected them and said that she had a responsibility to tell the crew that they might have been out of work (a crew that – guess what – consists of men AND women) and then you accused me of sexism because … err, … just because, OK?

    Again, I ask: “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.”

    And, no Sasha Stone, just because a director, star or whoever was nice to you, doesn’t mean that’s the way she is on set. People act differently in different situations: it’s called ‘social influence’

  72. You know, I am pretty sure Callum Marsh is right: Tony Kaye has NEVER been criticized for overdramatizing situations (“Though nobody, as far as I can recall, described his behaviour as hysterical or his actions as caused by ‘drama'”). Except …

    “You’re dealing with someone who has a compulsive need for external meloDRAMA. He’s taken a very normal level of collaborative interaction and turned it into a meloDRAMA of creative abuse” (Edward Norton)

    “In the midst of the DRAMA, Kaye reached out to the one person who was nuts enough to understand him” (Evgenia Peretz)

    And these filmmakers, who don’t specifically use the term drama, but reference the guy’s psychological need to transform any situation into a display of his own ego:

    “He’s such an incredibly self-loathing person and compensates for this with such a powerful self-promoting technique” (John Morrissey)

    “Look, Tony, this is my show, this is not yours. And what are you going to wear today?” (Marlon Brando)

    “Tony Kaye is a very complicated, interesting fellow … I don’t believe that I’ll be working with him again. I didn’t not get along with him on a personal level” (Bryan Cranston)

    So, yeah Mr. Marsh, BAD example, huh? Then again, it was probably my fault to expect better of someone who describes himself as “generally lovable dilettante” …

  73. “Running away & locking herself in the bathroom”? Yeah – maybe she was just PMSing! That’s exactly the kind of hysterical, misogynistic comment that we need to talk about.

    Whether Ramsay’s actions are justified of not is not the point. She could be totally out of line. But the way people are reacting to it reveals a disturbing well of contempt towards female directors / female professionals; implying melodrama, bathroom histrionics & that this is the general over-emotional behaviour we all knew should be expected of a female director, rather than simply calling out her actions as unprofessional (if that is their take on it), and that is the point.

    Also, which feminists are damning Ramsay’s actions?

  74. Another slam piece by Deadline, what a surprise. Why that site is so popular is beyond me.

Leave a Comment

Warning: Do not abuse your right to comment here. You will be deleted.