Lynne Ramsay announced that she would no longer be directing “Jane Got A Gun” by not showing up to work on Monday, the first day of principal photography. The Natalie Portman-produced Western had already seen a bit of turmoil -- just last week, Michael Fassbender dropped out, citing the go-to Hollywood euphemism of “scheduling conflicts.”
If anyone involved with the production knows what led to Ramsay’s dramatic no-show, they’re not talking. So far, producer Scott Steindorff is the only cast or crew member to comment, and he doesn’t sound at all happy with the “We Need To Talk About Kevin” director. “I have millions of dollars invested, we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast,” Steindorff told 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.”
Steindorff’s comments suggest that no one is worried Ramsay’s absence is the result of an accident or an emergency. No word yet on which directors might be tapped to replace Ramsay, who was not available to comment for the Deadline article. The highly anticipated project was the subject of a bidding war last year at Cannes.
While it’s not unheard of for a director to drop out of a project at an inconvenient time, this may be the first time a director has bailed on a big-budget studio production the first day of filming. On Tuesday afternoon, "Lynne Ramsey" was trending on Twitter, and many of the social media chatter was in reference to the 300-plus comments on the breaking Deadline story (which has not been updated since Tuesday morning). Some of those commenters were concerned that Ramsay’s supposedly unprofessional behavior would make studios even more reluctant to hire female directors, who are few and far between in Hollywood.
The critically acclaimed Scottish director first made a name for herself with the gritty coming-of-age story “Ratcatchers” in 1999, followed by “Morvern Callar,” which was also well-received. Ramsay did not direct another feature until 2011’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” though she was initially attached to adapt Alice Sebold’s novel “The Lovely Bones.” She later claimed that a producer “screwed” her out of the project, which eventually went to Peter Jackson, whose adaptation of the beloved novel was widely (and justifiably) panned.