It has seemed almost too quiet on the “Jane Got a Gun” front as of late. But beneath the surface, things have been tumultuous for the Natalie Portman western.
You may recall director Lynne Ramsay walked off the movie on day one of shooting, leaving a cast and crew high and dry on the New Mexico set with no clue that she was already on a plane. “Warrior” director Gavin O’Connor replaced her, cleaned house a bit and attempted to forge on, though rumor had it things were in just as much disarray as the day he arrived, if not worse.
Well, things just got uglier. Monday the film’s producers filed a lawsuit against Ramsay in federal court.
The suit alleges that the “We Need to Talk About Kevin” director was paid $500,000 to tweak Brian Duffield’s original screenplay and helm the film, but that she failed to do the work on the script, delaying production. What’s more, the producers allege that Ramsay exhibited dangerous behavior on the set.
Ramsay, the suit claims, “was repeatedly under the influence of alcohol, was abusive to members of the cast and crew and was generally disruptive…[she also] failed to adhere to proper safety protocol for handling weapons on set, when she pointed a prop gun directly at a camera and, in turn, at the camera crew before first taking proper precautions.”
In May it was reported that Ramsay quit the production after a three-day standoff with producer Scott Steindorff over final cut of the film, and that that was the cause of the delays. Whatever the case may be, the suit is asking for Ramsay to pay back her salary in addition to punitive damages over claims of fraud and breach of contract.
Throughout all of this, the film’s male cast had been a bit of a revolving door. Michael Fassbender had originally been set as the film’s co-lead opposite Portman, but he dropped out due to scheduling conflicts before the initial dust-up. Joel Edgerton, who was set to play the film’s villain, moved over to the male lead role and then Jude Law was cast as the villain. But Law left when Ramsay did.
You still with us? After Law exited, the search was on for a new villain. First Bradley Cooper got the part, but he soon enough took his leave as well. It was reported that this was due to delays following the Boston marathon bombing as he was shooting “American Hustle” in the area at the time, but given the fact that filming was only delayed a short time, that line has always been fishy. In any case, soon after, Ewan McGregor ultimately got the part.
Finally in May some good news: it was reported that Relativity Media and The Weinstein Company would team up to acquire “Jane” for distribution.
But if they thought the taint of controversy was gone…think again.