Lynne Ramsay quits Natalie Portman western ‘Jane Got a Gun’ on day one of shooting

Chalk this up as some instantly legendary Hollywood news. Lynne Ramsay has no-showed Natalie Portman western “Jane Got a Gun” on day one of shooting out in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As Mike Fleming writes in his exclusive report, directors leaving production is hardly unheard of, but not showing up on the very first day is a bit, uh, unique.

Apparently everyone – cast, crew, etc. – is still down there and the producers are scrambling to get another director on board ASAP. I’m bummed out, though, because Ramsay seemed like a great fit for this material. The script was written by Brian Duffield (who, full disclosure, formerly contributed to In Contention) and it’s a stripped down example in the genre, but special given the strength of its female protagonist. That’s why I always thought Ramsay was quite the get.

Not only that but, as you’ve heard from me before, I’m desperate to see the western succeed again. Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” breathed some more life into it last year, after the Coen brothers did the same with “True Grit” in 2010. And I’m scared to death of “The Lone Ranger,” expensive as hell right around the corner and threatening to stall the genre if it bombs as a result of that price tag.

Who knows what’s really going on here. Ramsay can be quite the firecracker. Did she just oversleep? (Kidding.) Calling all of this “an irresponsible act by one person,” producer Scott Steindorff tells Fleming, “I have millions of dollars invested, we”re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast. 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.”

Of course, that’s one side of the story, expertly handed to Deadline for the purposes of publicizing it. But it’s a big moment. And it could be a bad one for Ramsay if it gets her blacklisted in any way as a result. Of course, she’s always marched to the beat of her own drummer. Nevertheless, I imagine more about this story will out some day, perhaps sooner than later.

Portman is set to star alongside Jude Law and Joel Edgerton in the film, if and when it gets back up and running.