Gavin O’Connor Takes Over As “Jane Got a Gun” Director for AWOL Lynne Ramsay

Gavin O'Connor gets an unexpected trip to New Mexico.

You know how you’ll hear a film described as a “troubled production?” Most of the time you hear that part way through filming or after it’s completed (and the release date has been moved several times). It’s rare that a movie can earn that label on its first day of shooting.

That happened yesterday when director Lynne Ramsay didn’t show up for the first day of filming “Jane Got a Gun,” a movie starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, and Jude Law. Portman is one of the producers. So picture, if you can, everyone on set, actors in costume and make up, crew unpacking equipment, craft services set up, and producer Scott Steindorff had to call everyone together and say, “Uh, no filming today because the director didn’t show up, and that is her way of saying she’s quitting.”

Steindorff told Deadline:

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 also announced that he has retained legal counsel for what will undoubtedly be a nasty lawsuit. Ramsay, meanwhile, needs a crack PR team.

Ramsay is probably best known for directing the well-received “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” It’s bad to quit a movie a few days before production is supposed to begin; it’s downright disrespectful and unprofessional to just not show up the first day. There had apparently been some trouble between Ramsay and the producers over the last week, but why not quit then? Why not drop out on Monday? I know, we haven’t heard her side of the story yet, but I find it hard to believe that she didn’t know at least the day before that she just wanted out. I don’t know–as I said, we haven’t heard her side yet, but it’s going to have to be a pretty amazing reason to explain this.

“Jane” also had some upheaval a few weeks ago when Michael Fassbender dropped out of the cast, reportedly due to his schedule for “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” They bumped Joel Edgerton into Fassbender’s role and hired Jude Law to play the role Edgerton was originally slated to play.

Anyway, we have a happy ending–or at least a new beginning. Deadline reports that Gavin O’Connor has stepped in and amazingly, will begin production on Thursday. I can’t even imagine how he’s going to do this with one day to plan. Just shoot tons of coverage for every scene and then hope to put it together in editing? Yikes. O’Connor is best known for directing “Tumbleweeds,” “Miracle,” and “Warrior.” He also directed the pilot for the hit FX series “The Americans.”

Brian Duffield wrote the script for “Jane Got a Gun.” It’s about “a woman whose outlaw husband returns home riddled with bullets. Convinced his gang will return to finish him off and destroy her farm, the woman turns to an ex-lover she hasn’t seen in a decade to help her defend the farm.” Good luck to them.

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