Director Lynne Ramsay is no-show for Natalie Portman film

British director fails to appear for indie western Jane Got a Gun, her follow-up to We Need to Talk About Kevin

Confusion has erupted on the set of independent drama Jane Got a Gun after director Lynne Ramsay failed to turn up for work on the first day of shooting in Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to Deadline.

Ramsay's follow-up to the critically acclaimed We Need to Talk About Kevin, Jane Got a Gun is a western that is to star Natalie Portman in the title role, as well as Joel Edgerton, Jude Law and Rodrigo Santoro. When the cast arrived for work on Monday morning they were told the British film-maker was a no-show. Producer Scott Steindorff has described Ramsay's behaviour as "irresponsible". Earlier today it was announced that Warrior's Gavin O'Connor would take charge of production, with suggestions he will begin work as early as tomorrow. The Hollywood Reporter described "clashes" between Steindorff and Ramsay, though no details have yet emerged. Deadline is also suggesting that Law has dropped out, as a result of Ramsay's departure.

"I have millions of dollars invested, we're ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast," Steindorff said. "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, who has invested in the project via his Scott Pictures production company, said he was considering his legal options. "This comes down to an irresponsible act by one person."

Ramsay's apparent decision to not appear for the first day of the shoot is virtually unprecedented in Hollywood, but the director of Morvern Callar and Ratcatcher has yet to make a public statement and had not responded to a request to comment by the Guardian by the time of publication.

Jane Got a Gun is based on a screenplay by Brian Duffield which made the 2011 Black List of the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood and would have marked Ramsay's first feature project by another screenwriter. Portman, best known for her Oscar-winning turn in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, plays a farmer's wife whose outlaw husband returns home bloodied and near death after his gang turn on him. When the miscreants reappear to finish the job, Jane must enlist the help of an old flame to defend her life and home.

Ramsay left an adaptation of Alice Sebold's bestselling novel The Lovely Bones in 2004 after producers declared an interest in seeing a film version that was more faithful to the book. The film was eventually directed by Peter Jackson in a rare critical bomb from the Lord of the Rings film-maker.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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