Producer Scott Steindorff has made good on his assertion of an “imminent” securing of a new director for the upcoming “Jane Got a Gun,” and it comes in the form of “Warrior” director Gavin O’Connor.
The project has proven difficult to wrangle for Steindorff and his company, Scott Productions, despite early assembly of an impressive cast and crew. Original participants included cast members Natalie Portman (also producing), Michael Fassbender, Joel Edgerton, Rodrigo Santoro, and director Lynne Ramsay (of the breathtaking “We Need to Talk About Kevin”).
However, as production drew nigh, eleventh-hour turmoil threatened the project’s very viability. Michael Fassbender exited one week before shooting reportedly due to scheduling conflicts created by delays over at “X-Men: Days of Future Passed,” followed by the astonishing exit of Lynne Ramsay, who did not show up on set yesterday as cameras were scheduled to roll.
No one’s talking much about what’s driving the behind-the-scenes action, but for a director to suddenly and summarily exit at such a juncture would indicate deep issues, further confirmed given that Steindorff is reportedly inquiring into his production company’s legal options.
Corporate contractual wranglings aside, the hard work of 150 people and their investors hangs in the balance, and Steindorff has proven himself a man of skillful responsiveness, organization, and negotiation (always good qualities in a producer – queue up “Wag the Dog” for an excellent picture of what these folks’ work truly entails).
Within the week between Fassbender’s departure and day one of shooting, he’d moved Joel Edgerton into Fassbender’s role and signed Jude Law to take over for Edgerton, and a mere 24 hours after Ramsay’s departure had secured Gavin O’Connor at the helm.
O’Connor promises to be an excellent replacement, perhaps begging platitudes about disguised blessings and all that (too soon to be invoked by those involved, surely). Writer/director O’Connor is the unparalleled master of presenting the paradox and anguish of deeply seated love-hate relationships; he directed Edgerton and Tom Hardy as estranged brothers in MMA competition in the dazzling "Warrior,” and Edward Norton and Colin Farrell as brothers-in-law in blue on opposite sides of police corruption in the egregiously under-appreciated “Pride and Glory” (“The Departed” had just sucked all the oxygen out of that space at the time).
Here telling the tale of a woman whose best hope of her family’s survival is a still-burning old flame harboring bitter loathing of her husband, “Jane Got a Gun” seems hardly able to be in better hands. It remains to be seen how effectively O’Connor can put his mark on work already so fully developed by another, but the production remains apparently solid and back on track once again.
“Jane Got a Gun” currently stars Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jude Law, and is aiming for a 2014 release.