It was barely a week ago that Michael Fassbender departed Lynne Ramsay's first Western, Jane Got a Gun, and at the time it was his X-men: Days of Future Past schedule that was given as the reason. It made sense in a way, and his departure didn't hurt things much as Joel Edgerton took over his role and Jude Law came aboard. The film still has Natalie Portman and Rodrigo Santoro in the other roles, and was looking like one of the most promising projects of the year. But was Fassbender's exit just the first hint of a deeper issue?
Deadline reports that Ramsay has abruptly left the film, just as production was set to begin today. No reason was given as to why, but producer Scott Steindorf was justifiably upset....
Steindorf: “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."
Ramsay's contract was pay-or-play, meaning she gets paid whether the film is completed or not, as long as it's of no fault of her own. Steindorf says he's looking at all of the legal options, and it's likely this is just the beginning of a long, drawn out fight where we'll learn more of what may have been going on behind the scenes. Certainly, it must have been something major to force the We Need to Talk About Kevin director to drop out so suddenly.
The bigger question is whether Portman and the rest of the cast will stick around when a replacement is found. Most them joined specifically for the chance to work with Ramsay, and may look to other projects if the new director isn't of the same caliber.