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Director sued for ditching Natalie Portman

The ‘Jane Got a Gun’ controversy continues.
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Jonathan Doyle, November 8, 2013 11:06:01 AM

In March, director Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) made headlines when she quit Jane Got a Gone – a western starring Natalie Portman – on the first day of production. It was eventually revealed that this stemmed from a chain of events following the departure of Michael Fassbender, who quit the film just a week earlier. In the wake of the actor’s exit, Joel Edgerton switched roles and Jude Law was brought in to take over Edgerton’s old role. (When Ramsay abruptly quit, Law did the same.) Sources eventually revealed that this casting shake-up caused delays and budget overages, threatening Ramsay’s right to final cut. However, the film’s producers are now claiming that the director showed signs of instability before leaving the film – and they want her to pay.

Earlier this week, the film’s producers filed a lawsuit against Ramsay, asking her to give back the $500,000 she was paid to rewrite and direct the film, two obligations she failed to complete. The suit also makes provocative, seemingly irrelevant claims about the director’s behaviour in the weeks before her departure. “Ramsay was repeatedly under the influence of alcohol, was abusive to members of the cast and crew, and was generally disruptive,” report the producers. “Defendant Ramsay failed to adhere to proper safety protocol for handling weapons on set, when she pointed a prop gun directly at a camera and, in turn, at the camera crew before first taking proper precautions.”

Before rushing to any conclusions about Ramsay, it should be noted that producer Scott Steindorff engaged in a variety of deceitful actions after this story broke in March. Ramsay attempted to take the high road, avoiding the press altogether, while Steindorff repeatedly fed his version of events to sites like Deadline. In one of the most embarrassing chapters of the whole saga, a leaked email revealed that Steindorff asked his assistant to pressure people into writing positive comments about him online. Ramsay has continued to keep quiet about what transpired, but the evidence suggests that her decision to leave was creatively wise, if financially costly.

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