November 06, 2013 2:51pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
'Jane Got a Gun' Producers Sue Director Lynne Ramsay: 'Abusive' and 'Under the Influence'
The trouble over the Natalie Portman Western Jane Got a Gun is heading to court.
On Monday, producers of the movie sued Lynne Ramsay in federal court in New Mexico, alleging that the project's former director was paid $750,000 to tweak Brian Duffield's screenplay and to helm the film but that she didn't follow through on her responsibilities and delayed production as a result.
The lawsuit, first reported by New Mexico's KRQE station, also alleges that Ramsay exhibited dangerous behavior on the set. Producers claims she "was repeatedly under the influence of alcohol, was abusive to members of the cast and crew and was generally disruptive. … [She also] 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."
Producers are asking that Ramsay pay back the money; they also are seeking punitive damages over claims of fraud and breach of contract. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Ramsay's reps at WME for comment and will update with a response.
Ramsay quit abruptly the day before shooting began. As THR previously reported, when star Portman showed up for the first day of shooting in March on the New Mexico set, she and the crew were unaware that the project had lost its director after a three-day standoff with producer-financier Scott Steindorff. Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) was quickly hired to take over as director.
Jude Law, who had been recruited only days earlier when star Michael Fassbender abruptly quit the movie, also later exited the project. Bradley Cooper was brought in to replace him, only to exit in May. Ewan McGregor took over the role in the movie, which also stars Joel Edgerton.
Sources close to the project have painted a conflicting picture of who was to blame for Ramsay's exit. Two sources previously told THR that the Scottish filmmaker (We Need to Talk About Kevin) had not been presented with an approved schedule, script or budget mere days before shooting was set to begin. Another source said Ramsay, who was revising the screenplay herself, failed to deliver a shooting script despite several delays and increasingly bizarre behavior.
In May, Relativity and The Weinstein Co. partnered to acquire Jane Got a Gun for distribution.
UPDATED, Nov. 9: Ramsay's rep tells THR: "Lynne Ramsay has not been served with this lawsuit and, when she is, she will respond in court and not in the media. That said, the allegations as recently reported are simply false. Lynne looks forward to presenting the truth about this situation in the proper forum.”