Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1001: Lynne Got A Gun & Shot Herself In The Career.

Now here is a story of something you don't see every day.

After 9 months of the development and pre-production the independent drama Jane Got A Gun began production. On the first day of shooting the actors showed up, the crew showed up, and they were all ready to get the show on the road.

But they couldn't.

The film was missing a somewhat vital ingredient.

The film's director Lynne Ramsay hadn't showed up. She wasn't running late, she hadn't been kidnapped by aliens and was sharing a cell with Elvis Presley. Ramsay had walked off the production.

The film's producers worked quick to get a replacement, possibly saving the production, that's not the reason for this post.

I'm not going to go into speculating as to the reasons why she ankled the show, that's her business, but her decision probably sank her career, and cautionary examples are my business.

You see there's a line that she crossed that, barring some magical excuse that may involve unicorns, that could cause her to never work again. It all boils down to timing and time.

You see the biggest thing a film production budget buys is time. Cast and crew are being paid for their time, equipment, props, costumes, and locations all must be rented. Everything in production is built around time.

This is exponentially more important in independent production. Independent productions don't have much money or time, so they usually can't afford to have any time wasted.

Now people walk off productions all the time, but if they expect to work again it depends on their timing. The time for leaving a movie is during the development stage, when people are hashing out the final script, doing the casting, and other big decisions. You can leave a production during development and not really worry about any negative repercussions to your career, because people will just assume things didn't work out.

Now if you leave during pre-production you run the risk of being branded "difficult" unless you have a really good excuse, like contractual obligations rearing their ugly head, or illness. Final commitments are being made during this stage, but even if you don't have a good excuse the film community can handle difficult people if they believe the person has talent and/or commercial viability.

Which brings me to Ramsay's situation.

Once production has begun there is only one reason a director should be off set, and that involves a potentially deadly illness or being mauled by wolves. In fact, I can't remember any story of a director just walking off in the way she did.

To leave everyone hanging like that does way more than brand her as potentially difficult. It brands her as difficult, erratic, and expensive, because she could have completely killed the production, cost people their jobs, as well as millions of dollars. The independent film business has a hard enough time attracting the investors it needs to stay alive, and a stunt like that is not going to help attract more.

After doing all that, I can't conceive of a defence she can mount that could save her from complete unemployability.


  1. Blast Hardcheese20/3/13 3:54 pm

    I haven't done detailed digging, but is there any word as to why? All I see is 'clashes with the producer'. Yeah, and..? I've heard of clashes all the time, but it usually doesn't result in something like this. Brrr....I don't even want to think about how much she's put her foot in it.

  2. I don't know her motives, but unless she can connect the producer to Al Qaida her motives won't help her career. Her agent must be weeping this week.

  3. Blast Hardcheese21/3/13 12:30 pm

    And the plot thickens, or at least the crazy gets deeper...

    Jude Law, who was slated to star in the movie, has now left b/c he really wanted to work with Ramsay. Er, WTF? I thought Jude was one of the saner ones out there. I know he's probably got a lot of stuff lined up, but this can't really help him much either.

  4. It's not as bad for actors, because a lot of times you can shoot around them until a replacement is found, but without a director, who is going to do the shooting?

    As for Law, I've got too much of the "show must go on" attitude to just quit like that.

  5. I really hope she hasn't fucked herself to bad. I was looking forward to her next project which was a version of Moby Dick set in space.

  6. Blast Hardcheese22/3/13 12:08 pm

    Sean, didn't they do an animated film of Moby Dick in space already?


    Nope, I guess it was Treasure Planet I was thinking of. Because a film of Treasure Island IN SPACE is, of course, totally different from a film of Moby Dick IN SPACE...

    I, for one, would love to see them adapt the WHOLE fargin' book. Yeah, include all of the rambling chapters on whale genitalia and how creepy it was that Moby Dick was white. But IN SPACE.

    As the man said, "I've suffered for my art, now it's your turn."