EXCLUSIVE: The resilient indie Western Jane Got A Gun finally has its bad guy. Ewan McGregor is negotiating to play the pivotal role of the leader of an outlaw gang in the film that Gavin O’Connor is now directing. Natalie Portman plays the wife of an outlaw (Noah Emmerich) who leaves that gang after he gets shot up, and returns home. Knowing his former outlaw mates will come to finish him off and destroy her farm, Jane is forced to rekindle a relationship with a past love (Joel Edgerton), a capable gunman who can help her. This is the role that Jude Law originally was going to play, but he exited when original director Lynne Ramsay abruptly left the night before production began. After O’Connor came on to replace Ramsay behind the camera, they got Bradley Cooper to play the part, but his schedule is so impossibly busy — particularly after shooting got postponed on the David O Russell-directed American Hustle because of the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent city lockdown — that Cooper had to drop out. This was OK because the villain wasn’t scheduled to shoot until later into the production.
McGregor is a strong replacement. After starring in last year’s The Impossible, he stars with Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep in August: Osage County and just wrapped production in Australia on Son Of A Gun. He’s repped by UTA, UK-based United Agents and Sloane, Offer, Weber, Dern. This is the latest of many hurdles overcome on Jane Got A Gun by its producer corps of Scott Steindorff, Portman and Aleen Keshishian. Sometimes, what is important is that you’re standing at the end of the race.