Bradley Cooper Becomes the Latest to Leave ‘Jane Got A Gun’

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

Bradley Cooper has joined an exclusive but growing group of talented actors that includes Jude Law and Michael Fassbender. But don’t expect Natalie Portman to be happy for him.

The increasingly complicated story behind the production of Portman's upcoming western "Jane Got A Gun" took another turn Wednesday, when Bradley Cooper became the third actor to drop out of the project so far. Cooper was announced to play the villain in the piece on April 5, but less than a month later, the Oscar-nominee has confirmed he has backed out of the role.

In a statement released to the media, Cooper wrote, "Regretfully, due to date conflicts between the film I am currently shooting for David O. Russell and 'Jane Got A Gun,' I am unable to join Natalie, Joel [Edgerton] and Gavin [O'Connor] on this truly exciting project. I was really looking forward to being a part of it and hope to work with each and every one in the future."

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Cooper's scheduling conflicts may have been brought on by unexpected shooting delays on "American Hustle," the David O. Russell project Cooper mentioned in his statement. The film, which also stars Christian Bale, Robert De Niro, and Jennifer Lawrence, is being shot on location in the Boston area, and the April 15 bombings in the city forced producers to suspend production to cooperate with the citywide manhunt for the bombing suspects. Cooper also has a busy round of publicity appearances coming up for "The Hangover Part III," which opens May 24.

Cooper's departure from "Jane Got A Gun" is just the latest in a series of unexpected predicaments to plague the film. "Jane" was supposed to begin shooting in mid-March, but a week before production began, Michael Fassbender left the cast, due to schedule conflicts with "X-Men: Days Of Future Past." Joel Edgerton, who was to play one of the villains in the picture, was moved into Fassbender's role as the hero who helps Portman's character defend her farm from gunmen seeking revenge against her husband. Jude Law was then cast in what had been Edgerton's role, but on the first day of filming, director Lynne Ramsay quit after long simmering differences with the producers came to a head. Law, who had signed on because he'd been impressed by Ramsay's previous work, opted to also leave the company, and after Gavin O'Connor took over as "Jane"'s new director, Cooper signed on.

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While Cooper's departure is certainly bad news for O'Connor and Portman (who is a co-producer as well as the female lead), the timing is better than one might expect. Cooper's announcement comes as filming is on a scheduled break, and all the character's scenes are to be shot during the second half of production. If the right actor can be cast quickly, the film can stay on schedule.

Media outlets have reported that Tobey Maguire, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Tom Hiddleston are all in consideration to replace Cooper. While Jake Gyllenhaal has also been cited as a possible candidate, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, Gyllenhaal has already been taken out of the running. Though at the rate this production is going, he may get another chance to replace someone in "Jane" before shooting finally wraps.

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