There's some much needed good news for the producers of the troubled Natalie Portman western "Jane Got A Gun" – not only do they finally have a villain again, but the casting choice could earn the movie some love from hardcore "Star Wars" fans.
Ewan McGregor has been cast as a gunman seeking revenge in "Jane Got A Gun," filling a role that belonged to Bradley Cooper until May 1, when the "Silver Linings Playbook" star dropped out due to schedule conflicts.
Now director Gavin O'Connor not only has a gifted actor to take Cooper's place, he's teamed up McGregor and Portman for the first time since "Star Wars, Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith," where they played Obi-Wan and Padme. Factor in the fact Joel Edgerton, who played Owen Lars in "Revenge of the Sith" and "Episode 2: Attack of the Clones," is also in the cast, and this should catch the attention of fans biding their time until the new "Star Wars" trilogy arrives in theaters in 2015.
Word of McGregor's casting (and the coincidental "Sith" reunion) is just the latest chapter in what's become the most convoluted production story in recent memory. Shortly before filming was to begin on "Jane Got A Gun" in March, Michael Fassbender was forced to drop out of the project due to scheduling conflicts on "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," and Edgerton, who was playing the villain, was moved into Fassbender's role. Jude Law was then cast as the bad guy, but on the first day of shooting, director Lynne Ramsay failed to report to set, and it was soon revealed she'd quit as a result of long-standing conflicts with the producers. Law, who had signed on because he'd been impressed with Ramsay's films "Morvern Callar" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin," dropped out when Ramsay was replaced by director Gavin O'Connor. Things seemed to stabilize when Cooper joined the cast, but after shooting on Cooper's current project, David O. Russell's "American Hustle," was delayed due to the Boston Marathon bombings (the movie is being shot on location in and around Boston), he was forced to leave the production. Now that McGregor is on board, things are back to normal, at least for the meantime.
There's no word if McGregor and Portman will be playing "Star Wars" trivia games on the set, but during a recent publicity event for "The Great Gatsby," Edgerton recently told a reporter that things are going much better on the "Jane Got A Gun" set than circumstances might suggest. Edgerton said the company was "about halfway or more" through the shooting schedule, and that since nearly all the scenes for McGregor's character were to shot during the second half of production, the casting troubles hadn't had much impact on filming. "Movies are shot out of order," Edgerton said, "and nothing will have to be reshot."
"We're winning out there," Edgerton said. "We're having a great time. It's been wonderful." That's good news for everyone on "Jane Got A Gun," especially Natalie Portman, who in addition to playing the title role is co-producing the picture along with Aleen Keshishian and Scott Steindorff.