Ewan McGregor is set to replace Bradley Cooper as the main villain in the troubled indie western Jane Got a Gun, according to Deadline.
Cooper had himself replaced Jude Law in the role, who had earlier replaced Joel Edgerton.
The film, which stars Natalie Portman in the title role of a farmer forced to desperate measures to protect her life and home, has been struggling to hold down a confirmed cast since original director Lynne Ramsay walked away following a dispute with producers in March. Edgerton was originally due to play the villain, but switched to a heroic role after Michael Fassbender stepped out. Law was swiftly recruited to play the bad guy, but dropped out after Ramsay was replaced with Warrior's Gavin O'Connor. The British actor's own replacement, Cooper, was forced out last week due to prior commitments to David O Russell's conman drama American Hustle, which had experienced shooting delays due to the Boston marathon bombings. Now McGregor is said to be in talks to play the role.
Jane's Got a Gun will star Portman, best known for her Oscar-winning turn in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, as a homesteader whose outlaw husband (Noah Emmerich) returns home bloodied and near death after his gang turn on him. When the miscreants (currently led by McGregor) reappear to finish the job, Jane must enlist the help of an old flame (Edgerton) to defend her.
Fortunately for the production, scenes involving the villain were always due to be filmed later in the shoot, which in any case is currently on hiatus to allow O'Connor to make proper preparations. McGregor's potential appointment to a role recently exited by several of his peers suggests the Brian Duffield-scripted project remains capable of attracting high-profile talent despite its many setbacks.
Ramsay, the acclaimed director of Morvern Callar and We Need to Talk About Kevin, reportedly quit the production following disputes with producer Scott Steindorff over shooting delays beyond her control and the maintenance of an agreement which gave her final cut. She has not spoken publicly about the reasons for her departure.
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