Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, And Jeff Bridges Eyed For 'Jane Got A Gun;' Lynne Ramsay Remains Silent

The Jane Got a Gun story keeps getting more complicated.

The outline of the story, as we know it, is that the indie western produced by and starring Natalie Portman was set to begin shooting this past Monday, but that Ramsay didn't turn up to direct on the day. Producer/financier Scott Steindorff spoke out via Deadline, saying he was "shocked" at the director's behavior. He quickly hired Gavin O'Connor (of Warrior, which also starred Jane Got a Gun cast member Joel Edgerton) as a replacement director. Now Steindorff is looking for an actor to replace Jude Law, who had recently been hired for the film, but dropped out following Ramsay's departure.

But the bigger story about the film is still in between the lines. Suggestions are emerging that Ramsay had actually quit the weekend prior to production start; if that is the case, then the big statements and assumptions made this week have to be re-evaluated. In the meantime, however, there is a new casting effort to report.

First, the news: Steindorff and O'Connor are looking at actors including Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, and Jeff Bridges to replace Jude Law in the role of the film's antagonist, says the LA Times. The role is for an outlaw who nearly kills the husband of Portman's character, then tracks him to their homestead.

(The lineage of this particular role is already weird: it had been originally filled by Joel Edgerton. But Michael Fassbender, originally set to be the film's male lead, dropped out last week. He cited schedule conflicts, but knowing what we do now, that probably wasn't the only reason he left. Edgerton moved over to Fassbender's role, and Law was hired to play the bad guy. When Ramsay left, he walked, too. Confused yet?)

Gyllenhaal is in Atlanta shooting Prisoners right now, but might be done soon enough to move quickly onto the western. Maguire and Bridges are pretty different choices, and from here it is impossible to predict if any of these names might sign on. No matter which of the three gets the nod — if it is any of them — it will help define the film. Films do last-minute casting all the time, but that this is all so public is slightly unusual.

Steindorff wanted this story public. His office gave the story to Deadline, and there have been all manner of reports about what really went on in the wake of the first report. If, as some say, Ramsay quit over the weekend, then the initial story this week is partially fabricated. FilmDrunk says that his office has been soliciting people to leave positive comments on the Deadline story. And then there's the fact that Steindorff's daughter was Ramsay's manager until this week — she's now dropped Ramsay as a client. (Or the other way around, perhaps.) I can spin half a dozen different assumptive backstories out of all these details. Which is correct? We don't know at this point.

Persistent word is that both Ramsay and Steindorff can be difficult to work with, but for whatever reason, the film's former director hasn't put her side of the story out there. Ramsay has reportedly gone back to the UK, but we still don't have a statement from her. After being forced off one high-profile film in the past (The Lovely Bones, on which she was displaced by Peter Jackson) this situation might feel all too familiar.

Steindorff was also going to finance Mobius, Ramsay's sci-fi telling of Moby Dick. The idea of that film going forward with her at the helm seems like a very unlikely prospect at this point.