Adding another notch on her producer’s belt, Natalie Portman is set to produce and star in the Western Jane Got a Gun, which will be directed by Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin). The story follows a woman with an “outlaw husband” on the run from some nasties, and it’s her job to stop them from murdering him. So, a western being produced and directed by women, starring a woman who doesn’t need to be saved. We’re listening, Ms. Portman and Ms. Ramsay. You have our attention.
Right now, the project is looking for investors at Cannes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about how cool it sounds already. The screenplay by Brian Duffield was actually on a list of last year’s best unproduced screenplays, and I’d love to think that Portman, while wearing a producer’s hat (whatever that might look like) thought to herself, “I should really find a great screenplay that is just hiding in oblivion and needs to be made,” did a web search, found that list, and just plucked it from obscurity. But I’m sure there was much more of a process involved.
According to /Film, the story is about “a woman whose outlaw husband returns home barely alive and riddled with bullet wounds. She is forced to reach out to an ex-lover and ask if he will help defend her farm when her husband’s gang eventually tracks him down to finish the job.” At which point, I’m assuming, the title character of Jane Got a Gun obtained a firearm. Sounds pretty awesome, especially since the wife role is clearly a far cry from a damsel in distress. But we also know that women in westerns are not necessarily cast as such and can do a good job taking care of themselves.
But it’s also exciting to know that after the Patty Jenkins debacle on Thor 2, Portman will have an opportunity to work with a strong female director, in a generally male-friendly genre, no less. Ramsay was one of the female directors that people would have liked to see nominated for an Oscar this year, so maybe Jane will finally get her the attention she deserves.