After eight years off the big screen, Lynne Ramsay is finally set to return this spring with the release of “You Were Never Really Here.” The Joaquin Phoenix-starring drama earned two prizes at the Cannes Film Festival last year, best screenplay and best actor, and once again cements Ramsay as one of the most visionary directors working today.
Ramsay’s films often earn critical acclaim and accolades, and yet all the praise in the world hasn’t been able to stop the rumors that she’s difficult to work with on set. The rumors intensified following the “Jane Got a Gun” debacle, in which Ramsay failed to show up on the first day of filming and subsequently quit the movie after fighting with producers over the film’s direction. In a new interview with The Guardian, Ramsay admits she’s aware of the rumor and calls its a complete myth.
“I’ve got a reputation for being difficult, and yet with my crew and my cast, I’m super-collaborative and we get on really well, and they like working with me,” Ramsay said. “So to me that always feels like bullshit. You’re doing a tough job, where you’re the captain of the ship, and there’s always tough decisions to make, and sometimes you’ve just got to go, ‘That’s not right for this.'”
In terms of “Jane Got a Gun,” Ramsay had been developing the project for quite some time and was heavily involved in casting (“I’d seen every extra,” she said). But just before production was to begin, Ramsay realized that the people financing the picture wanted a “totally different film” than what she was planning to do with the script. The producers wanted a happier ending and already had re-edits in mind. Ramsay knew it was unprofessional to quit, but she says there was no other option.
“You’ve got to stick up for what you believe in,” Ramsay said. “If you don’t do that, you’re doing a disservice to the audience, because you’re making something really diluted. And if you do that when you’re a guy, you’re seen as artistic – ‘difficulty’ is seen as a sign of genius. But it’s not the same for women. It’s a tough industry, and if you’re a woman it’s harder, whether you like it or not.”
“You Were Never Really Here” opens in select theaters April 6 via Amazon Studios.