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Natalie Portman's Feminist Western Hits Yet Another Snag

As obvious as it seems — that a western about a vigilante Natalie Portman would be a great idea — the period drama "Jane Got a Gun" has had a difficult time trying to exist, and may have just hit its biggest hurdle yet.

The film, now directed by Gavin O’Connor after Lynne Ramsay abandoned the project just days before shooting began, is still technically set for a September 4 release. But its distribution company, Relativity Media, is now filing for bankruptcy, and yesterday the company handed Jane's rights back to the filmmakers. What will happen to the film from there, nobody quite seems to know yet.

"Jane Got a Gun" began with a lot of thrilling potential, teaming Portman with "We Need to Talk About Kevin" director Ramsay for a feminist tale about a frontier woman who seeks revenge against the band of outlaws who killed her husband. Over the course of a year, the cast, at some point, included Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper, Jude Law, Joel Edgerton, and Ewan McGregor; only those last two made it into the final film, as a series of scheduling changes — and eventually Ramsay’s departure, a move that resulted in a lawsuit — shook up the cast again and again. There's still no trailer for the finished film, so it’s hard to judge even superficially how it all turned out. The Hollywood Reporter speculates that The Weinstein Company, which had a deal to co-distribute with Relativity, is likely home for Jane — but as of now, there aren't even negotiations taking place.

And "Jane Got a Gun" is far from the only film suddenly tossed to the winds by Relativity’s bankruptcy — "The Bronze," a Sundance success starring Melissa Rauch, was yanked back by Sony, and the young-adult adaptation "The Tribes of Palos Verdes," starring Jennifer Garner, was handed back to its producers as well. Even less clear are the fates for films like "Autobahn," a thriller starring Felicity Jonesand Nicholas Hoult, which remains at Relativity and set for an October 30 release, even though there’s no longer a company to actually release it. You know how you sometimes swing by a Redbox and notice a bunch of films, starring huge talents, that you’ve never heard of? That could be the fate for many of these orphaned Relativity titles if new distribution deals don’t emerge to save them.

But none of them seem like as huge a loss as "Jane Got a Gun," which, despite its many troubles, still seemed like a promising return for Portman to her action-oriented, V for Vendetta days. The odds of "Jane Got a Gun" disappearing forever are very slim — even David O. Russell’s unfinished Nailed still managed to get a release — but we're starting to wonder just how many hurdles can get thrown in the way of this poor movie.

Watch a first look of "Jane Got a Gun" below:

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