Director’s Chair Introduction: Lynne Ramsay

by Tony Cogan · April 2, 2018 · Uncategorized · 1 Comment

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Deadline: 28th April 2018

Hello everyone, it’s time to announce the director that will be featured for this months Director’s Chair and, to tie into the release of You Were Never Really Here, the director this month will be Lynne Ramsay.

Born in Glasgow in 1969, Ramsay got her start in the mid-90s, after graduating from the National Film and Television School, with the short films she made during her education and in the immediate aftermath characterising the gritty style of Ramsay’s films to follow. She made her feature debut in 1999 with Ratcatcher, set in Glasgow in 1973, and showcased the strong directorial style and subsequent acclaim that would be seen with Ramsay’s other films. Following Ratcatcher, she made her first adapted film with her adaptation of Alan Warner’s Morven Callar, which again saw Ramsay see high acclaim, with it winning Samantha Morton Best Actress at the 2002 British Independent Film Awards. Following on from Morven Callar, Ramsay made her most high profile film, We Need to Talk About Kevin. Stuck in development hell for years due to budget issues, Ramsay was hired to work on the film in 2006, but it took until 2011 for the film to reach cinemas. When it was released, it received high acclaim, being nominated for 3 BAFTAs, including Best Director for Ramsay, and winning Best Director at the British Independent Film Awards. It was also here that Ramsay started her working relationship with Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, which continued into You Were Never Really Here, Ramsay being the only director other that Paul Thomas Anderson to work with Greenwood on more than one occasion. For a better understanding of this, along with her use of music overall, listen to her episode of Soundtracking with Edith Bowman, which I was lucky enough to see recorded at the Glasgow Film Festival after a screening of You Were Never Really Here.

Probably the reason most people would know about Lynne Ramsay though was due to her involvement with Jane Got a Gun. Whilst the film was in production, Ramsay was hired to direct the film but during the process, Ramsay realised that the script she was hired to direct was not the film the producers wanted and so she left the project on the first day of filming, with Jude Law leaving in solidarity with Ramsay to be replaced by Ewan McGregor. This was not the first time that Ramsay left a high profile project as she was originally going to direct the adaptation of The Lovely Bones but her version of the story would have wildly deviated from the book and, seeing how the book became a massive success between Ramsay being hired for the film and the project getting more steam to be green-lit, the studio (in this case Film4) wanted a version of the story that was more loyal to the book and as such Ramsay was removed from the project, with Ramsay stating that she believed Peter Jackson’s loyalty to the book in his version is what led to the films lack of success. These gave Ramsay a reputation for being a “difficult” director, which is probably why there has been such a long gap between We Need to Talk About Kevin and You Were Never Really Here, and something which I do not agree with at all. For more details, read this excellent interview she gave earlier this year with The Guardian.

Now there isn’t much known about the future projects Lynne Ramsay is going to make but there is one project she’s been floating around for a few years, since We Need to Talk About Kevin, is a new adaptation of Moby Dick with a sci-fi bent and I hope that Ramsay is able to get the funding she needs for it. She’s also said that she’s got a comedy in the works and that is something I am interested in seeing as well.

Now, as usual, I’m looking for any pieces that you have done on the films of Lynne Ramsay in any format. If you need a reminder of Ramsay’s films, I’ve listed them below.

  • Ratcatcher
  • Morven Callar
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin
  • You Were Never Really Here

I look forward to seeing whatever you send me and I hope those of you who aren’t familiar with Ramsay’s films will use this opportunity to see her work, she is one of the most under-rated directors working today and she deserves all the praise she’s got.