Is 'Jane Got A Gun' Based On A True Story? The Film Definitely Had Some Clear Influences
Natalie Portman begins her comeback this month by finally returning to theaters in Jane Got a Gun; a movie that she actually filmed three years ago. But in spite of the multitude of problems the film faced in making it to the screen, the movie still looks like it's going to be a thrilling western and a fitting return for the Oscar-winning actress. But is Jane Got a Gun based on a true story? The film seems plausible enough, as it tells the story of Jane, portrayed by Natalie Portman, a woman in the Old West whose family becomes the target of a vicious gang from her past. In order to protect her ailing husband and her young daughter, Jane turns to her gunslinging former lover (Joel Edgerton) for help, and he trains her in the art of shooting. So, did it really happen?
Nope. Jane Got a Gun is a work of fiction, and was written by Brian Duffield, who later gained some notoriety for writing the screenplay for Insurgent. But his script for Jane Got a Gun is what first put him on the map back in 2011, earning a spot on the Black List, a collection of the best unproduced screenplays. But even though the story came from Duffield, he didn't pull it completely out of thin air. Rather, he was influenced by another film.
According to IMDb, Duffield's script is loosely based upon the 1971 film Hannie Caulder . And although Jane Got a Gun isn't a straight remake of that movie, there are clear similarities. Hannie Caulder is about a woman in the Old West named... Hannie Caulder, who was portrayed by Raquel Welch. Her character, like Jane, also falls victim to a murderous gang, who in her case killed her husband and sexually assaulted her. Caulder then seeks the help of a bounty hunter (who is not her ex-boyfriend) who trains her to be a gunfighter, and she sets out to exact revenge on the outlaws. Like I said, Jane Got a Gun isn't a remake, but the influence is pretty evident.
Then there's the matter of the title of Jane Got a Gun. The film almost certainly derives its name from the Aerosmith song, "Janie's Got a Gun", because the two are way too similar for it to be a coincidence. And although the subject matter depicted in the song is markedly different from the film, it's about a woman shooting her father after he sexually abused her as a child, no one could be blamed for thinking the two are related on account of their almost identical names.
So even though Jane Got a Gun is not based on a true story, the film is still putting forth a strong, badass female character in the tradition of Hannie Caulder. Let's just hope there's not another 45 year gap before the next one.
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