Saturday, May 3, 2014

Gregg Allman files lawsuit against Midnight Rider biopic producers

Gregg Allman has filed a lawsuit against the producers of his biopic, “Midnight Rider”, alleging that the life rights to his story have lapsed.

The move comes a week after it was revealed that Allman had asked director Randall Miller to shut down production following the February death of a production assistant on the project.

The Hollywood Reporter says the lawsuit alleges that Unclaimed Freight Productions picked up an option on his life story in March of 2013, but had two conditions: one was that principal photography had to commence by a certain date. After an amendment, that was set for February 28, 2014.

The suit alleges that production did not commence by that date and that the February 20 train track shots - during which camera assistant Sarah Jones was struck and killed by a freight train and several others injured - were part of pre-production.

Second, producers were required to pay the full purchase price. According to the complaint, the producers attempted to wire all but $9,000 of the money, which prompted Allman's reps to return two checks equaling the amount. Allman's camp insists that the full amount has never been tendered.

"Therefore, Allman requests that the Court enter an Order declaring that the Defendants' Option has expired and directing the Defendants to cease all efforts to make a motion picture based upon the life of Gregg Allman and/or his autobiography," the complaint reads.

A hearing to consider a temporary restraining order is scheduled for May 12.

“I am writing to you as one human being to another, and appealing to you from my heart,” Allman wrote Miller last week. “I am asking you from a personal perspective not to go forward. When the idea of you producing the film first came about, I was genuinely excited about the possibility of sharing my story with fans around the world. Unfortunately, all of that changed for me on Feb. 20 of this year. While there may have been a possibility that the production might have resumed shortly after that, the reality of Sarah Jones’ tragic death, the loss suffered by the Jones family and injuries to the others involved has led me to realize that for you to continue production would be wrong.”

“Your desires as a filmmaker should not outweigh your obligations as a human being,” Allman writes. “I am asking you to do the right thing and to set aside your attempts to resume the production out of respect for Sarah, her family and the loss that all of us feel so deeply.”

“Midnight Rider” tells the story of Gregg's journey from struggling artist through the formation and subsequent success of The Allman Brothers Band, which saw the musician succumb to the excesses of rock 'n' roll.

Lead actor William Hurt – who was to play the present day version of the rock legend – recently backed out of the project. The film was also scheduled to star Tyson Ritter - the lead singer/songwriter of the All American Rejects – as a young Gregg Allman, and Wyatt Russell as his brother Duane.

See also:

Gregg Allman urges director to shut down Midnight Rider biopic
William Hurt quits Gregg Allman biopic
Gregg Allman cuts Australian tour short due to wrist injury
VIDEO: Eric Church covers Allman Brothers classic at Gregg Allman tribute
Search The Allman Brothers at hennemusic