Singer Allman sues to stop movie after train crash

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 5, 2014 at 10:12 am •  Published: May 5, 2014
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Singer Gregg Allman has filed a lawsuit to stop movie producers from reviving a film based on his life story after a freight train plowed into crew members shooting on train tracks in southeast Georgia, killing one worker and injuring six others.

Attorneys for the Allman Brothers Band singer want a Superior Court judge to order Unclaimed Freight Productions "to cease all efforts to make a motion picture based upon the life of Gregg Allman and/ or his autobiography," according the lawsuit filed last week in Savannah.

Production on "Midnight Rider," a movie based on Allman's 2012 memoir "My Cross to Bear," had just begun in Savannah when crew members were stuck by a train Feb. 20 on a trestle spanning the Altamaha River in nearby Wayne County. Sarah Jones, a 28-year-old camera assistant, was killed. Six other members of director Randall Miller's crew were injured, either by the train or by flying shrapnel from a bed placed on the tracks. Authorities investigating the crash say CSX Railroad, which owns the tracks, told them it did not give producers permission to film there.

Producers suspended work on the movie indefinitely the following week. Actor William Hurt, who was to star as Allman and was at the scene of the crash, later issued a statement saying he informed producers he would no longer work on the film.

Allman's attorneys say "Midnight Rider" producers lost their rights to the singer's life story when they failed to start principal photography by Feb. 28 and came up $9,000 short of an unspecified sum they had agreed to pay Allman for those film rights. The lawsuit says both those conditions were spelled out in Allman's contract with Unclaimed Freight.

"Through my representatives, I have objected to Defendants' plan to proceed with the motion picture," Allman says in an affidavit filed with the lawsuit on April 28. Regardless, producers have told Allman's representatives they plan to move forward with the movie, the lawsuit says.