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‘Midnight Rider’: Gregg Allman sues to stop production

gregg allman playing guitar reuters.jpg

October 3, 2012. Musician Gregg Allman performs during the "Love for Levon" charity event at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Reuters)

Gregg Allman is seeking to block the production of “Midnight Rider” from resuming, two months after the Feb. 20 death of second camera assistant Sarah Jones reports Variety.

Allman filed the lawsuit Monday against the production companies Unclaimed Freight Prods. and Allman LLC in state court in Savannah, Ga., alleging the option to his life rights had expired. The action asserts that under terms of the option, principal photography on “Midnight Rider” needed to have commenced by Feb. 28.

“Defendants have unambiguously expressed their firm intentions to proceed with production of the motion picture under the Formal Option Agreement, as amended, by the beginning of June,” the complaint said.

A hearing has been set for May 12 on the request for a court order to halt production.

Unclaimed Freight had no comment about the suit.

Allman said Unclaimed Freight has asserted that the option was exercised by shooting what he called a “pre-production pre-shoot” scene on the date of Jones’ death. “Defendants’ contention is incorrect and contradicted by their own admissions and production schedule,” the suit said.

The suit is another potential setback for Unclaimed Freight, operated by director Randall Miller and Jody Savin. On April 23, William Hurt pulled out of his starring role as an older version of Allman.

Hurt had come on board the project in early January. He was on a railway bridge on Feb. 20 where the crew was filming a dream sequence involving a hospital bed on the tracks. Jones was killed and seven others were injured when a train unexpectedly came down the tracks.

Recent reports that Miller and Unclaimed Freight were looking to restart pre-production in Los Angeles have led to creation of a Facebook page called “I REFUSE to work on Midnight Rider! For Sarah!!!”

On April 25 Allman went public with his request that Unclaimed Freight and Allman LLC shut down the film, which is based on his autobiography “My Cross to Bear” that he wrote with Alan Light. The suit also alleges that the producers failed to pay Allman the money he was owed for the option.

“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 said.

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