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Gregg Allman has filed a lawsuit against the producers of the troubled biopic Midnight Rider, alleging that the life rights to his story have lapsed.
The lawsuit alleges that Unclaimed Freight Productions picked up an option on his life story in March, 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 Feb. 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.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Georgia county court on April 28, arrived days after the rocker entreated the film’s director, Randall Miller, not to resume production after the highly-publicized on-set death of Jones, who was killed filming on a narrow trestle bridge in Doctortown, Georgia.
The incident has prompted law enforcement authorities to investigate and raised concerns about workplace safety on sets.
“I am writing to you as one human being to another, and appealing to you from my heart,” Allman wrote, in a letter exclusively obtained by The Hollywood Reporter on April 25. “I am asking you from a personal perspective not to go forward.”
William Hurt, who was set to play Allman, has already abandoned the project.