Things are not looking good for the Gregg Allman biopic, Midnight, Rider. The Hollywood Reporter posted that actor William Hurt -- who was starring as Allman -- has left the production following the February 20th death of a camera operator, 26-year-old Sarah Jones, while on location in Georgia. The cast and crew had been shooting a dream sequence on an active railroad trestle when Jones was killed with six other crew members injured as the train flew through down the track.
Hurt has publicly condemned the decision to film that day, by allowing a copy of an email he wrote to be published by The Los Angeles Times on March 21st in which he stated that the powers that be said that if a train was approaching, the cast and crew would have 60 seconds to vacate the set safely, to which Hurt wrote: "I said, 'Sixty seconds is not enough time to get us off this bridge.' There was a communal pause. No one backed me up.”
A new Facebook campaign is urging the shutdown of the production, which is geared to start back up in June, but Hollywood insiders are telling us that the production is now considered damaged goods and highly controversial -- if not soon to be completely bogged down in lawsuits and union issues, which may bring extended delays and force other actors on board to walk and move on to their next project.
- In addition to Hurt, who was to play the current day Gregg Allman, the film stars All American Rejects lead singer Tyson Ritter, who plays the younger Allman in the film, along with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's son Wyatt Russell as the late Duane Allman.
INTERNET OPINIONS via TheHollywoodReporter.com — agree or not???
dommyinla wrote: “smart move... and the right thing to do
Jax Kearney wrote: “New respect for William Hurt!”
Rustyron wrote: “Good for William Hurt. . . Only wish he'd had the gumption to press harder when others wouldn't back him up. Might have avoided a very avoidable tragedy.”
CrewLife wrote: “You're hearing one side of the story, his side. All he has done is quit a job due to mounting pressure from a boycott campaign...and all he has done was throw and entire crew under the bus, when several had concerns that day. This actor is a selfish person acting in self preservation. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Nick wrote: “If the unions had it their way, Ms. Jones would be alive today. She would have never been put in that kind of unnecessary danger. Anybody blaming unions doesn't understand what this is about.
Nick Faust wrote: ". . . if this movie was shot in Los Angeles, it would have not been possible for the director and producer to shoot on a bridge that had the potential for any sort of danger. It's this kind of thing that validates the need for unions.”
Thomas Gidlow wrote: “This director/producer is a real piece of work. If they had any morals between them, they'd scrap the project out of respect for Sarah Jones and her family/friends, and move on - while they still can. If they don't end up being criminally held responsible, you can bet they'll face civil action. How could anyone work, or want to work, on this film after what happened?”
CrewLife wrote: “The union had NOTHING and could have done nothing to prevent this death.
This needless death took place on a scout/tech day being cheated for an actual shooting. Its not even on the books as an official shoot day. It was a skeleton crew, and many of the higher ranking union positions who might have possibly put their foot down were not on call to work that day.
The Producers, UPM, UPC, 1st AD, DP, Director and all (who have a known and vocal history about skirting the rules) where once again playing dirty. And they once again pulled strings and conned people in to risking their lives, and now because of it a young woman is dead.
This has nothing to do with the unions. People need to read everything and get their head of their asses. Lots of gum flapping, not a lot of education.
RJR wrote: “I personally think the Director and Producing Staff should be replaced/punished and the film completed in honor of Sarah Jones. It's hard for me to accept her dying in vain. The film should be made in her honor and for the people/crew that had nothing to do with the tragedy.
orenthal wrote: “It's almost certain that had the director been from GA, instead of from CA, he would have had the sense to stay off a live train trestle. Californians barely know what a train is…”
Alex wrote: “You never see this kind of sympathy when a stuntman is killed.”
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