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‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers’ Safety Claims A “Lie”, Says Former Crew Member

By and | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 11:20am PDT

‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers’ Safety Claims A “Lie”, Says Former Crew MemberIn an exclusive interview with Deadline, a crew member who suffered serious injuries on an earlier film by Midnight Rider director-producers Randall Miller and Jody Savin has called their “safety first” claims “a lie.”

Katie Dover, a costumer who was hurt on the set of Miller and Savin’s 2013 film CBGB during pre-production, says Miller and Savin’s recent statements regarding safety on their films don’t jibe with her experience.

Katie Dover_FotorDays ago, Midnight Rider director Miller and his wife-producer Savin — two of the three filmmakers charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones — went on the record stating that since they began in the business in 1990, “We have always emphasized the safety of the crew. In all those years we have never had a significant injury or accident of any kind.”

“That’s a lie,” said Dover, who is going on the record about the injury for the first time. “My injury was significant. I lost 6 months of work because of it.” After a table sliced the back of her hand open from little finger across to her forefinger, Dover underwent two surgeries, was in a cast and had to endure months of physical therapy. “I’d call that significant,” she said.

Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Enter Not Guilty Plea, Say “This Was Not A Crime”

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‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Enter Not Guilty Plea, Break Silence: “This Was Not A Crime”

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 2:02pm PDT

‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Enter Not Guilty Plea, Break Silence: “This Was Not A Crime”Midnight Rider director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin broke their months-long silence Thursday, calling the February 20 death of camera assistant Sarah Jones “a horrible tragedy and horrific accident.”

Jones, a well-liked 27-year-old crew member working on Miller and Savin’s Gregg Allman biopic, died when she was struck by a train on the Doctortown trestle in rural Georgia. Several other crew members were also injured in the tragedy which rippled through the production community and sparked industry-wide calls for increased safety measures on film and TV sets in Jones’ memory.

Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Turn Themselves In To Georgia Police

Miller and Savin served as producers on the Gregg Allman biopic via their Unclaimed Freight Productions banner and were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing along with executive producer/unit production manager Jay Sedrish earlier this month. They turned themselves into police in Wayne County, GA and were released on $27,700 bail on Sunday before returning home to California. Sedrish surrendered to authorities this morning and was released after posting a $27,700 cash bond. Per Georgia law, Miller and Savin waived an arraignment hearing and entered not guilty pleas this morning through their attorney, Don Samuels of Atlanta, GA.

In their statement, Miller and Savin emphasized their history of producing over 10 feature films and television projects with a self-described emphasis on crew safety. “In the weeks and months that follow when the true facts of the events are … Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘Midnight Rider’ Exec Producer Jay Sedrish Turns Himself In To Georgia Police, Following Randall Miller & Jody Savin

By and | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 9:57am PDT

UPDATE: ‘Midnight Rider’ Exec Producer Jay Sedrish Turns Himself In To Georgia Police, Following Randall Miller & Jody Savin2ND UPDATE, THURSDAY 9:57 AM: Midnight Rider executive producer/unit production manager Jay Sedrish turned himself in this morning to the Wayne County, GA police and was booked and released after posting a $27,700 bond. This comes after his fellow filmmakers Randall Miller and Jody Savin turned themselves in earlier this week. All three were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones. They were also charged with criminal trespassing for filming on a train trestle when, according to police, they had no permit to shoot on the tracks.

Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Enter Not Guilty Plea, Break Silence: “This Was Not A Crime”

One of the key points in the case is that Wayne County Sheriff Sgt. Ben Roberston, in his initial report about the incident, wrote: “In my presence, Mr. Sedrish was asked by an employee of CSX if he had permission to be on the trestle or tracks and Mr. Sedrish replied, ‘That’s complicated.’ According to the CSX employee, the production company had previously been denied permission to film on the trestle, and there was electronic correspondence to verify that fact.”

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Sarah Jones Midnight RiderUPDATE, Tuesday, 6:57 AM: As of this morning, Midnight Rider executive producer/unit production manager director Jay Sedrish has not yet turned himself in, but we are told he has another week and that arrangements are being made to meet that timetable. Here are the mugshots of director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin, who along with Sedrish could face 10 years in prison for the tragic on-set death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. Read More »

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DeadlineNow: Sarah Jones’ Death Indictments And What’s Next For ‘Midnight Rider’ (Video)

By | Thursday July 3, 2014 @ 3:27pm PDT
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'Midnight Rider' Director Randall Miller And Two Others Charged In Sarah Jones' Death

Deadline's Jen Yamato and Dominic Patten look at what led to today's indictments in the 'Midnight Rider' case and what happens now for the seemingly doomed film.

‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter
Sarah Jones’ Parents React To ‘Midnight Rider’ Charges

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UPDATED: ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter In Death Of Sarah Jones

By and | Thursday July 3, 2014 @ 7:38am PDT

UPDATED: ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter In Death Of Sarah JonesUPDATED: Prosecutors in Georgia’s Wayne County today charged filmmakers Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the February death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Elizabeth Jones. Jones was killed on a train trestle while filming a scene for the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider.

The accident happened on February 20, when Jones was struck by a freight train. The film’s crew members were on the tracks of the Doctortown train trestle for the shoot by Unclaimed Freight Productions Inc., the production company owned by Miller and Savin.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Image (10) randall-miller-jody-savin__140331235341-275x343.jpg for post 707163Under Georgia law, a manslaughter conviction would carry a sentence of 10 years in prison. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor and carries potential sentence of one year. Miller was the director of the film, Savin (his wife) was the producer, and Sedrish served as the unit production manager and executive producer. Other crew members on the shoot were injured but survived. The film was to be distributed in the U.S. by Open Road Films. Production was shut down, and attempts to restart the shoot in LA were rebuffed.

Related: Hollywood Adopted Railroad Safety Guidelines Shortly Before Sarah Jones’ Death

The Wayne County Sheriff’s office has been investigating the accident since it occurred. A grand jury was impaneled and Detective Joe Gardner presented before that panel yesterday. The indictments followed this morning. “After the indictment, the DA can issue an arrest warrant or negotiate an informal surrender through their attorneys,” said criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos. “An arraignment will come first, and then after that, the defense will have a chance to challenge the indictment on procedural issues and or the substance of the charges.” Normally what happens is the DA will immediately turn over grand jury testimony and all evidence to defense attorneys so they can work on any challenges to the indictment.

This is reminiscent of on-set The Twilight Zone helicopter crash in 1982, where director John Landis, his associate producer, unit production manager, helicopter pilot and special effects coordinator were charged with manslaughter in the on set-deaths of actor Vic Morrow (the father of Jennifer Jason Leigh) and two children when a helicopter stunt went tragically awry. A sensational trial resulted in their acquittals, but during a preliminary hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gordon Ringer scolded Hollywood for putting children’s lives at risk just to make a movie. “This isn’t nickelodeon-time anymore,” he said from the bench. “I would have thought that after 75 years, somebody might have thought it inappropriate to put Lillian Gish on an ice flow and send her into the middle of Niagara Falls to make a movie.” Gish was seriously injured while filming that scene for the 1920 silent film Way Down East.

Prior to today’s charges numerous lawsuits have been filed against Miller, Savin, Sedrish, and over a dozen other parties. Richard and Elizabeth Jones, the parents of Sarah Jones, filed a wrongful death suit on May 21 claiming that the filmmakers “operated without minimum safety precautions and contrary to standard industry practices for productions of this scale and for productions involving dangerous filming conditions.” Read More »

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‘Midnight Rider’ Producers Hit With New Lawsuit From Injured Crew Member

By | Tuesday June 17, 2014 @ 4:26pm PDT
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What Lies Ahead For 'Midnight Rider'?

The future of the Randall Miller-directed Midnight Rider is in question nearly four months after camera assistant Sarah Jones was struck and killed by a train on set. The latest lawsuit in the case was filed this week making the fate of the Gregg Allman biopic all the more murky, Deadline's Jen Yamato and Dominic Patten report.

Image (2) midnight-rider-train-tracks__140331201247-275x172__140523013329.jpg for post 735045The lawsuits are piling up following the February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider. Makeup artist Antonyia Verna and her husband Richard Brewer filed a suit June 12 in Chatham County seeking damages against the film’s producers and additional parties, naming 16 defendants as responsible in the tragedy that left Verna injured alongside Jones and five other crew members. Verna is suing over damages she suffered in the accident, including physical injuries, medical expenses, post-traumatic stress, and pain and suffering.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Sarah Jones Midnight Rider deathThe lawsuit is the latest in a mounting legal skirmish over the incident that occurred during filming on the Gregg Allman biopic helmed by Randall Miller. He and producer Jody Savin, their Unclaimed Freight production banner, location scout Charley Baxter, exec producers Nick Gant, Michael Lehman, Don Mandrik, and Jay Sedrish, 1st AD Hillary Schwartz, Gant’s Meddin Studios, property owner Rayonier, railroad company CSX Transportation, and distributor Open Road Films are named in the new suit. The defendants also were named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Jones last month seeking unspecified damages “for the full value of Sarah’s life.”

Related: “I Almost Died”, Says ‘Midnight Rider’ Director Of Train Accident That Killed Sarah Jones

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UPDATE: Sarah Jones Family Files ‘Midnight Rider’ Wrongful Death Suit, Seeks Damages “For The Full Value Of Sarah’s Life”

By | Wednesday May 21, 2014 @ 4:45pm PDT
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Sarah Jones' Family Files Lawsuit

Deadline Film Editor Anita Busch discusses the industry-wide implications of the massive wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of the camera operator struck and killed by a train during production of 'Midnight Rider'. Film Editor Anita Busch reports.

Sarah Jones death Midnight Rider2ND UPDATE, 4:45 PM: Open Road Films, which had been set to release Midnight Rider in the U.S., issued a statement about the new lawsuit late this afternoon: “This event was a horrible tragedy, and our deepest condolences go out to the Jones family, the crew members and others who have suffered. Open Road Films was not involved in the production in any way at any time, and we have been named in this suit without justification.”

Related: Open Road To Bring Gregg Allman Biopic To U.S. Theaters

UPDATED WITH COURT DOCUMENT: Today’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified punitive damages, claims that Sarah Jones was killed because the defendants ”operated without minimum safety precautions and contrary to standard industry practices for productions of this scale and for productions involving dangerous filming conditions.” (Read the filing here.) It also claims that a CSX rail company rep told one or more of the defendants that only two trains would pass per day at the filming location, and that none of the production’s crew obtained permission to film on the train trestle bridge – and that they concealed this fact from the rest of the crew.

This is the second suit to arise from the Midnight Rider shoot. The biopic’s subject, Gregg Allman, sued director Randall Miller’s production company Unclaimed Freight on May 2 alleging that their big-screen option rights to his life have ended. That case was settled last week.

Related: Gregg Allman Settles ‘Midnight Rider’ Lawsuit

PREVIOUSLY: A whopping 18 defendants were named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Georgia this afternoon by the parents of Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones, who was killed in a train collision during filming on the indie feature on February 20. Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones, filed the complaint in Georgia’s State Court of Chatham County on behalf of their daughter’s estate, asking for a jury trial. Among those named as defendants in the Jones family suit were director/producer Randall Miller and producer wife Jody Savin, along with their Unclaimed Freight production company. Unit production manager Jay Sedrish, 1st A.D. Hillary Schwartz, location manager Charlie Baxter, and exec producer Nick Gant and his Meddin Studios were also named, as was Midnight Rider distributor Open Road Films, exec producer Gregg Allman, and Film Allman, LLC.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

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UPDATE: ‘Midnight Rider’ Producer Made Controversial Comments About Local Filming Days Before Sarah Jones Death

Midnight Rider Doctortown trestleUPDATED, 7:28 PM: Savannah Women In Film and Television has issued a statement about comments Jody Savin made at its meeting in February: “The executive committee of SWIFT recognizes that Jody Savin did speak to our membership on Feb. 16. Some of her remarks were very unprofessional and disrespectful. Her statements took an unexpected direction and left a negative impact on the entire group. We do not have any further comments at this time.”

PREVIOUSLY, APRIL 21: The weekend before the February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones, Midnight Rider producer Jody Savin made controversial public comments at a meeting of local production crew in which she touted her company’s methods and complained about the Savannah film commission for keeping a close watch on her previous film, CBGB. Savin, who is married to Midnight Rider director Randall Miller and co-owns their Unclaimed Freight production company, was an invited guest speaker at a Midnight Rider Sarah Jones death Jody SavinFebruary 16 meeting held by the Savannah Women In Film and Television (SWIFT). Savannah-based hair stylist JC Davis was in attendance with about 30 others including local production crew, many of whom were seeking to work on the upcoming Midnight Rider production. According to her, Savin “went on to talk about CBGB and was bitching about how our former film commissioner Jay Self kept showing up to set, telling her she couldn’t do this, she couldn’t do that and that she was so glad he was no longer film commissioner. [Savin] said, ‘We make movies by our own rules.’ ” Deadline has talked to other attendees who also corroborate the comments made by Savin at the event.

Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Investigation Handed Over To D.A.

Savin’s comments during the hourlong chat reportedly left some of those in attendance unsettled. “A lot of people felt insulted by the whole thing. It was very negative toward a lot of people who work in this town,” another attendee present at the event told Deadline. “Savin seemed proud of the fact that she was able to get crew cheaply. It was more about the bottom line. A lot of women wanted to work on it but I think after meeting a lot walked away and thought. ‘I wouldn’t work on that show.’ ” Read More »

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William Hurt Pulls Out Of ‘Midnight Rider’ Movie

William Hurt Midnight Rider LeavingBREAKING: William Hurt, who was set to play Gregg Allman in the feature film Midnight Rider, has pulled out of the movie. The exit of its star casts even more doubt over whether the Randall Miller-directed biopic will move forward following the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones during filming in February in Georgia. A source close to the production tells Deadline the filmmakers “were already looking to recast some roles,” including the Gregg Allman character.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Most recently, Miller and his production company Unclaimed Freight were looking to restart pre-production on the movie in LA in a few weeks, even as investigations are ongoing over who is to blame for the February 20 accident in Wayne County, GA where a film crew was struck by a train while shooting on a trestle. Read More »

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‘Midnight Rider’ Investigation Handed Over To District Attorney For Examination

By and | Monday April 21, 2014 @ 9:35am PDT

georgia22n-3-webThe ongoing investigation into the February death of crew member Sarah Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider was turned over this morning to the Wayne County District Attorney’s office by the Wayne County Sheriff’s office, the local authority that has been investigating the 27-year-old camera assistant’s death. They will be discussing the case with state authorities who will then take the matter under consideration whether to pursue criminal charges. According to Sheriff John Carter: “We just turned everything over to the District Attorney, and it will be up to her office to look it over and decide whether or not the case will go to a grand jury. Our detective interviewed everyone he could on this case.” The detective on the case was Joe Gardner; the Wayne County D.A. is Jackie Johnson. Carter would not say what course of action their office is recommending. According to a spokesman for the D.A.’s office, they plan to review the investigative materials. That will be done, of course, to decide whether this rises to the level of criminality. “We will assess from our end what we need to do,” said the spokesman. “It may take a few days or longer (because) we want to be fair to the process.”

Investigations are also ongoing on the federal level via the National Transportation Safety Board, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration and Georgia Bureau Of Investigation.

Related: Read More »

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Campaign Calls For Crew Boycott As ‘Midnight Rider’ Heads To L.A. For Pre-Prod

By and | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 5:12pm PDT

Sarah Jones death Midnight RiderCrew around Los Angeles are getting word that pre-production on Midnight Rider is starting up in a few weeks back in L.A. with Randall Miller at the helm. Deadline broke the news earlier this week that Miller and his Unclaimed Freight banner were trying to resume filming on the Gregg Allman biopic following the tragic death of camera assistant Sarah Jones in Georgia. The decision to continue with the film has prompted a flurry of tweets to Allman and has given rise to a new Facebook page called “I REFUSE to work on Midnight Rider” which the daughter of director John Frankenheimer said everyone should join.

Midnight Rider Facebook Boycott

Jones, 27, was killed February 20 in Wayne County, GA in a train collision during filming on the pic. Seven other crew members were injured and multiple investigations are underway to determine the responsible parties.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

“Morally how can he continue, knowing that his decision cost Sarah Jones her life? He had the ability to say no,” said Frankenheimer, who works as a location manager. “As the daughter of a director and I know that the director is the final voice. And if the director and producer allow it to happen, they have to accept responsibility.” She added: “It infuriates me. I find it an affront to all of us. “He doesn’t deserve a crew of any kind. No one should agree to work on this film. I find it shameful. I cannot believe that this man has the chutzpah to do this. If you don’t speak up then that’s just as bad.”

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‘Midnight Rider’ Director Randall Miller Attempting To Move Forward With Film In LA Following Sarah Jones Death

Sarah Jones Midnight RiderEXCLUSIVE: Filming was suspended following the fatal February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider – but Deadline has learned that director/producer Randall Miller is hoping to move forward with the production as early as June.

A source close to Miller confirms that discussions are underway on proceeding with the Gregg Allman biopic, but not in the Savannah-Atlanta region where the Jones death occurred. According to sources with knowledge of the plans, Miller wants to instead resume filming in the Los Angeles area where he and his Unclaimed Freight banner are based. According to one source with knowledge of the production, Allman, who is the executive producer on Midnight Rider, has to sign off on it too but it’s not clear if he has yet. A rep for Allman did not return calls seeking comment. It appears that Miller and Unclaimed Freight believe they have a legal right to move forward to complete the film.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Midnight Rider Doctortown trestleAtlanta-based Jones, 27, died when a train collided with equipment on active tracks in rural Doctortown, GA where the crew of Midnight Rider was set up for filming on a train trestle overlooking the Altamaha River. The film’s producers were reportedly still trying to rally crew to continue filming in the days immediately following the accident. Production was officially suspended six days later; Open Road Films still has a distribution agreement to release the film. Read More »

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The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Anita Busch contributed to this report. First in a series.

Sarah Jones death Midnight RiderLocal, state, and federal investigations are underway to determine who from the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider is responsible for the February 20 train collision on location in rural Georgia that left 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones dead and seven others injured. As the production community rallies around the tragedy and calls for stronger guidelines to ensure that similar accidents never happen again, a Deadline investigation that included interviews with people on the ground in and around Savannah has revealed several troubling factors preceding the afternoon when the crew of the movie, directed and produced by Randall Miller through his Unclaimed Freight Productions banner, placed a metal hospital bed on the live train tracks overlooking Southern Georgia’s Altamaha River. Was the “whatever it takes” spirit that’s fueled filmmaking for decades partly to blame for such an avoidable on-set tragedy?

Related: Safety On Set: Three Workers Speak Out

The city of Savannah, GA has been hungry to grow into a contender to rival competing industries in nearby Atlanta and Wilmington since generous incentives started boosting productions locally in 2009. After a busy 2012, however, film business slowed. Last year Paramount sequel SpongeBob SquarePants 2 was the lone feature to film in the city and became the center of a local firestorm when Jay Self, Savannah’s Film Commissioner of 18 years, was terminated after fighting with the studio over permit requests he said did not adequately protect the interests of local business owners and the City of Savannah.

Self publicly accused city officials of ordering him to approve permits for productions like SpongeBob SquarePants 2 in his termination hearing statement. He told me last month in Savannah that his bosses urged him to issue permits against his concerns when an L.A.-based director came to town to make a new movie in 2012. Self said his concerns went unheeded, and the same filmmaker in question prepared to bring his next feature production to Georgia. That filmmaker was Randall Miller.

Midnight Rider And The Accident Of February 20, 2014

Midnight Rider Doctortown trestleThe Allman biopic Midnight Rider was set to be Miller’s third feature in three years in the Savannah area. He and his L.A.-based Unclaimed Freight first brought production cash flowing into the city’s local economy in 2011 with the Jim Caveziel / Chiwetel Ejiofor-starrer Savannah. The following year he came back to film the NYC-set punk period piece CBGB. By the time he returned with Midnight Rider, Miller had developed a favored position within the local industry, despite his reputation for instilling a maverick sensibility on his sets and surrounding himself with a team of like-minded production crew.

Safety On Set: Camera Crew Outnumber Stunt Personnel In On-Set Deaths
Safety On Set: Helicopter Crashes Have Taken Most Lives On TV & Film Sets

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‘Midnight Rider’ Suspends Filming Following Train Death; Production Company Issues Statement

By and | Wednesday February 26, 2014 @ 12:03pm PST

Sarah Jones Midnight RiderProduction on the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider has been suspended following the on-set train accident that killed crew member Sarah Jones and injured several others on Thursday. “In light of the tragic loss, we have decided to put the production of Midnight Rider on hold,” a representative for production company Film Allman, LLC told Deadline. The fatal incident occurred when a train collided with a bed set up for filming on live tracks in Jesup, Georgia. Members of the crew as well as star William Hurt were within feet of the accident which killed Jones, the second camera assistant. Co-star Charles S. Dutton had been in wardrobe but was sent home. Director Randall Miller‘s Unclaimed Freight Productions was set to officially begin production Monday before the accident occurred. Open Road was set to release the pic as distributor. The train collision is currently under investigation by and the accident site is being treated as a crime scene. Jones’s funeral service is being held today in Columbia, SC.

Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member Killed In On-Set Train Accident

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‘Midnight Rider’ Train Death Investigation Ongoing; IATSE Local 600 Issues Statement

By and | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 4:57pm PST

IATSE Local 600Thursday’s shocking train collision that left camera assistant Sarah Jones dead and several others injured on the set of Open Road’s Midnight Rider is still under investigation in Jesup, Georgia outside of Savannah. According to the Wayne County Sheriff’s department, the collision site on the Doctortown train trestle is being treated as a crime scene and an autopsy on Jones was conducted today with results to come. A 20-person crew based out of Savannah’s Meddin Studios had been filming the Gregg Allman biopic under Midnight Rider director Randall Miller when a northbound CSX Railroad train ran through, fatally striking Jones. Open Road is set as distributor on the film from Miller and co-scribe/producer Jody Savin’s L.A.-based Unclaimed Freight Productions. Monday afternoon President Steven Poster, ASC of IATSE Local 600 International Cinematographers Guild, of which Jones was a member, issued a statement on the fatal accident and the Locals 600 and 491′s ongoing investigation with OSHA, NTSB, and local authorities:

“Local 600’s membership and IATSE members across the country are mourning the loss of Sarah Jones, a 27-year old camera assistant, who died in a tragic accident last Thursday while shooting on the set of “Midnight Rider” in Savannah, Georgia. Sarah was a smart, talented camera assistant with an infectious personality and a promising career ahead of her.”

“When Locals 600 and 491 received the call about the accident on late Thursday afternoon (local

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AFM: W2 Media To Sell International On Dennis Wilson Biopic ‘The Drummer’

By | Thursday November 3, 2011 @ 12:18pm PDT

W2 Media has made a seven-figure advance for international sales on The Drummer, a biopic about the Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson that stars Aaron Eckhart. The project, which is being shopped to buyers at AFM, looks at the final six years of Wilson’s life, which ended when he drowned in Marina del Rey in 1983. Randall Miller is directing from a screenplay by Miller and Jody Savin, the pair behind Bottle Shock. They are producing with Brad Rosenberger under the group’s Unclaimed Freight banner. James William Guercio of Caribou Records and Don Mandrik of Georgia Production Finance are executive producing; Wilson’s children Carl and Jennifer are on board as co-producers. Shooting is set to start after Eckhart finishes filming Lionsgate’s I Frankenstein, and the filmmakers expect to announce the rest of the cast soon.

Jonathan Gardner of Gardner/Cohen negotiated the sales deal on behalf of the producers, while CEO John Flock and Julie Sultan negotiated on behalf of W2 Media; Sultan brought the project to the company. W2′s sales slate includes Lucky McKee’s horror pic The Woman, the comedy Pete Smalls Is Dead, and the James Franco-starring drama William Vincent.

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Aaron Eckhart To Play Beach Boys Drummer Dennis Wilson

Mike Fleming

Aaron Eckhart has signed on to play Dennis Wilson, the legendary drummer, songwriter and heartthrob of The Beach Boys in Randall Miller & Jody Savin’s THE DRUMMER.

THE DRUMMER charts the last six years of Wilson’s life in which he created some of the finest music of his career. Eckhart is deep into training for the role, learning to play drums and piano as well as training vocally to sing on screen in the picture. The only Beach Boy who surfed, Dennis Wilson ironically drowned in 1983 in Marina Del Rey shortly after he finished and released Pacific Ocean Blue, his solo masterpiece. “Pacific Ocean Blue is an amazing album–beautiful and sweet, haunting and complex,” says Savin. The album was re-released in 2008 to rave reviews and was named the best re-release of the year by Rolling Stone. “Dennis was a pained and tortured soul, yet brilliant and loved dearly by so many who knew him.”

Eckhart has recently signed on as the lead in I, FRANKENSTIEN and he just finished the shooting the lead role in THE EXPATRIATE.

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