×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Report: ‘Midnight Rider’ Director Says It Was ‘Not My Job’ to Obtain Permits to Shoot on Tracks

Appearing at a court hearing on Monday, “Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller said that other members of the crew were tasked with obtaining written permits to shoot on CSX train tracks on Feb. 20, when an oncoming freight train unexpectedly came on the rural Georgia location and struck and killed second camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured six crew members.

“I did not do permits, so I didn’t see the permits,” Miller said under questioning from David Long-Daniels, the lawyer for singer Gregg Allman, at a hearing in Chatham County Courthouse in Savannah.

Allman is suing to reclaim rights from the movie, which depicts his life story. Allman contends that Miller and his Unclaimed Freight Prods. no longer have the rights because principal photography wasn’t started on time and because the production failed to pay him a full $150,000. The hearing was over Allman’s motion for a restraining order to halt the movie until the issue over rights is resolved.

A county prosecutor is reviewing the results of an investigation to determine if criminal charges will be filed. A major question in the tragedy is whether producers had permission to shoot on the CSX tracks. According to Wayne County sheriff’s deputies, CSX claims that they did not. At the hearing, Miller said that the crew had permission from Rayonier, which has a paper plant nearby and owns the land surrounding the tracks.

According to the Savannah Morning News, when Long-Daniels on Monday pressed Miller whether they had written permission from CSX, the director answered, “That’s not my job.”

But Miller pushed back at the suggestion that they were reckless in the shooting.

“I almost got run over by a train myself. I did,” he said at the hearing. “I was the last one on the train track.”

Miller said that he did not know that the location was on a live train trestle. “We were told there were two trains from Rayonier coming through, and no more trains that day,” he said, according to the Savannah Morning News. The paper also reported that Miller said that crew members were placed as lookouts along the tracks for any trains, but he did not know how far away.

Miller testified that Allman was informed that they would be shooting on the trestle, including a dream sequence with a hospital bed across the tracks. The dream sequence is part of Allman’s memoir, but in the screenplay, written by Miller and wife Jody Savin.

Allman has argued that, given the tragedy, the production is injuring his reputation. But Miller’s lawyers say that principal photography did start on time, and that the full payment was not made for tax reasons.

More Biz

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein Reneged on Payoff to HR Director, Suit Claims

    The former Human Resources director of the Weinstein Co. filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, claiming he never received a $450,000 payout he was promised in the wake of the New York Times’ expose in October 2017. Frank Gil alleges that Weinstein promised him the money on Oct. 6, the day after the Times’ story ran. [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Attorney for Universal Music Artists Impacted by 2008 Fire Requests Inventory

    Following on its statements last week that it will be filing a lawsuit on behalf of several Universal Music recording artists impacted by a 2008 fire that destroyed a huge number of master recordings, a Los Angeles law firm has requested a “complete inventory” from the company. Addressed to UMG CEO and chairman Lucian Grainge, [...]

  • Charles Caldas To Step Down as

    Charles Caldas To Step Down as Merlin CEO

    Charles Caldas, the only CEO that the independent-label collective Merlin has ever known, announced today that he will step down from his post at the end of 2019, after more than 12 years at the helm of the global rights organization. He will continue his current duties until then and work with the Merlin board to [...]

  • Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Global indie-label collective Merlin reported record distributions in its 2019 membership report, paying $845 million to label and distributor members between April 2018 and March of this year. That figure, a 63% year-over-year increase, includes more than $130 million paid out this year from non-royalty income — and included in that figure is the estimated [...]

  • Dwyane Wade on Supporting His Son

    NBA Star Dwyane Wade on Supporting His Son's Attendance at Miami Pride

    NBA star Dwyane Wade spoke to Variety about why it was important for him to support his younger son attending a pride parade last spring. In April, Wade’s then 11-year-old son Zion posted pictures of himself at Miami Pride, with his siblings and stepmother Gabrielle Union. Wade, who was on the road with the Miami [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: How Eric Church Teamed With Ram Trucks — and Five Tons of Vinyl — for ‘Solid’ Campaign

    Country star Eric Church has long used his new music to reward his loyal fans, from surprise releasing 2015’s “Mr. Misunderstood” album as a direct fan-club exclusive to impromptu meet-and-greets before his hometown show in Greensboro, North Carolina. So when Church was prepping the April vinyl release of 2018’s critically acclaimed “Desperate Man,” the singer [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein legal team

    Harvey Weinstein Loses Another Defense Lawyer

    Harvey Weinstein has lost another defense lawyer, just three months before he is set to go on trial for rape and sexual assault. Attorney Jose Baez told the judge overseeing the case that Weinstein had taken actions that made it difficult to represent him, according to a letter obtained by the New York Post. Baez [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content