When 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones (above) was struck by a train and killed on location during filming for the upcoming Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider two months ago, production was suspended immediately by director Randall Miller (CBGB) while cast and crews from TV and productions around the world – including NBC’s “Hannibal” (below) – expressed their grief and anger while honoring her memory with Facebook page, Slates For Sarah.
News came this week that actor William Hurt (who was to play Gregg Allman) left the film. This, compiled with the rumor that director Miller is looking to “recast some roles” as well as finish the production in Los Angeles (as the investigation over Jones’ death continues) hasn’t sat well with certain members of the community, who’ve created an I REFUSE to work on Midnight Rider group page on Facebook, which currently has 11k members. You would think Miller might want to rethink this whole thing.
Now the subject of the film himself has chimed in, giving an impassioned plea to Miller to stop production altogether.
In a personal letter to Miller obtained by THR, Gregg Allman (above) admits that while he was first excited that his best-selling autobiography, “My Cross To Bear,” would be heading to the big screen, it just doesn’t seem right to go on with the production after Sarah Jones’ death and -out of respect for her and her family – production should not continue as planned.
The letter reads as follows:
I am writing to you as one human being to another, and appealing to you from my heart. I am asking you from a personal perspective not to go forward.
When the idea of you producing the film first came about, I was genuinely excited about the possibility of sharing my story with fans around the world. Unfortunately, all of that changed for me on February 20 of this year. While there may have been a possibility that the production might have resumed shortly after that, the reality of Sarah Jones’ tragic death, the loss suffered by the Jones family and injuries to the others involved has led me to realize that for you to continue production would be wrong.
Your desires as a filmmaker should not outweigh your obligations as a human being. I am asking you to do the right thing and to set aside your attempts to resume the production out of respect for Sarah, her family and the loss that all of us feel so deeply.
I really have no clever quips to give here, since this is no laughing matter. While I understand Miller’s drive as a filmmaker, when someone dies on set due to lack of safety precautions put in place, I can’t support the project and – as this film is about someone whose music was a staple in our household – as sad as I would be, I would not see the film when and if it does eventually hit theaters.
I’m on Allman’s side, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Let us know below.
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