Judge Blocks Unauthorized Lynyrd Skynyrd Biopic ‘Street Survivors’
A judge has ruled against the creators of an in-the-works Lynyrd Skynyrd biopic, called Street Survivors: The True Story of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Due to the judge's injunction, production on the film must permanently cease.
Street Survivors was a collaboration between former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artemis Pyle and Cleopatra Films. Named for the album that the band released just three days before their deadly Oct. 20, 1977, plane crash, the movie was to focus primarily on Pyle’s recollection of the tragedy, which occurred when his band boarded a chartered Convair CV-240 aircraft that had been refused by the band Aerosmith due to safety issues only a week before.
Filming for the biopic began in April ; however, in June, Gary Rossington, Johnny Van Zant and the estates of other Lynyrd Skynyrd members who were killed in the crash filed a lawsuit against Pyle and Cleopatra. The suit stated that Pyle “is free to exploit his own personal life story,” but that the biopic could violate a consent order, agreed to in 1988 by Pyle and other Skynyrd members, and “may contain a potentially inaccurate or skewed portrayal of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s story as filtered solely through the eyes of Pyle masquerading as the True Story of a defining moment in the band’s history.”
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According to the judge who ruled on the case (per the Hollywood Reporter), Cleopatra Films has been prohibited from making Street Survivors "when its partner substantively contributes to the project in a way that, in the past, he willingly bargained away the very right to do just that." Although filmmakers claimed that the biopic constituted free speech, Rossington, Van Zant and company's side argued that Cleopatra could make the film, just not with Pyle's help.
"The evidence supports the conclusion that there was a 'meeting of the minds' at the time the Consent Order was signed, and the circumstances here foreclose Cleopatra's ability to argue that Pyle is not bound by the strictures of the Consent Order," the judge's ruling reads. "If there was a violation of the Consent Order by Pyle, it is within the power of the Court to enjoin those acting in concert with him."
Now that Street Survivors filming has shut down, there is no word on whether or not Cleopatra Films will try to make the movie without Pyle's help, or in some other way.
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