A lawsuit involving a recently reported Lynyrd Skynyrd biopic focusing on the tragic 1977 plane crash that claimed the life of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and other band members is scheduled to go to trial on July 11, Deadline reports. The suit, which was filed last month by Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, singer Johnny Van Zant and the estates of deceased band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Allen Collins, is seeking to block production of the film, titled Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash.
According to Deadline, the plaintiffs claim that the movie’s producer, Cleopatra Films, shouldn’t be allowed to make the film because they say the project violates a 1988 consent order signed by ex-Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle — whose story provides the basis for the flick — prohibiting him from using the group’s name.
However, Cleopatra maintains that Pyle isn’t directly involved in writing the film, so the consent order shouldn’t affect the production, while also noting that the movie won’t feature any Lynyrd Skynyrd music. The production company also says that the story of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s crash is commonly known by many people.
“This lawsuit proves that Freedom of Speech in the United States of America is officially under attack by an increasingly litigious culture that breeds utter contempt for art,” declares Cleopatra Films head Brian Perera, “and that should indeed worry everyone attempting to make a living in the entertainment industry today.”
An ABC Radio request for comment about the Deadline report sent to attorneys for the plaintiffs went unanswered as of press time.
Street Survivors is being directed by Jared Cohn, who also wrote the film based on a story by Pyle, who was a survivor of the 1977 plane crash.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.