William Hurt has dropped out of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, two months after production was suspended following the death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones. Since William Hurt was playing Gregg Allman in this adaptation of the singer's biography, it remains unclear whether or not the production will start back up again, as investigations continue into the tragic on-set accident.
Production was taking place in Atlanta, Georgia when, on February 20, a train collided with film equipment in rural Doctortown, GA, where the crew was setting up for shooting on a train trestle that overlooks the Altamaha River, resulting in Sarah Jones' death and seven other crew members getting injured. According to Deadline, the movie's producers were apparently still trying to rally the crew to continue production in the days following, but shooting was eventually suspended.
William Hurt was one of the actors on the bridge who were filming a dream sequence involving a mattress laying on the tracks, and nearly escaped injury on February 20. The actor was said to be visibly shaken after the incident, and it wasn't known if he would come back. The actor is currently shooting another movie overseas, The Moon and the Sun with Pierce Brosnan.
A source close to the production reveals that the producers were already looking to recast several roles, including the Gregg Allman character played by William Hurt. Director Randall Miller reportedly wants to shift production from the Atlanta area to Los Angeles, where his Unclaimed Freight Productions company is based, in hopes to restart production as early as June. News of the production restart has prompted a flurry of activity on the Internet in protest, including a https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=683432448384502|Facebook page entitled "I Refuse To Work on Midnight Rider," which has almost 11,000 members.
Investigations are still ongoing regarding who may be to blame for Sarah Jones' death. Randall Miller, his Unclaimed Freight Productions company and other crew members could face criminal or civil lawsuits once the investigations are completed.