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Allman Brothers Biopic ‘Midnight Rider’ Suspends Production After Fatal Train Accident

Sarah Jones, the second camera assistant, was killed Thursday on the production’s first day of shooting near Jessup, Ga. The company was shooting a dream sequence on a railroad trestle, with a hospital bed on the tracks, when a train came across the bridge. Star William Hurt, director Randall Miller and the production’s still photographer tried to get the bed off the tracks but did not have time. Hurt and some of the crew escaped the bridge unhurt, but some crew were struck by flying debris. Jones was hit by a piece of debris from the bed and knocked into the path of the train, and was killed. Variety
This accident, which may have involved negligence, has raised a cry for more safety awareness on shoots, as well as strict labor regulations to protect crew members who are often required to put themselves at risk and work extended hours.

At the same time, there is a movement in Hollywood and around the globe calling for the inclusion of Sarah in the "In Memoriam" segment of tonight's Academy Awards ceremony.

According to reports, the Academy has chosen not to honor Sarah, which has created an uproar in the film community. Family and friends of Sarah launched a Facebook page "Slates for Sarah" in an effort to convince the Academy to honor Sarah.

Currently, over 60,000 people have followed the page, many film workers have posted 'slates' (the clapboard used when cameras start to roll). 60,622 have signed a petition,  to include Sarah during the Oscars broadcast tonight.

Cast listed below the fold

Directed by
Randall Miller

Writing Credits
Gregg Allman     ...     (autobiography)
Randall Miller     ...     (screenplay)
Jody Savin     ...     (screenplay)

Cast  
William Hurt

Zoey Deutch    

Eliza Dushku    

Bradley Whitford    

Wyatt Russell

Kathy Baker    

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

    by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:03:40 AM PST

  •  I was scheduled to start on this movie on Monday (15+ / 0-)

    before tragedy struck, but all work has been suspended as the investigation continues.
    I never met Sarah, but feel deeply saddened by her death. My condolences to her family and friends.

    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

    by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:07:51 AM PST

  •  Very sorry to hear of this news, Zwoof, (5+ / 0-)

    and here's hoping your work in that picture can resume with all safety precautions taken to ensure the well-being of everyone there.  

    Keep us posted on developments.  When the project is done filming, many of us would like to see it.  I'll look for your name in the credits, and maybe see Sarah Jones' name as dedicated-to in the final roll.  

    Patsy Cline's "Crazy" is crazy good.

    by Remediator on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:23:02 AM PST

    •  My excitment to be selected for this film (6+ / 0-)

      turned to sadness when I heard of the accident. I was mentally packing my bags for Savannah when I heard.

      I'm a big fan of the Allman Brothers and just finished reading the recently released book by Aaron Paul, "One Way Out", that chronicles the long, strange trip of the band. I highly recommend it.

      Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

      by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:28:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't know Paul's book, but it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DuzT, Mayfly

        sounds pretty good.  I'm with you on the Allmans' music, especially "Whipping Post" and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed."

        When the call comes in, grab what you've packed, have a safe trip, much success, and I send all good wishes.  

        Patsy Cline's "Crazy" is crazy good.

        by Remediator on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:30:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is a great read and well constructed using (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Remediator, Mayfly

          blockquotes from those involved in the ABB story and very little in writing from the author. Kinda like blog form.

          Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

          by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 08:02:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I would not be surprised if the Oscars has a (7+ / 0-)

    Marlon Brando type moment tonight regarding Sarah's death. This incident is really resonating in Hollywood.

    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

    by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:36:36 AM PST

  •  i believe that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpamNunn, Mayfly

    the "in memorium" portion of the show is devoted to those who passed on in the previous year.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:39:10 AM PST

    •  According to Variety (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, Mayfly

      There used to be a cutoff sometime around the end of January and some notables were omitted because the death occurred shortly before the ceremony. Technology has changed quickly and presumably it’s now easier to make last-minute changes. But would that entail bumping someone else?

      There are others who have recently passed, including Harold Ramis and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

      In the past, there were protests at the omissions of Andy Griffith, Lupe Ontiveros and Larry Hagman, while the absence of Farrah Fawcett was protested so loudly that the Academy issued a rare explanation, saying that she was more of a TV actress than film.

      Variety

      Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

      by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:45:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think that's the case. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, Mayfly

      If Philip Seymour Hoffman isn't in tonight's "In Memoriam," for example, I'll be absolutely shocked.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:47:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I watched the Grammys this year and I (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator, Mayfly

    prefer the way they honored deceased members.  They would have the most notable one first in a corner of the screen, but then quickly follow it with four or five others on the same screen.  You got to see many more people that way.  They also moved at a slightly faster pace and probably took a bit longer.

  •  I can't believe this happened (7+ / 0-)

    I had to find local articles about this incident to actually get details on this. How could a production company be this irresponsible?

    Apparently, they had not contacted the CSX Railroad for permission or permits to shoot there. One report said they had actually been denied permission to shoot on the tracks.

    Not only that, but according to one crew member who survived the incident, two trains had already passed over the trestle before they set up the shot. So those in charge knew it was an active rail line, but went ahead anyway.

    This rises to level of criminal action in my book.

    My heart goes out to Sarah, her family and her friends. I hope she is recognized on the Oscar telecast tonight.

    I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

    by ObamOcala on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:53:04 AM PST

    •  It is being investigated (4+ / 0-)

      as a homicide.

      Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

      by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:59:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  ObamOcala, my friend is a production mgr on (0+ / 0-)

      commercial films. Her work is freelance. She refuses to work with certain production companies that cut corners and endanger people, even when she needs a job and is worried about paying the mortgage.

      The problem is that freelancers across the board in film have no union.  The abuses are many--including long hours and unreasonable demands--such as driving at night in bad weather after a 16-hour work day.

      "Stand your ground" laws promote aggression rather than discretion."

      by Mayfly on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:12:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As the golden globes skipped Roger Ebert, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    I'm pretty sure she won't make the cut.

    The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014, with an appendix consisting an adjudication, dated "a long time ago", that I am Wrong.

    by Inland on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:56:30 AM PST

  •  Some context... (5+ / 0-)

    Prior to the official start if filming on Monday, Feb. 24th, the production company decided to shoot a 'dream sequence' on a CSX train trestle in Southern Georgia.

    The producers claim that they had permission and that CSX told them there would be two trains on the line. Reports say the crew waited for the two trains to pass and started shooting on the tracks.

    However, sources say that CSX said they could shoot near the tracks, but not on them.

    Unfortunately, there was a third train on the line.

    The crew ran as the train surprised them (58 mph), but Sarah was hit by debris from a hospital bed they were using as a prop and was thrown into the train.

    Academy Award winner William Hurt was on the tracks at the time, but made it to safety. Several other crew members were injured.

    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

    by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:58:23 AM PST

  •  I don't understand this at all... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    schumann, Mayfly

    A while back I worked as a construction manager for a civil engineering company. It involved monitoring contractors in the field to ensure that they were performing work to spec and taking all the necessary precautions and making notifications regarding regarding intrusions into rights-of-way.

    It was a task. state highway department, state DNR, federal Fish & Wildlife, local police and CSX railroad, who were, by far, the most stringent about things (for good reason). They demanded that we not take a step onto their rights-of-way unless they had personnel on-site to monitor.

    Maybe it varies by region. But I find it unimaginable that they'd sign-off on a location shoot literally on the tracks of a busy railway without having their own inspectors on the scene. Not just for safety, for the monetary risk. A derailment could easily cost millions.

    This doesn't smell right.

  •  AD, UPM and Locations Manager should be charged (5+ / 0-)

    This happened on the first day of shooting. The crew was assured that there would be two trains and then a two hour window to get the shot. The bed was set up halfway across a trestle and 40 feet above a river.  Hurt was barefoot and in the bed playing present day Greg Allman. It was a dream sequence. The shot was moved onto the trestle by the AD.

    There was very little warning when the 3rd train came into view- maybe about 50 seconds. There was about a 2 foot walkway on one side of the trestle and nothing on the other side. At first we tried to move the bed but realized there was no time and ran like hell. Most of us including Hurt made it clear but the crew behind the bed had to jump to the walkway. Sarah must have flinched or something because part of her head was taken off by the train. There was blood and brains all over everyone next to her.

    When the train hit the bed flying shrapnel almost took off one crew members arm and there were lots of serious injuries and broken bones.

    There were no cops and no medical crew on set so those not injured and not too messed up puking and crying did their best to give first aid.

    The AD, UPM and locations manager should be charged with some  sort of negligent homicide. One spotter 3 or 4 miles up the track and all of this could have been avoided. Of course, the whole idea of shooting on a live track is insane to begin with.

    •  Thanks for the details (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      here4tehbeer, BlackSheep1, Mayfly

      maybe TMI for the squeamish, but important first-hand info.
      I grew up in railroad family, and it was drilled into us, never go on a trestle. Ever.

      My condolences also go out to the train crew. I know how this affects them as well. It's a horror seeing someone on the tracks.

      Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. Theodore Roosevelt

      by Zwoof on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 11:09:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, Mayfly
      The AD, UPM and locations manager should be charged with some sort of negligent homicide.
      This wasn't a couple of college kids with a D5 jumping a fence for a quick shot, this was a group of professionals who damn well know that the reason there are rules and the reason those rules get followed are exactly for reasons like this.

      Everyone else on the crew—from the PAs on up—trust that the required steps have been taken to ensure the set they're walking onto is safe and secure. Obviously there was a major breakdown in the chain at some point, and people are dead because of it. Accidents can happen, but negligence need a helper.

      Hopefully some good will come from this tragedy.

      Religion: America's Largest Protected Class.

      by here4tehbeer on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 12:54:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does anybody here know about the callous facebook (0+ / 0-)

    comment by an executive of the production company?  It was taken down within an hour of posting--but I am hoping someone grabbed  a screen shot.

    "Stand your ground" laws promote aggression rather than discretion."

    by Mayfly on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 06:17:37 PM PST

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