William Hurt Exits The Gregg Allman Biopic 'Midnight Rider'

Back in February, the production of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider was struck by tragedy. While filming a scene on a railroad, a few members of the film crew got stuck on the tracks and struck by a train. The incident resulted in many injuries and the death of Sarah Elizabeth Jones, the movie's 27-year-old second camera assistant. Shooting has been on hold ever since, and today it's being reported that the cast is starting to break off.

According to Deadline, William Hurt - who was set to play an older version of Gregg Allman in the film - has been forced to walk away from the picture. While some may see this as a sign that Midnight Rider may never actually start back up again, one of the reporting site's sources says that the film was already considering recasting the part as well as some others.

Hurt first signed on to the project in January, and was part of a cast that includes Tyson Ritter, Eliza Dushku, Bradley Whitford, Wyatt Russell, Kathy Baker, and Joel David Moore. The Oscar-winning actor was actually one of the actors on set in Wayne County, GA when Sarah Jones was killed, the sequence reportedly being a part of a dream sequence and involving a mattress on the tracks. Deadline's report doesn't mention why Hurt decided to exit the film, but it's not exactly hard to see why he would.

Randall Miller, whose previous credits include the based on a true story movies Bottle Shock and CBGB, is hoping that production on Midnight Rider can restart pre-production in Los Angeles, so who knows when the movie will actually get rolling again. In the meantime, investigations into the incident are still on-going as the police continue to try and find out who was responsible for the on-set death.

Most recently, William Hurt had a role in Akiva Goldsman's Winter's Tale - which was shredded apart by critics earlier this year. He is currently in production on the Sean McNamara-directed action adventure film The Moon And The Sun, which will see him co-starring with Pierce Brosnan, Kaya Scoldelario, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Benjamin Walker and Fan Bingbing.

Deadline notes that Midnight Rider has been at the center of major criticism and controversy since announcing its plans to move production over to Los Angeles, which may end up creating a serious problem for the movie. Stay tuned for more updates about the project as they become available, and for now enjoy the sound of the Allman Brothers below:

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.