If the tragic tale of iconic Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd ever makes it to the big screen, it will not be the one based on the story of the band’s one-time drummer, Artimus Pyle.
As Rolling Stone reports, a judge has granted the band a permanent injunction that shuts down production on Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash, which reportedly began filming in June.
The movie would have chronicled the horrific 1977 plane crash that took the lives of six passengers, including Skynyrd lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines.
The issue at hand is a consent order that Pyle signed with his fellow bandmates in 1988, which granted Pyle the right to tell his own story but left the band’s name and mention of those killed in the crash strictly off limits.
Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, current singer (and Van Zant’s brother) Johnny Van Zant and the estates of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines filed a lawsuit seeking to shut down the biopic, with U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet ruling that Street Survivors was in violation of Pyle’s consent order, and would cause “irreparable harm” to the estates of the late band members as well as the Lynyrd Skynyrd name.
“None of the defendants received the requisite authorization under the terms of the consent order in depiction of (Ronnie) Van Zant or Gaines or in the use of the Lynyrd Skynyrd name, and therefore all have violated the consent order,” wrote Sweet (who also oversaw the 1988 consent order) in his judgment.
The judge’s ruling doesn’t bar the filmmakers from making a Lynyrd Skynyrd biopic — just this biopic.
Filming could resume if the existing script was replaced with a new one that has no connection to Pyle, and if filmmakers severed all ties with the drummer, who played with the band from 1974 to 1977 and again from 1987 to 1991.