Lynyrd Skynyrd Sue Ex-Drummer Over Biopic

Last year, former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle announced his plans to make a biopic based on his recollections of the 1977 plane crash that killed the band’s lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. Some of the surviving members of the band made their disapproval known at the time, and a cease-and-desist notice issued last summer forced the film’s name be changed from Free Bird to Street Survivors: The True Story Of The Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash.

On Friday, according to Reuters, a new lawsuit was filed in Manhattan court by guitarist Gary Rossington, Van Zant’s brother Johnny Van Zant, and the estates of other Lynyrd Skynyrd members killed in the crash. They’re going after Pyle and production company Cleopatra Records Inc. to halt production on the movie, which is currently being edited and could be ready for theaters as early as 2018.

In the suit, they say that, while Pyle is “free to exploit his own personal life story,” the title of the new movie would cause “incalculable” loss and irreparable harm to the Lynyrd Skynyrd name. The suit says that the film comes close to violating a 1988 consent order that put restrictions on the use of the band’s name in relation to the crash. They say that the movie “may contain a potentially inaccurate or skewed portrayal of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s story as filtered solely through the eyes of Pyle masquerading as the ‘True Story’ of a defining moment in the band’s history.”

A trial is scheduled for 7/11.