Oscar winner William Hurt has been cast as Gregg Allman in the biopic “Midnight Rider,” which is being produced by Randall Miller and Jody Savin of Unclaimed Freight Productions.
All-American Rejects singer/songwriter Tyson Ritter will play young Gregg Allman, while Hurt will portray the singer in present day. Wyatt Russell (“22 Jump Street”) co-stars as Duane Allman.
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“I am a tremendous fan of William’s work. I can’t wait to work with him,” said Miller, who will direct from a script he co-wrote with Savin.
“William Hurt actually helped start Randy’s career years ago,” said Savin. “He made an anonymous monetary donation to Randy’s AFI thesis film. And when his identity was revealed, he even agreed to do the voice-over on the film.”
“And now to work with William on a feature film is thrilling,” added Miller.
As previously announced, Open Road Films will be distribute in the U.S., while The Exchange is handling international sales on the film, which is based on Gregg Allman’s bestselling biography “My Cross to Bear,” which he wrote with Alan Light.
Considered one of the greatest blues singers ever, Gregg Allman had the road-weary voice of an old soul who had lived it all and then some when he was in his mere twenties.
“The film focuses on two major parts of Gregg’s life in music: Gregg’s early struggles through the formation of The Allman Brothers Band and the group’s ultimate explosion on the music scene, and Gregg’s struggles to clean himself up from drug and alcohol abuse,” explained Miller. “Considering what he has endured, the dark tunnels from which he has emerged, his health and his continued sublime musicianship is nothing short of miraculous.”
Savin and Miller are working closely with Allman and his manager, Michael Lehman, both of whom will serve as executive producers on the film.
“I’m excited to be working with Tyson and Wyatt on the music and the story of my life. They are really talented actors and musicians,” said Allman.
“It is a pleasure to be working with Tyson and Wyatt who have such a passion for Gregg and Duane’s music and who fully understand its importance in the history of rock ‘n’ roll,” added Lehman.
It is anticipated that there will not only be original Allman Brothers tracks in the film but re-recorded performances by the actor/musicians.
Production is scheduled to begin in February in Savannah, Georgia at Meddin Studios. Other key cast will be announced shortly.
Hurt’s reps at ICM Partners negotiated the deal with Jonathan Gardner of Cohen Gardner negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers. Bruce Kaufman and Maartin Kooij negotiated the film rights deal on behalf of Gregg Allman.