Filming that was scheduled for this week in the Savannah area on the movie Midnight Rider was canceled after last Thursday's tragedy on a train track in Jesup. A second camera assistant, 27 year old Sarah Jones, died after being hit by a train during filming.
Interim Film Services Director in Savannah, William Hammargren says that filming had been planned this week in Chatham County and the city of Savannah, but the requests for filming and the permit requests have been withdrawn for now. Hammargren isn't sure what happens next with the film but surmised there may be requests to film at a later date.
Last week after Jones died, we were told that the production crew had a permit to film on Rayonier property which is near the site of the tracks where the accident took place. But Wayne County detective Joe Gardner says it's "his understanding that there was not permission to film on the railroad tracks." The tracks are owned by CSX railroad. The railroad has issued a statement indicating it is cooperating with the investigation but provided no details.
A spokesman with Rayonier told us last week that it was his understanding that the accident did not take place on their property. That same spokesman told us today it was also his understanding that a company representative may have been with the film crew last week, but was not in the area where the accident took place. In addition to Jones' death, several other crew members were injured.
Hammargren tells News 3 that shortly after the New Year, he met with the film's director, Randall Miller, the executive producer Jay Sedrish, the associate producer Andre Danylevich and the location manager, Charlie Baxter. He says that meeting took place in Savannah at Meddin Productions. He told us at that time, local locations of interest were discussed and requests made for the filming that was to begin today.
The film crew is set to make what's known as the biopic film "midnight Rider" about Greg Allman.
Hammargren told us that in general, any permit granted for the city of Savannah indicates in detail the locations where a crew would be allowed and is time sensitive. He also told us that major films can be complicated because of the number of companies sometimes involved and the specific jobs of each and every crew member. He compared it to the military in some ways, saying that most often films should include a great deal of pre-planning regarding locations and schedules.