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Lynyrd Skynyrd biopic about 1977 plane crash starts filming

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Principal photography on the upcoming film about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 plane crash began in Los Angeles yesterday (24th April).

‘Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash’ centres on the tragic Mississippi crash on 20th October 1977 that claimed the lives of singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and his backing vocalist sister Cassie Gaines, road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and copilot William Gray.

First announced by Artimus Pyle last summer, the story is powered by his first-hand recollections of the crash with Jared Cohn directing and Cleopatra Records founder Brian Perera on production duties.  

In a new report by Variety, it’s just been confirmed Neill Byrnes and Anthony Rocco Bovo will play Aerosmith rockers Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.

They join a cast that already includes Ian Shultis as Pyle, Taylor Clift as Van Zant, Samuel Kay Forrest as Gaines, Rich Dally III as Allen Collins, Hudson Long as Billy Powell and Nick Cairo as Leon Wilkeson.

Aerosmith were earlier due to hire the doomed Convair CV-240 plane but their flight crew rejected the plane as it wasn’t up to standards.

Speaking to Crave Online in 2015, Joe Perry said: "It was a terrible tragedy, and we just considered ourselves incredibly lucky.

"We’ve always felt there was somebody watching over us, and this was another example of that. People were put in our lives that helped bail us out for one reason or another. Fortunately, we had someone looking at the plane that we would be taking, and he put his foot down.

"To be that close to it... it was really a blow, up and down the line. From knowing those guys, to the loss of music and beyond."

An original radio news report after the crash:


 

In an interview with Deadline, Artimus Pyle said the crash represented a devastating loss of potential: “When that plane crashed, we were at the top of the world man. I mean, we could play with any band — any band, whether it was the Rolling Stones, anyone, and we would hold our own or better. I think of that accident every day and what we might have accomplished if we’d have ten more years.

“But I’m very proud of the band; I love the music and I love playing it still. I love hearing the stories, every time I play a gig now and meet people. And I know the only reason people know my name is because of Ronnie Van Zant.

“We want this to be a good movie that tells a very passionate, intimate story about the music and the band and a rise and fall that happened so suddenly. I want the movie to portray my band members the way they were: real, funny people who loved the music, loved the success that allowed us to be able to travel the world and play for kings and queens all over this planet.

“Of course, there is the tragedy, us being on this airplane that ran out of fuel after a performance in Greenville South Carolina that became the last place Ronnie Van Zant ever sang Free Bird. It’s incredibly personal and passionate to me and I want the movie going public to be able to share the laughs and the tears.”

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