The filmmakers behind the upcoming music-themed feature “CBGB” are aiming to keep the rock flame alive with a biopic on Gregg Allman.
Randall Miller and Jody Savin have picked up the rights to “My Cross to Bear,” Allman’s New York Times best-selling memoir co-written with Alan Light.
Savin and Miller will write the screenplay for the movie and Miller will direct. The duo will produce via their Unclaimed Freight banner along their music biz partner, Brad Rosenberger.
Allman was part of the Southern rock group the Allman Brothers, whose heyday was in the ’60s and ’70s with such songs as “Ramblin’ Man,” “Midnight Rider,” “Whipping Post” and “Jessica.”
Despite the success, Gregg Allman found himself beset by tragedy: His brother Duane Allman died in a motorcycle crash only two weeks after the band’s third album went gold. Less than 13 months later, bassist Berry Oakley was killed in another motorcycle accident. The hand of death followed him to his relationships: two girlfriends committed suicide after Allman broke up with them.
Allman also married six times (once to Cher) and spent years in and out of rehab.
Miller and Savin say they will focus on two fronts: Allman’s journey as a struggling artist through the formation of the Allman Brothers Band and its explosion on the music scene, and on a portrait of an older Allman as a 64-year-old man who knows he has to clean up.
“We knew it was a great story but didn’t know how great it was until we read the book,” said Miller who added that the story’s uplifting arc is what attracted the pair. “That journey and coming out the other side is not the normal falling-into-hell story that rock and roll often is.”
Savin and Miller will work closely with Gregg Allman and Michael Lehman, Allman’s manager, to make the story as authentic as possible. Allman and Lehman will serve as executive producers on the film.
The plan is to use a mix of original songs and songs performed by the actor/musicians who will be cast.
The project is likely to attract plenty of actors itching to play real-life rock personas, much like Miller and Savin’s CBGB.
“CBGB,” which is in post-production, tells the story of Hilly Kristal and the creation of his famed NYC bar, which ended up being at the epicenter of the punk rock movement in the late ’70s. It stars Alan Rickman, Malin Akerman, Ashley Greene and Johnny Galecki, among others, and has a mix of original music and actors performing.
Miller and company were planning on following up “CBGB” with a movie on famed recording studio Caribou Records but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to adapt “Cross to Bear.” Caribou Records will now likely to be made after the Allman movie.
ICM Partners and Greenberg Traurig repped Allman and Lehman. Bloom Hergott repped the filmmakers.