In 1977, at the height of the band’s success, the members of Southern rock pioneer Lynyrd Skynyrd were involved in a fatal plane crash. The emergency landing of the band’s chartered CV-240 plane—caused by a faulty engine—killed band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines upon impact, along with the band’s assistant road manager, and both of the aircraft’s pilots. Other members of the band survived the crash with serious injuries. Several of them—including drummer Artimus Pyle—would go on to reunite as Lynyrd Skynyrd a decade later, with Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny, in the lead singer role.
Now, Pyle’s memories will serve as the cornerstone of an upcoming movie about the band and the crash, currently in development at Cleopatra Films (also responsible for the thoroughly unauthorized Morrissey biopic Steven). Pyle is co-writing the script with director Jared Cohn, a direct-to-DVD auteur whose five-to-six film-a-year output includes horror schlock like Hulk Blood Tapes, and the disastrously cheap 50 Shades Of Grey wanna-be Bound. That doesn’t necessarily fill us with confidence about the movie’s take on the band’s history or the fateful crash, even if Pyle—who’s had disagreements over the years with his fellow survivors over Lynyrd Skynyrd’s legacy—promises the film will present his bandmates as they actually were: “real, funny people who loved the music.”