Road House

Source: SXSW

Road House

Amazon has said a copyright lawsuit brought by the original screenwriter of Road House ahead of next week’s SXSW world premiere of the remake starring Jake Gyllenhaal is “completely without merit”, including an allegation that the company used AI to complete production during the Hollywood strikes.

R. Lance Hill, who went by the name of as David Lee Henry when he wrote the 1989 original film starring Patrick Swayze as a bouncer at a tough bar, filed a claim in a California court on Tuesday alleging that MGM and parent company Amazon did not license the 1986 screenplay on which the original film was based after the rights reverted to him.

Hill says the copyright reverted to him on November 11, 2023, yet the defendants proceeded with the production.

He wants to block the release of the new film ahead of its March 21 debut on Prime Video, and has further claimed that Amazon used AI to complete ADR work, typically done to re-record audio after production, to meet a self-imposed deadline.

The use of generative AI would have contravened SAG-AFTRA rules at a time when the actors union was on strike.

“The lawsuit filed by R. Lance Hill regarding Road House today is completely without merit and numerous allegations are categorically false,” an Amazon MGM Studios spokesperson told Screen. “The film does not use any AI in place of actors’ voices. We look forward to defending ourselves against these claims.”

Amazon MGM Studios sources said no AI was used to recreate actors’ voices, and if it were used it would have been done by the filmmakers while editing early cuts of the film and not the studio.

Sources said the studio instructed the filmmakers to not use AI in the film, and advised filmmakers to remove either AI or non-SAG AFTRA actors from the cut of the feature.

The lawsuit is the latest issue to beset the film ahead of its world premiere at SXSW next week. Director Doug Liman has gone on the record saying he will not attend the premiere as Amazon will bypass a theatrical release and push the film directly to Prime Video.

In a new interview doing the rounds, Gyllenhaal told Total Film his understanding was always that Road House would go straight to streaming.