The story of famed Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will soon be getting the Hollywood treatment as the subject of a forthcoming biopic. Written by former Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle, Free Bird will center on events leading up to the fatal 1977 plane crash that killed the band’s original singer, Ronnie Van Zant, and guitarist Steve Gaines.
Along with Pyle’s contributions, the script is to be co-written by the film’s director Jared Cohn, and the film is to be distributed by Cleopatra Films. Pyle will also be writing music as a part of the film’s soundtrack.
In an interview with Deadline, Pyle said, “The film’s story, which is my story, is not just about the plane crash, but also about my personal relationship with the genius that was Ronnie Van Zant. I loved him like a brother and still miss him to this day.”
Following a concert in North Carolina in 1977, the band’s chartered plane ran out of fuel mid-flight. The ensuing crash killed Van Zant and Gaines, along with backup vocalist Cassie Gaines and three others. Pyle revealed that the film is to act as a depiction of the horrific events that caused the band’s demise, as well as to portray the results of such a tragic event on a band in their early stages of superstardom.