A new lawsuit claims that the creators of the upcoming Road House remake took “extreme measures” to finish the film under a tight deadline — going so far as to to fake the actors’ voices with AI during the 2023 actors’ strike.

The surprising allegations detailed in the Los Angeles Times. The suit was brought by R. Lance Hill (known by his pen name David Lee Henry) who was the co-writer of the original Road House. He claims that when he attempted to regain the copyright to the Road House script from MGM/UA (which is now owned by Amazon), the company pushed ahead with their planned remake anyway, which is coming soon to their Prime Video streaming service and stars Jake Gyllenhaal in the role originally played by Patrick Swayze.

Per the suit, the copyright for the Road House script expired in November of 2023 and so...

Amazon ‘went so far as to take extreme measures to try to meet this November 10, 2023 deadline, at considerable additional cost, including by resorting to the use of AI (artificial intelligence)’ during last year’s SAG-AFTRA strike, Hill’s lawsuit claims. He alleges Amazon used AI to ‘replicate the voices’ of the actors in the 2024 remake.


Road House
Prime Video

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Hill’s lawsuit also alleges “the movie was completed in January [2024] — about two months after the copyright deadline.”

Copyright law currently allows writers to reclaim the right to the work written after 1977 35 years after the date the rights were transferred to a studio — Amazon (via United Artists) in this case. In recent years, similar suits have been brought by other writers; the original writers of Predator, for example, brought suit against Disney after it bought Fox before eventually settling.

Breaking a strike in any way would be a big no-no, but doing so by using AI to approximate the voices of striking actors would be a potentially explosive claim if true. Amazon gave a statement to the Times claiming Hill’s suit is “without merit... the film does not use any AI in place of actors’ voices. We look forward to defending ourselves against these claims.”

The piece also quotes an anonymous source who “suggested” that “if AI was used during production, it was only during early cuts of the film. Studio executives instructed the filmmakers to remove any AI or nonunion performers from the final cut.”

Road House is currently scheduled to premiere on March 21. It will premiere earlier in the month at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The film has garnered a fair amount of controversy even before this suit; its director, Doug Liman, has claimed he will not support the movie at SXSW because the film is otherwise going straight to streaming and bypassing theaters. And Joel Silver, who produced both Road House films, was allegedly fired by Amazon over “verbal abuse allegations” according to TheWrap.

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