Did Road House Reboot Use AI?

A new lawsuit claims that the creators of the upcoming Road House remake took “extreme measures” to finish the film under a tight deadline, including using AI.

As 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  during last year’s SAG-AFTRA strike.”

Hill’s lawsuit alleges that Amazon used AI to “replicate the voices” of the actors in the 2024 remake.”

Copyright law currently allows writers to reclaim rights to works written after 1977, 35 years after the date the rights were transferred to a studio.

In such instances, the author has “a five year period commencing 35 years after the date the rights were transferred” to terminate the copyright held by the studio, Hill’s suit said.

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.

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

Malibu attorney Marc Toberoff, who is handling Hill’s case, specializes in intellectual property law, and has a long track record, including winning a summary judgment in similar Copyright Act cases on behalf of “Friday the 13th” creator Victor Miller and the family of “Superman” co-creator Jerry Siegel, helping the family recapture a half-interest in the copyright for the iconic hero.

And while working on the film during the strike is problematic, doing so by using AI to approximate the voices of striking actors would be a potentially explosive claim if true.

According to an anonymous source quoted by the the Times, “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.”

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.”

ScreenCrush: Screenwriter claims Road House Used AI

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