Amazon Studios is vehemently denying it considered using artificial intelligence to complete its upcoming “Road House” sequel starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Variety on Thursday reported that film producer Joel Silver was pulled from “Road House” and another upcoming Amazon movie, “Play Dirty,” over accusations he had berated MGM marketing head Sue Kroll and the relatively new Amazon film head Courtenay Valenti.
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Individuals identified only as “sources close to Silver” told Variety a different story: Silver was penalized by the studio for “raising concerns about Amazon wanting to use AI to finish ‘Road House’ production during the strike,” they say.
When reached, Amazon did not issue a statement — but a rep strongly denied to IndieWire that the studio wanted to use AI. The rep says only there is not an “ounce” of truth to the claim. Production on “Road House” wrapped in October 2022, and additional shooting took place for two days in December 2022, well before the strikes began.
Bryan Freedman, an attorney for Silver, did not respond to IndieWire’s questions about the AI allegation. In a statement, he shared the following: “As Amazon readily admits, Joel Silver completed all of his services on ‘Road House’ and was not relieved of his duties, terminated or fired from his services on ‘Road House.’ He finished the film and did an excellent job. With respect to ‘Play Dirty,’ as agreed to by Amazon, Joel was in no way terminated with or for cause on that picture. None of this is in dispute. To say he was fired is irresponsible and defamatory.”
When reached, a rep for Doug Liman, the director of the upcoming “Road House” movie, declined to comment.
It sure would have been a bold time to try such a thing. AI was (and remains, to a degree) a hot-button issue during this summer’s writers and actors strikes. Eventually, the actors reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) that requires studios to seek consent before AI can be used. Consent must be clear and received prior to agreeing to the project, and the actors involved must be compensated based on their normal rate relative to how AI is used.
The “Road House” remake (of sorts) is expected to be released via streaming in 2024 under the MGM banner. (Amazon purchased MGM in 2022 for $8.5 billion.) Amazon has several streaming services: Prime Video, which is the biggie, as well as MGM+ (fka Epix) and FAST player Freevee.
Silver was a major Hollywood producer in the ’80s and ’90s. His résumé includes the original “Road House” (1989) with Patrick Swayze, as well as the “Lethal Weapon” and “Die Hard” franchises. Silver also became notorious for his brash, volatile personality. He hasn’t produced much lately beyond 2016’s “The Nice Guys” and the 2018 “SuperFly” remake. The two Amazon films represented a potential comeback for Silver.
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