Road House Writer Sues Remake Over Fake Voices

By Douglas Helm | Published

The Road House remake is running into more trouble, as the Amazon film just got hit with a lawsuit. R. Lance Hill (pen name David Lee Henry), the writer of the 1989 original film, is suing Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and its parent company, Amazon Studios, for copyright infringement.

AI Use During SAG Strike?

Hill claims that not only did Amazon ignore his ability to reclaim the rights to the original screenplay but that the company also used AI to copy actors’ voices during the SAG strike.

The first part of Hill’s Road House remake lawsuit makes sense. Hill alleges that he filed a petition for the copyright of the original screenplay to be returned to him after the United Artists’ Claim expired in November 2023.

But the second part of the suit is definitely odd, and it’s likely we’ll see more of these types of lawsuits as AI becomes more prevalent. If Amazon did use AI to replicate actors’ voices just to meet a deadline, especially during a strike that was partially looking to regulate AI, it would be a bad look.

Amazon Denies Claims

road house remake

Of course, Amazon is vehemently denying Hill’s claims regarding the use of AI in the Road House remake.

An Amazon MGM Studios spokesperson told Variety that the Hill’s claims are “without merit and numerous allegations are categorically false,” adding, “the film does not use any AI in place of actors’ voices.”

A studio source echoed this statement to Variety saying that the studio instructed that no AI be used in the film.

Not The First Amazon And AI Claim

live action invincible

Interestingly, this is not the first time that a creative has accused Amazon of using AI, as producer Joel Silver leveled some accusations against the company in November.

Silver was fired from the company for alleged verbal abuse, but sources told Variety at the time that Silver was actually fired for speaking up against the studio using AI to finish the Road House remake. This is a claim that Amazon also denied.

Road House Being Blocked?

road house remake

As for the copyright issue regarding the Road House remake, Hill’s suit claims that the film was completed months after the copyright deadline and that the remake has “key literary elements substantially similar” to his original screenplay.

The WGA did ensure that Hill got a story by credit for the film, but Hill is seeking declaratory relief as well. Hill also wants to block the film’s distribution with the suit.

Where To Go From Here?

road house remake

It will be interesting to see where this lawsuit goes for the Road House remake.

The copyright part of the lawsuit seems fairly standard, but the AI portion of the lawsuit could make for an interesting story.

As with any developing technology, the law is murky around AI and this lawsuit could be an early precedent for how studios use it when making their films.

Director Also Has A Problem

road house remake

Besides the Road House remake lawsuit, the director of the film, Doug Liman, is also taking umbrage with Amazon.

The director is boycotting the streaming release of the film and won’t be attending the premiere at SXSW on March 8. Liman’s boycott is due to the fact that Amazon is not releasing the movie in theaters.

Source: Variety