Stuntwoman dies on the set of 'Deadpool 2'
With the industry utilizing a massive amount of visual feats that look impressive but are hard to perform in practice, the role of stuntman or stuntwoman is one of the most important yet underrated jobs in the movie industry.
Although your favourite movie stars act as the face of films, stunt work fills the gaps where CGI cannot. They're well trained to carry out these dangerous tasks, but accidents can happen, and one such tragedy has occurred on the set of the upcoming Deadpool 2.
At around 8:20am local time in Vancouver, Canada, rookie stuntwoman Joi “SJ” Harris was performing a stunt involving a motorcycle when the vehicle went airborne, sending Harris crashing through a building. Emergency services were called to the scene, and Harris was declared dead shortly afterward.
Details concerning the incident are still coming in, but Harris was filming an action scene for Deadpool 2, standing in for Zazie Beetz as the character Domino. A studio production source said that Harris had been practicing the stunt extensively, saying there were "two full days of rehearsals over the weekend", before the stunt was practiced five times before yesterday's shoot.
According to eyewitness reports, Harris performed the stunt without problems until the last take, where her bike seemed to accelerate when it was supposed to slow down, sending her into the ground floor studio of the Shaw Tower on West Waterfront Road in downtown Vancouver. Since Domino was not wearing a helmet in the scene, neither was Harris.
Ryan Reynolds has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Harris, saying he was "devastated", while David Leitch, director of Deadpool 2, put out a statement offering his deepest condolences to Harris' family.
"I’m deeply saddened by the loss of one of our stunt performers today. No words can express how I and the rest of the Deadpool 2 crew feel about this tragedy. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and loved ones in this difficult time."
According to her bio, Joi Harris began motorcycle riding in Brooklyn, and became the first African-American woman to become licensed to actively compete in American Motorcycle Association races. Since then, she's been a firm advocate for female racing, and Deadpool 2 was her first role as a movie stunt performer.
This movie stunt accident is one of a slew to occur on a set this year, and the second in just a month; on the set of the television show the Walking Dead, 33-year-old John Bernecker died from head and neck injuries after falling more than 20 feet off a balcony. Tom Cruise was also injured on the set of Mission: Impossible 6 a few days prior to this after a stunt went wrong.
After the accident on the set of Deadpool 2, the British Columbia Coroner’s Service confirmed they were opening an investigation into Harris' death: "Anytime there is a fatality in the province we investigate. We have a mandate to prevent future deaths and to make any recommendations that could come from our findings."
Production has been shut down immediately, and at this stage, it is uncertain when shooting will recommence.