A stuntwoman working on the set of Deadpool 2 tragically passed away, and as the main actor in the movie, people turned to Ryan Reynolds for guidance. Tragedies like these can really serve as an opportunity to put things in perspective.
Deadpool 2 is one of the most highly anticipated sequels in the pipeline, a follow-up to last year’s hugely successful first Deadpool movie. This tragedy took place during the filming of a motorcycle scene in Vancouver. Investigators into this tragedy have released statements offering more information, which we’ll take a look at in a moment.
Update: New reports have surfaced saying that crew members had warned the producers before this happened that she wasn’t experienced enough for this stunt yet, and had has trouble during the trial runs, and that the death could have possibly been avoided. According to a source from The Hollywood Reporter, “The producers put pressure to have somebody of the same sex and ethnicity in a position she wasn’t qualified to be in. The stunt coordinators caved to the pressure. All the stunt people could do was take it to their higher-ups. They’re going to follow their chain of command,” and another stunt person reported walked-off the set before the accident, when producers ignored safety concerns.
Joi “S.J.” Harris is the name of the stuntwoman who died on the set of Deadpool 2. She lost her life after being thrown off the bike, through a window. This was her first time working stunts for a film.
“The motorcycle struck the concrete sidewalk curb, the worker was thrown off the motorcycle and propelled through a plate glass window of a building,” says a report on the accident.
Local news had reported that the ambulance drove away from the scene of the accident without having their lights on, which is a bad sign, because it means they aren’t rushing back to the hospital as quickly as possible, it means it’s already too late.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Joi, who are going through an immense loss. We can imagine the release and incredible hype leading up to this film could serve as a painful reminder for those that knew and loved her, but perhaps it will also be bittersweet, a reminder of the adventurous life she lived, spent doing what she loved.
In a difficult time like this, people are going to turn to Ryan Reynolds since he’s the face of this film. He’s expected to make a statement and put on a brave face for the rest of the cast and crew, while also dealing with this tragedy. You have to wonder if there’s ever a moment on a movie set after a tragedy like this, where they’re thinking “What are we doing? Is this worth it?” Big budget movies are very careful when it comes to the safety of the cast and crew, but accidents can still always happen for a number of reasons. Workplace accidents and deaths happen in all professions, especially very dangerous ones, like stunt work, but it’s still always a sad shock to hear about things like that.
Here’s what Ryan Reynolds had to say:
Not only is Reynolds the star of the movie, but this accident took place in his home city of Vancouver, Canada.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) August 14, 2017
“Today, we tragically lost a member of our crew while filming ‘Deadpool,’ We’re heartbroken, shocked and devastated … but recognize nothing can come close to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment. My heart pours out to them – along with each and every person she touched in this world.”
This tragedy has also sparked a conversation about stuntpeople deserving more recognition in movies. There are some stars who do their own stunts, but for the most part, typically for the more dangerous scenes, a lot of the physical scenes, especially the very dangerous ones, are performed by stuntpeople. It’s them that you’re watching during some of the most awesome scenes in movies, yet most people can’t name a single stuntperson.
Some people on Twitter have discussed whether or not Deadpool should directly addresses this as a form of tribute in the movie, but others have said it might be too jarring.
An initial report describing the accident from WorkSafeBC is as follows:
“A temporary worksite had been setup to record a film scene for a movie production. The site had been cordoned off from general public and traffic by the Vancouver Police Department. The worker had been rehearsing a stunt scene that involved driving a motorcycle, Dictate 939 Hyperstrada, out of the open doors of a building, across a concrete pad and down a ramp that had been built over three stairs and coming to a stop on the stair landing. During the first shooting of the scene the stunt driver continued driving beyond the planned stopping spot on the stairway landing, and continued to drive down a second ramp built over the bottom stairs and across the roadway. The motorcycle struck the concrete sidewalk curb, the worker was thrown off the motorcycle and propelled through a plate glass window of a building.”
This is the second tragedy in recent months involving a stuntpersron. This past July, John Bernecker lost his life on the set of The Walking Dead. This also comes on the heels of a serious injury sustained by Tom Cruise while working on a Mission Impossible movie where he was smashed into a building, and collapsed while limping away.