Hollywood is still in mourning after a series of on-set accidents led to several stunt actor deaths. Deadpool 2 was the most recent project to suffer such a tragic loss, and one of its stars is now speaking out about the ordeal.
Josh Brolin sat down to chat with Entertainment Weekly about his tenure with Deadpool 2. It was there the actor nodded to the death of Joi “S.J.” Harris as the performer passed away after a stunt went awry.
“We had that tragedy happen recently, which was awful,” Brolin said. “We’re all still reeling from that, but other than that it’s been great.”
If you are not aware of the recent Deadpool 2 tragedy, then you should know the ordeal took place earlier this month. On August 14, Harris was tasked with performing a motorcycle stunt meant to Domino, a fan-favorite mutant played by Zazie Beetz. Harris went forward with the stunt but lost control of her vehicle and crashed. The stuntwoman died from her injuries, prompting production on Deadpool 2 to shut down momentarily as its cast mourned.
Recently, new reports have suggested the film’s crew warned producers about the stunt’s danger. A piece published by The Hollywood Reporter suggests producers pressured the sequel’s stunt coordinators to make Harris peform the stunt despite her lack of experience. The report says the executives wanted Harris to do the sequence since she and Beetz were both African-American.
According to an anonymous production source, crew members warned producers the stunt may be Harris’ last if she is forced to go through with it.
"She was improving, but I was watching her and, oh my God, I thought, 'It's just a matter of time before she crashes into a wall or runs somebody over," one stunt performer admitted.
Hollywood's stunt community is a tight-knit one, but it has come under fire in recent years for its homogenous nature. With few ethnicities represented in the industry, 20th Century Fox had a limited pool of stunt actors to work with. The studio was adamant in having the most compatible stand-ins possible for filming, and it seems like producers were willing to put an unprepared stuntwoman into action to keep up appearances.
“The producers put pressure to have somebody of the same sex and ethnicity in a position she wasn’t qualified to be in,” veteran stunt coordinator Conrad Palmisano told The Hollywood Reporter. “The stunt coordinators caved to the pressure.”
Following Harris' death, the set of Deadpool 2 went dark for 48-hours before it reopened. The film has since resumed filming.
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