The stunt performers community has weighed in on the producers of ‘Deadpool 2’, after road race star Joi ‘SJ’ Harris died in an accident on set.
Many believe that the 40-year-old motorcyclist, who had never worked as a stuntwoman before, had no business being employed by the production.
One industry veteran added that Harris’s death ‘absolutely could have been prevented’.
Harris died after losing control of her motorcycle during a stunt, and crashing into a plate-glass window on the sequel’s set in Vancouver.
It’s emerged that she was not wearing a helmet, though she had successfully performed the stunt a number of times in rehearsals.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, one ‘stunt industry veteran’ said: “Joi was totally unqualified and never should have been there or put in that position.
“Joi had never been in a film or done any sort of stunt. She was just a girl from Brooklyn who liked to road race — which was not remotely similar to what was required for the shots. She didn’t have the experience or skills for the job they brought her in for.”
Steve Kelso, who is a member of the Stunmen’s Association and has worked in the movies for 40 years in productions from ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ to the ‘Fast & Furious’ films, added: “I do tons of NASCAR stuff, and I have hired real NASCAR drivers to do work and they end up wrecking the cars.
“I can’t tell you how much different it is doing stunts with motorcycles than just riding where the aim is to go really, really fast. I’m a professional race car driver, but it’s just day and night. There’s no comparison. The two don’t really mix.
“Being a professional motorcycle rider is only half the job, the other half is knowing all the parameters and the art of making movies.”
It’s also said that one reason Harris was hired was because her skin tone matched that of actress Zazie Beetz, who plays Domino in the movie, and who Harris was doubling for.
And the matter of the missing helmet has also disturbed some stunt pros too.
“Are there not ways to create a helmet with hair protecting the stunt driver?” asked another stunt performer.
“A production that’s truly invested in set safety, including all the people involved, would order this done. I can’t say it would have saved her life. However, it would have been one more step in the right direction towards making sure they were doing it all as safe as possible. The movie is on hold and worse of all, a life is lost. It’s all sad and for what, matched skin tone? It’s heartbreaking.”
SAG-AFTRA, the actors union, said that it is send a representative to the Vancouver set to investigate the incident.
Meanwhile, Zazie Beetz posted a heart-felt and hand-written note, offering condolences to the Harris family from the movie’s cast and crew.
A post shared by Zazie (@zaziebeetz) on Aug 16, 2017 at 9:40pm PDT