Three days after a stuntwoman was tragically killed on the set of Deadpool 2, star Zazie Beetz has shared her condolences via Instagram. The driver, 40-year-old Joi "SJ" Harris, was performing an action sequence when she lost control of her motorcycle and crashed through a plate-glass window on Monday, August 14. Witnesses told local reporters Harris did the stunt perfect four times, but on the fifth, something went wrong. Police said she died at the scene, though her cause of death is still under investigation.
Harris was known as the first African-American female road racer, and Deadpool 2 marked her first job as a stuntwoman. She's thought to be the double for Beetz's character, Domino. Leading man Ryan Reynolds and director David Leitch have previously issued statements about Harris' loss, with both expressing deep shock and sadness as well as sympathies for her family.
Now, Beetz has also weighed in. As she wrote in a handwritten letter posted to Instagram (see below):
“On Monday, we tragically lost one of our own: Joi SJ Harris. My heart has been breaking the past two days and I have been searching what to say or do. I know that what I feel is nothing compared to what her loved ones, friends + family, are feeling. My heart and my love goes out to her and them all. The cast and crew send peace, healing, and their deepest condolences."
According to an earlier report from Deadline, Harris joined the crew only a week ago, after it was determined last minute that they would need a new stunt driver. The driver she replaced had a helmet to go under the Domino wig, but since Harris was such a late addition, she didn’t have time to get one made for her, and thus was not wearing a helmet at the time of her death.
Following the accident, 20th Century Fox immediately shut down production, but resumed on Wednesday, August 16. This means Deadpool 2 should remain on course for its previously-scheduled June 2018 release date. However, given that filming is back up and running so soon, hopefully any necessary safety measures have been thoroughly checked and adjusted where necessary so that no similar incidents occur moving forward. On-set stunts are certainly dangerous work, and those that perform them are well-trained professionals aware of the risks that come with doing so, but safety should always take the utmost priority.
Source: Zazie Beetz
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
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