`Deadpool' Sequel Stunt Death Draws Safety Probe

By Peter Menyasz

British Columbia health and safety officials are investigating the death of a female stunt driver who was killed Aug. 14 in a motorcycle accident during the filming of 20th Century Fox’s film “Deadpool 2.”

WorkSafeBC was contacted early Aug. 14 about a serious incident at the movie set in downtown Vancouver, Trish Knight Chernecki, a spokeswoman for the British Columbia government agency, told Bloomberg BNA.

Eyewitnesses told local television stations that the movie crew was filming a stunt sequence in which a motorcycle crashed through the window of the Shaw Tower in Vancouver, and after some successful runs, the stunt driver lost control of her motorcycle. The movie has been filming in Vancouver since June, and city streets had been closed periodically over the days before the accident to shoot scenes involving motorcycles and scooters.

Vancouver Police Department confirmed in an Aug. 14 statement only that the stunt driver had been killed while performing a stunt on a motorcycle and that officers remained at the scene to assist with health and safety investigators. Police officials didn’t respond to a request from Bloomberg BNA for details of the accident.

Two officers inspected the accident site for immediate occupational health and safety issues, while three other officers started investigating the accident’s causes and potential charges under the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, Chernecki said.

According to WorkSafeBC, the last person to die in a stunt accident was in 1996. The Vancouver Economic Commission has estimated that the city hosts more than 30 movies and more than 30 television series per year, making it the third largest production center in North America and generating more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs.

20th Century Fox said Aug. 14 in a statement that the studio is “deeply saddened” by the accident and its “hearts and prayers” are with bereaved family, friends, and colleagues.

“We will share more when we can,” Dan Berger, the Hollywood studio’s executive vice-president of corporate communications, told Bloomberg BNA in an email.Police didn’t release victim’s name, but friends and colleagues of professional motorcycle racer Joi “SJ” Harris, of Brooklyn, N.Y., posted condolences on her Facebook page Aug. 14. Harris describes herself on her website as the first licensed female African American road racer in the U.S.

Vancouver-born actor Ryan Reynolds, who headlines the sequel to 2016’s “Deadpool” movie, confirmed in an Aug. 14 tweet that the cast lost a crew member while filming.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Menyasz in Ottawa at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bna.com

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