According to reports, Fast and Furious producers were slapped with a substantial punishment when a stuntman was wounded on site.
Joe Watts suffered a cracked skull after falling 25 feet headfirst into the concrete ground in July 2019 while filming Fast 9, starring Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez, at Warner Bros studios in Leavesden, Hertfordshire.
He was injured during a fight scene on a balcony when his safety line came undone while he was being flung over another performer’s shoulder.
According to PA, he rehearsed being tossed over their right shoulder, but it was moved to the left during production of the ninth installment in the action franchise.
His safety line was apparently not checked between takes and became disconnected on the second attempt, leading him to plunge to the earth from the balcony.
He slid through the crash mats and landed on the pavement below.
FF9 Pictures, a Universal Pictures subsidiary, acknowledged to violations in health and safety earlier today, and executives were allegedly fined £800,000 at Luton Magistrates’ Court.
According to PA, District Judge Talwinder Buttar remarked during sentence that Mr Watts was “fortunate to be alive” following the disaster, and condemned the choice to change the stunt “at the last minute.”
She also targeted the ‘astonishing’ blunder of not adjusting the crash mat once the procedure was modified.
Mr Watts has performed stunts in a variety of films and television series, including Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and Johnny English Strikes Again.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought the lawsuit against FF9, claiming those on set had ‘no system for double checking that the link had been properly engaged and tightened’.
The documents reportedly said that the firm ‘did not extend the crash matting needed to mitigate the consequences of an unintended fall following changes to the set and the sequence of the stunt.’
‘Mr Watts’ injuries were life-changing and he could have easily been killed,’ the outlet reports that HSE inspector Roxanne Barker said.
‘In stunt work, it is not about preventing a fall but minimizing the risk of an injury.’
F9 was finally released in theatres in June 2021, with Fast X, the tenth installment, following two years later.
The enormously successful franchise was already confirmed to be ending after the 11th film, with spin-offs on the way.
Vin revealed the release date of the final picture, which will serve as a ‘part two’ to Fast X, in June, and we still have a long wait ahead of us.
‘April 4th 2025… is less than 22 months away,’ he penned at the time. ‘Thank you all for showing up like you always do…. 7 billion means nothing if it doesn’t represent the true feeling of family and loyalty.
‘For those who didn’t know the FastX was just part one, know that part two is going to be an effort from our fast family and studio like you have never seen. All love…’