DVD Release DateFast & Furious producers fined $1 million following on-set stunt accident leaving...

Fast & Furious producers fined $1 million following on-set stunt accident leaving stuntman with brain damage

  • A Fast and Furious stuntman suffered brain damage due to a negligent accident during filming, resulting in a $1 million fine for the production.
  • The incident was caused by last-minute changes to the stunt and failure to check safety lines.
  • Other recent high-profile accidents in the film industry include a stunt double’s paralysis and a fatal shooting on the set of Rust, with legal cases pending.

The Fast and Furious franchise, known for its mind-blowing stunts and car chases, faces a $1 million fine after a stuntman suffered brain damage during a seemingly simple stunt while filming F9 in 2019. This significant penalty was handed down by a U.K. judge in response to the life-threatening accident on set.

Although the action-packed franchise features some extremely risky vehicle-based stunts, it was a relatively basic stunt that resulted in Joe Watts’ near-death experience. As reported by the BBC, Watts sustained a broken skull when he fell eight meters onto concrete on set at Warner Bros. studios in Hertfordshire, U.K., in July 2019. District Judge Talwinder Buttar, at Luton Magistrates Court, commented that Watts was “lucky to be alive” after the horrifying accident.

The prosecutor stated that last-minute alterations to the stunt resulted in the safety line attached to Watts not being checked between takes. Consequently, the line became detached. The judge also criticized the stunt coordination team for not adjusting the positioning of safety mats after the stunt changes.

Throughout his career, Watts had worked as a stuntman on high-profile productions like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Game of Thrones, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Stunt work in movies is inherently dangerous and can lead to life-changing accidents if things go awry. A recent documentary, David Holmes: TheBoy Who Lived, produced by Daniel Radcliffe, examines the life of a Harry Potter stunt double who was left paralyzed following a spine injury incurred during the filming of the penultimate film in the series.

Another tragedy in October 2021 highlights potential dangers on set, even for those not directly involved in stunts. During rehearsals for the movie Rust, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot, and director Joel Souza was injured when a live round was unintentionally loaded into a prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin. Legal cases against Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are still pending.