We’ve all heard of the phrase "occupational hazard," but what happens when hazards are the focal point of your occupation? Even with the advances in CGI and visual effects over the last few decades, stunt workers remain a necessary, and underappreciated, aspect of filming the action sequences we take for granted. And unfortunately, every so often tragedy befalls these unsung workers
According to The Sun, stuntwoman Olivia Jackson was involved in a serious motorcycle accident on the set of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter that has left her in a coma. The stunt was fairly run of the mill by her profession’s standards, but when a mechanical arm with a camera attached to it failed to lift up, Jackson slammed into the machinery while riding a motorcycle. Due to the nature of the scene she had no protective headgear on, and suffered severe injuries leading to her coma. Jackson has a long resume of work on prominent franchises ranging from Mad Max: Fury Road to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Jackson’s husband issued a statement on his Facebook page, updating concerned parties on her condition:
Stunt workers have one of the most consistently dangerous – yet also consistently under recognized – professions in the film industry. The nature of their job requires them to constantly put themselves in harm’s way whilst pretending to be their film’s headlining actor. We constantly praise men like Tom Cruise for actually hanging off the side of a jet as it takes off, without ever consider that there are people in Hollywood who constantly perform stunts like that as the primary function of their jobs.
Although Jackson herself is said to be making progress, and could very well fully recover from her injuries, many others have not been so lucky. Stuntmen on films like G.I. Joe, The Expendables 2, and even The Hangover Part 2 have been unceremoniously injured or killed in the name of their craft. Stunt work requires a great deal of skill to accomplish successfully, but they lack recognition at many prominent awards ceremonies such as the Oscars. This issue has not gone unnoticed; as actor Jason Statham has been extremely vocal in recent years that stunt workers deserve a much louder voice in Hollywood.
All of us here at Cinema Blend wish Olivia Jackson a speedy and successful recovery, as well as hope that this incident shines a light on the need to recognize the contributions of stunt performers to the cinematic arts.