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Stunt Work Can End in Injury on Movie Sets

Stunt Work Can End in Injury on Movie Sets Georgia has increasingly become a hub for television and film production. With that infusion into the state’s economy comes all the perks and downfalls of the entertainment industry. One of those downfalls is actors and production members being put at risk for getting hurt while working on set or on location.

Stunt performers are an essential part of creating any film with action scenes, of which there are many these days. Even movies or TV shows classified as a comedy or romance can have elements of danger. It only takes one fall off a moving horse to become paralyzed in a film and TV production accident. Today, we review some of the injuries stunt actors have experienced in well-known productions.

The Expendables 2

There were two reported injuries packed into one explosive incident while shooting The Expendables 2. One stuntman, Nuo Sun, was left injured. The man who survived sued Millennium Films for negligence in setting up the explosions in a scene involving a rubber boat. Along with mental, physical, and nervous pain and suffering, he suffered potentially permanent injuries to his head, neck, arms, legs and nervous system.

The family of the other stuntman, Kun Liu, filed suit for the wrongful death of their son, who was fatally injured in the same scene. The lawsuit against Millennium Films and the stunt coordinator ended in an award of just over $23,000, prompting Jet Li, the actor Liu was doubling for, to give the stunt actor’s family more than $800,000 out of his own pocket.


Retired Navy SEAL turned stuntman, Harry O’Connor, died from a broken neck while stunt-doubling for Vin Diesel on the set of xXx. While parasailing, O’Connor crashed headfirst into a pillar of the Palacky Bridge. The first take was fine, but the director wanted to try again, and the end result was O’Connor’s tragic death.

Top Gun

While filming the popular movie Top Gun, well known stunt pilot Art Scholl lost control of the plane while filming in an upside-down spin that resulted in a crash into the Pacific Ocean. Sadly, Scholl lost his life in the crash, and his body was never recovered.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Gabriella Cedillo, a 24-year-old actress who served as a background actor (or extra) on the set of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, became involved in an action scene that left her permanently injured. Cedillo became the victim of a traumatic brain injury when she was struck by a cable that snapped while pulling another vehicle, breaking through her windshield hitting her in the head. It was later discovered that the crew improperly welded a bracket that failed and that the stunt failed the day before she was injured.

A lawsuit filed against Paramount Studios helped to protect Cedillo, who will need lifetime care after the company would only agree to cover her current medical bills. A settlement of $18.5 million was finally reached.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

While filming Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Milla Jovovich’s stunt double Olivia Jackson hit a crane-mounted camera while going full speed on a motorcycle. The camera was moving toward her as she approached it and was supposed to be lifted in time to avoid a collision, but the procedure failed. The scene involved a last-minute change performed in bad weather. Her injuries were severe causing her to suffer serious injuries including an amputated arm, crushed facial bones, a severed neck artery, broken ribs and clavicle and nerve damage. Jackson was in a medically induced coma for 17 days.

The list of defendants in the lawsuit that followed was long, including the production company, stunt coordinator, stunt company, film driver, boom operator and stunt vehicle company.

Working in the Georgia TV and film industry can be exciting but dangerous. The more opportunity there is to jumpstart an entertainment career in the Peach State means the more risk you’re likely to experience to make it happen. You need to protect yourself if you become injured by protecting your legal rights.

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The Atlanta film and television production injury attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP help entertainment industry clients pursue financial awards to help them get back on their feet when they’ve been hurt. Schedule your free case evaluation today by calling our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or by reaching out to us through our contact page.


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