Stunt work is hazardous, and those who perform it deserve all the praise in the world for willingly putting themselves in risk for our amusement. The lack of an Academy Award for stunt performers at this late date is completely incomprehensible. To slightly speed up the heartbeat of an audience, stunt performers fight, are hoisted by cables, jump off of buildings, set themselves on fire, smash cars, fall off motorcycles, and tumble down stairs. While most stunts are designed and executed with the utmost care to cause the most damage to a vehicle while causing the least amount of harm to the drivers’ bodies, stunt performers nevertheless frequently suffer injuries as a result of their line of work.
While it would seem that the studios who hire stunt performers would provide the best medical care and insurance coverage, this isn’t always the case. In the 2016 movie “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” by Paul W.S. Anderson, the sixth instalment of a series based on a well-known video game franchise, a stunt performer was not only seriously hurt but also struggled to get support from the production while she was in the hospital. Olivia Jackson, the stuntwoman in question, crashed a motorcycle, fractured her left arm’s bone, and suffered other injuries as a result of a poorly planned camera movement. She would eventually need to have an amputation.
The main focus of “The Final Chapter,” a post-apocalyptic zombie film with a lengthy and intricate narrative, is fending against zombies and corporate mercenaries. Jackson, a South African stunt performer, stood in for Milla Jovovich’s character Alice. In a 2019 Hollywood Reporter article, she discussed the stunt. Jackson performed what she described as a “dangerous and technically complex motorcycle scenario in poor weather” on the day in question despite originally being requested to perform a fight scene. Jackson performed the feat by riding a motorcycle at high speed straight at a camera that was mounted on a crane. Jackson was supposed to zoom by as the camera was supposed to raise out of the way.
Not at all.
Jackson struck the camera directly. Her wounds were really serious. The camera “slicing through the bone of her forearm and shredding the flesh off her cheek, leaving her teeth exposed and slashing her face,” according to a complaint about Jackson’s crash. She also experienced some cerebral haemorrhage and many spinal fractures. She was taken to the hospital right away, put into a 17-day medically induced coma, and had her left arm amputated during that time.
Jackson’s complaint also details how the production team for the movie misled her by claiming that any injuries she experienced while acting would be covered by the movie’s insurance. Jackson later discovered that this was a falsehood and that the production’s obligation did not apply to her. Only $33,000 was given to her to pay for medical expenses. Jackson’s spouse was also misled since he was informed that the production would cover all expenses for repairs and rehabilitation while Jackson was unconscious. Not at all.
Jackson filed a lawsuit against the studio for the harm and for not covering all of her medical costs. Bolt Pictures, its two executives Tannhauser Gate and Jeremy Bolt, and director Paul W.S. Anderson were all defendants in the lawsuit. In the end, it was discovered that Anderson had planned to slightly alter the camera angle between the practise and the final shot, resulting in an unanticipated camera movement and Jackson’s injuries.
Jackson claimed that her career had been destroyed and that she would no longer be appearing in “Wonder Woman.” She had already performed stunts for the movies “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and she booked “Resident Evil” in between other jobs. Jackson was reportedly awarded an undisclosed sum of money in damages after winning her case in a South African court for the Cape Town-filmed movie “The Final Chapter” in 2020, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The American court had dismissed the case in November of the previous year.
On “The Final Chapter” set, Jackson wasn’t the only accident victim. Another event that happened on the movie set claimed the life of Ricardo Cornelius, a crew member. In that occasion, Cornelius was crushed when an army-issued Hummer overturned and fell on him. After being taken to the hospital, he passed away. The presentation, according to Cornelius’ widow, appropriately covered the topic of compensation, but was frustratingly vague when it came to the specifics of her husband’s accident.
The reboot “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City” would carry on the “Resident Evil” series. In 2020, Anderson would go on to helm “Monster Hunter,” a video game adaption. The praise and payment due to stunt performers is still lacking.