Yesterday it was reported that a stunt performer was tragically killed on the set of Deadpool 2 while performing a stunt on a motorcycle. The identity of the woman has now been revealed to be Joi “SJ” Harris, who is known for being the first African-American female professional road racer. Deadpool 2 was her first movie as a stunt performer.
The news comes courtesy of Deadline who also reveal that production on Deadpool 2 has been shut down indefinitely following the fatal incident. Vancouver Police are currently conducting an investigation. Joi Harris had been riding motorcycles since 2013 and had more than 1,500 hours of practice under her belt prior to the incident. She started competing in the American Sportbike Racing Association/Championship Cup Series in 2014 and was an advocate for female racing. Here’s some of what she had to say on her official website.
“I’ve learned to accept that I am not the greatest rider that exists and that there is always something to learn when on track and pushing limits. Sometimes I’m going to eat it if I’m impatient. Everything takes time. Face your fears, you never know what you can be missing out on.”
According to Deadline’s report, witnesses said that Joi Harris lost control of her motorcycle and crashed through a plate-glass window at Shaw Tower in Vancouver while filming the stunt for Deadpool 2. She was playing the Character of Domino in the scene, who is being played by Zazie Beetz in the movie. Harris had reportedly been rehearsing the stunt in question all day on Saturday, with a studio source saying she had “two full days of rehearsals over the weekend, and on Monday, they ran the stunt five-plus times before filming.” According to an eyewitness who spoke to Deadline, the motorcycle appeared to speed up when it was supposed to slow down as she took a corner. Harris was not wearing a helmet during filming as Domino was not wearing one in the movie. Deadpool 2 director David Leitch had this to say in a statement about the incident.
“I’m deeply saddened by the loss of one of our stunt performers today. No words can express how I and the rest of the Deadpool 2 crew feel about this tragedy. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and loved ones in this difficult time.”
One source from the production spoke to Deadline and said that the entire crew had been working very long hours, including weekends, and that “people are exhausted by the schedule.” A representative from the studio says that the hours are 12-13 hour days, with two days that went 15 hours or more. The member of the crew claims that they worked multiple 16-hour days in a row at one point.
It is unclear if these allegedly long hours had any effect on this tragedy, but the entire situation is sure to be looked over very carefully. This comes just weeks after stunt performer John Bernecker suffered massive head injuries on the set of The Walking Dead which resulted in his death. Prior to that, it had been more than 17 years since someone had died while filming a stunt in the U.S.
Ryan Reynolds also issued a statement, saying that he is “devastated” by the death of Joi Harris. Deadpool 2 is currently slated for release on June 1, 2018, but with the production delay indefinite, it is unclear if this will have any effect on that moving forward. We will be sure to keep you up to date as more information on the incident is made available.