by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Amid the largely left-of-center entertainment tidbits featured in The Hollywood Reporter, the following story stands out.
In the days leading up to the Deadpool 2 motorcycle stunt that killed racer S.J. Harris on Aug. 14 in Vancouver, the crew was said to be growing increasingly agitated and nervous about the potential for something to go wrong.
The 20th Century Fox sequel’s producers had been exerting pressure to have the 40-year-old Harris, who had raced professionally but had never worked on a film, perform that day’s stunt because, as an African-American, she was a believable stand-in for Zazie Beetz, who portrays Domino in the film. But several crewmembers warned the producers that Harris wasn’t ready, a production source tells The Hollywood Reporter.
“She was improving, but I was watching her and, oh my God, I thought, ‘It’s just a matter of time before she crashes into a wall or runs somebody over,’” says one stunt performer who had been training Harris the day before the crash that killed her. A member of the stunt team alerted the movie’s producers to these concerns but was ignored, according to the source who trained Harris.
From a technical perspective, the stunt was relatively straightforward. It called for a rider sitting astride a Ducati 939 Hyperstrada motorcycle to exit a building, descend a ramp over three small stairs and stop on a nearby landing. For a stunt professional, it would have been a cinch. But Harris had never even been on a film shoot before.