While shooting a scene in Fast And Furious 9, stuntman Joe Watts suffered skull fracture and brain damage after a 26-foot fall on hard concrete
The Fast and Furious franchise is a heavy hitter where box office is concerned. This franchise universe has spawned 11 movies already (Hobbs & Shaw included). Makers of F9: The Fast Saga, FF9 Pictures, has been fined USD 1 Mil by Britain’s Health And Safety Executives in favour of a stuntman who suffered a life-threatening injury while filming in UK.
Fast And Furious 9 Makers Fined USD 1 Mil
What started off as a movie franchise revolving around street racing in LA, soon evolved into international border-crossings, high-stake heists, internal espionage, anti-terrorist retaliations, national and international security threats interception, meddling with nuclear powers, stabilizing world orders, and everything else along the way they could possibly cram into its storyline.
With exhilarating narratives like these, there arises a necessity for action-packed sequences in said movies that are usually done by talented and daring stuntmen. One such stuntman is Joe Watts who was working with production company, FF9 Pictures, shooting F9: The Fast Saga in Leavesden, England, in July of 2019.
While shooting a scene, Joe Watts is thrown off a balcony by another performer. This stunt went fine during the first take. During re-shoot, Joe Watts’ stunt line detached when he was thrown off said balcony and he fell 8 meters (26 feet) onto hard concrete. During this incident, Joe Watts missed the crash mat below and suffered a skull fracture and brain damage.
According to prosecution, Joe Watts is lucky to be alive. Said stunt line was not double-checked for proper engagement and tightening between takes, leading to detachment during shooting. FF9 Pictures was also prosecuted for not extending the crash mat below to cover a wider area to foresee unfortunate mishaps and mitigate consequences of an unintended fall.
Stuntman Joe Watts Awarded USD 1 Mil
This incident also sheds light on working conditions of stuntmen and body doubles in the movie industry. These are the people who fill an action movie with action. It would have been humanitarian for the studio if they had monetarily rewarded Joe Watts ASAP, instead of extending it for three years and fighting lawsuits along the way.
According to estimates, F9: The Fast Saga has earned around USD 726 Mil worldwide. The USD 1 Mil (approx Rs. 8.33 Crore) fine awarded in favour of Joe Watts accounts for less than 0.15% of the total collection from that movie. After F9: The Fast Saga, we got Fast X in 2023, which was regarded as the final instalment of this saga.
Surprisingly, there will be more of the Fast franchise in future as confirmed by various lead actors within this franchise. Fast and Furious movie franchise has made a significant impact on the world’s entertainment industry and its viewers alike. Tokyo Drift is my personal favourite among the lot as it has less than a minute of screentime for character Dominic Toretto and 0 screentime for his family.