Filming on the set of the movie “Transformers 3” came to a halt on Wednesday when a cable apparently snapped, whipping through the windshield of a car driven by extra Gabriela Cedillo and injuring her head. Fox News reports that she remains in the hospital after undergoing brain surgery, and is currently in a medically induced coma.
Cedillo’s accident, even though she was not a stunt double, highlights an ongoing concern. Stunt teams in movies have been experiencing an increasing rate of serious injury, sometimes resulting in death, due to the higher levels of daring expected in stunts in films today.
In 2002, Harry L. O’Connor, a stunt double for actor Vin Diesel in the movie “XXX,” died when he failed to rappel down a line quickly enough to safely land on a submarine. He instead hit a bridge and was killed instantly. His death isn’t unique in the last few years, as stuntmen have been killed on the set of “Troy,” “Top Gun,” and even performances of the “Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular” at Walt Disney World in Florida.
But Cedillo was an extra, not part of the stunt team for the movie. The car that she was “driving” was actually being pulled by another car using the cable that snapped and caused her injury. Theoretically, then, she should have been in no danger. But injury to someone on set who isn’t part of the stunt team isn’t new either.
In 1983, actors Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le, and Renee Shin-Yi Chen were all killed during “The Twilight Zone” when a helicopter flew too low during the filming of a scene and crashed. And, in perhaps an equally infamous incident, actor Brandon Lee was killed on the set of “The Crow” in 1994 when a gun that was supposed to be shooting a blank at him had a piece of ammo in the barrel already.
Sometimes these accidents result in changes to legislation regarding movie-making. The accident on “The Twilight Zone” changed some of the rules regarding both child actors and special effects scenes. Workplace investigators for the state of Indiana, where “Transformers 3” was filming, are looking into Cedillo’s accident. While it is unlikely that her injury will affect whether or not the public goes to see the film, it could affect how Hollywood has to stage its stunts.
FoxNews.com, “Movie Extra in Coma After Accident Filming Transformers 3.”
AceShowbiz.com, “Transformers 3 Extra Undergoes Brain Surgery After Accident On the Set.”
Gracie Murano, “9 Worst Movie Set Disasters.” Oddee.com
PopCrunch.com, “15 Movie Stunts Gone Horribly Wrong.”