Advertisement

‘Deadpool 2’ stuntman offers new details on Joi Harris tragedy

A police officer examines a motorcycle after a female stunt driver working on the movie "Deadpool 2" died after a crash on set, in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday August 14, 2017.
A police officer examines a motorcycle after a female stunt driver working on the movie "Deadpool 2" died after a crash on set, in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday August 14, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

After a stunt-gone-wrong took the life of professional motorcycle racer Joi “SJ” Harris on the set of Deadpool 2, a voice has emerged with new details surrounding the tragedy.

Emerson Wong, who also performed stunts for the upcoming sequel, tells ET Canada exclusively that the original stunt double for actress Zazie Beetz was unavailable, and that Harris was brought in days before. He said that this was her first time ever performing stunt work on a film.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: ‘Deadpool 2’ actress Zazie Beetz remembers stunt driver Joi ‘SJ’ Harris: ‘My heart is breaking’

“She was kind of brought in as a last minute backup,” Wong says, who was not working during Monday’s tragedy and did not meet Harris. “She is a professional motorcycle rider in the racing world, but because it was her first stunt job, perhaps it could’ve been because she was a bit nervous.”

Even though this was Harris’ first take as a stunt performer, Wong says she was a natural choice, since she had years of experience as a motorcycle racer.

READ MORE: Ryan Reynolds led moment of silence for stunt woman who died before filming resumed on ‘Deadpool 2’

He explains, “When they don’t have someone they need from the stunt world, they go outside and find someone from the professional world of that sport, and that’s usually how they start their careers.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Hollywood Reporter writes that sources in the stunt community believe Harris was hired not because of her experience, but because her skin tone was a close match to Beetz – a balance Wong says the stunt coordinator and director work to strike.

“The stunt coordinator will say, ‘Skill first,’ and the director will say, ‘I want the person to look as close as possible,’” he explains. “At the end of the day, the stunt coordinator is the boss who says ‘this is the person that’s the closest you can get, and this is what we have to work with.’”

READ MORE: Tom Cruise’s on-set injury shuts down ‘M:I 6- Mission Impossible’ production

An investigation into the accident is ongoing, but Wong maintains that the set of Deadpool 2 was “absolutely professional.” Wong adds: “Everyone there is top-notch. When I worked on there, everyone is just at the top of their game, so I know that the safety is paramount there.”

Wong has been a stunt performer in the industry for 15 years and owns a well-known martial arts and training studio, Pulse Academy, in Toronto.

Sponsored content