A former stunt person who worked on the upcoming Lord Of The Rings TV has branded the show’s set an unsafe place to work. The comments follow reports of a number of injuries, including a reported brain injury for one member of the crew.
Amazon’s Lord Of The Ring’s TV series has been in production for some time. It is estimated to be the most expensive TV show ever produced. It would seem the team is trying to save some pennies in the way it handles safety on set though.
There have been three separate reports of injuries so far, with one stunt person having outright left the role due his concerns over safety. Based on the reports from staff on set, there could be more injuries in the future.
The Lord Of The Rings series is no stranger to injuries. Cast members on the original film trilogy picked up a number of injuries during filming. Orlando Bloom was knocked off a horse, Sean Astin cut his foot pretty badly on glass and Viggo Mortensen famously broke his foot kicking a helmet on screen.
Injuries so far include a concussion, a rotator cuff injury and an unnamed injury which resulted in Amazon paying the performer $500,000. Only one stunt performer has spoken publicly about conditions on set, calling them “so unsafe”. Speaking with The Herald, Thomas Kiwi was so concerned with safety precautions on set that he left.
He details a rotator cuff injury he picked up while performing a backflip stunt. According to the Kiwi, set organisers did not prepare the stunning properly. Not only did the stunt lack a proper wiring setup, but the coordinators didn't walk him through the stunt beforehand.
Popular stung actress Dayna Grant, who portrayed Xena Warrior Princess, picked up a concussion on set, supposedly performing a stunt she was uncomfortable with. The actress has since also found out she requires brain surgery for an aneurysm. There’s no confirmation of a link between the two, as the actress has since gone on to do other work.
Stunt performer Elissa Cadwell picked up a serious injury on set, although there’s confirmation on what the injury was. Amazon gave the performer $500,000, to helping her travel home and settle in Australia. It was not an admission of guilt by the company.
A short statement
A spokesperson for Amazon provided The Herald with a statement: “Amazon Studios takes the health, physical and emotional welfare of our cast and crew extremely seriously. As a top priority, the production team continues to be in full compliance with the mandated WorkSafe NZ Safety and Security government regulations. Any allegation or report that activities on set are unsafe or outside of regulations are completely inaccurate."
Amazon’s statement and the reports of staff and performers onsite seem to tell two very different stories. With filming and production still underway, we could potentially hear more stories in the coming months if conditions don’t improve.