Paramount just weighed in with me to say that the injured extra was not involved in the stunt, that her car was not involved in the stunt, that a “freak accident caused her injury”, that she and her car were more than 500 feet from the stunt, that she was struck by a flying metal object whose welding had come apart and not by a steel towing cable, that the stunt from Tuesday had to be repeated Wednesday because of a “timing issue” and not because it had failed, and that “nobody has done movies more safely than Michael Bay”.
The studio, however, could not explain why its version of events was so at odds with the local police and media reports. “We feel horrible that anyone was injured and will take all appropriate action,” a Paramount exec told me.
9:30 AM: Safety questions on Michael Bay’s set are being forwarded to me after an actress employed as a movie extra was “critically” injured during a Transformers 3 stunt that went wrong in Northwest Indiana. According to news reports quoting local police, the movie was filming a stunt involving multiple vehicles and drivers and flying cars when a metal object struck Gabriella Cedillo’s personal 2006 Toyota.
It went through the windshield and hit the 24-year-old driver who was not a stunt professional or member of the stunt personnel. The Toyota hit the inner median concrete barrier wall and had extensive damage to the driver’s side. UPDATE: WLS-TV reports a similar tow-rig setup broke the day before.
Cedillo was airlifted to the hospital with a serious head injury. News reports quoted another extra as saying that Cedillo’s Toyota was being towed by a second vehicle and that the steel cable between the two vehicles broke, then whipped around, and sliced through the woman’s car and cut her head.
Sources on the Indiana set told media outlets that extras like Cedillo were paid $25 for the use of their personal cars. I received this email from a confidential informant: “An extra doing stunts in her own car with a tow rig? Holy shit is somebody’s head gonna roll over this one. SO many things against industry standards, don’t know where to start! Bay should be starting to sweat right about now. 30yrs of motion pictures and never seen stunts fuck up this bad.”