A stuntman working on Fast & Furious 9 suffered a major injury while filming a scene in London, causing a temporary halt in production. Joe Watts was filming with the movie's second unit team at Leavesden Studios at the time of the injury. Watts has since been put in an induced coma. According to his fiance, Tilly Powell, Watts is now in stable condition, though the injury is considered serious.
Per several reports, Joe Watts fell from an elevated set that is said to have been approximately 20 feet off the ground. It's said that the incident took place when Watts jumped from a balcony attached to a safety wire. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and placed in a medically induced coma. Watts is an incredibly experienced stuntman, with an impressive list of credits that includes Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Game of Thrones, Kingsman: The Golden Circle and The Hitman's Bodyguard. Universal Pictures has this to say in a statement following the incident.
"We had an injury on the set of Fast 9 today in Leavesden with one of our stuntmen. We have halted production for the day to focus on this situation."
Production is said to have resumed already, meaning the delay was relatively minor. Local police were dispatched to the scene shortly after the injury occurred. It was initially reported that Joe Watts was serving as Vin Diesel's stunt double, but more recent reports have stated that wasn't the case. A spokesman for East of England Ambulance Service had this to say in a statement to the Daily Mail.
"An ambulance, three ambulance officer vehicles and Essex and Herts Air Ambulance were called to Leavesden Studios shortly before midday today, following reports of a man injured in a fall. One patient with a serious head injury was transported to the Royal London Hospital by air ambulance."
This incident comes not long after Warren Appleby, a veteran special effects coordinator who had been working in the industry for some time, died following an accident while filming the DC series Titans. There's also the case of John Bernecker, a stuntman who died while filming an episode of AMC's The Walking Dead in 2017. Also in 2017, Joi "SJ" Harris died while performing a dangerous motorcycle stunt on the set of Deadpool 2. Despite excessive safety precautions studios take when it comes to effects-heavy productions, tragedies such as these continue to occur.
Fast and Furious 9 kicked off production in June, under the direction of Justin Lin, who helmed four previous entries in the long-running and wildly popular franchise. To date, the previous eight movies have earned a combined $5.1 billion at the global box office, making it one of the biggest franchises in the modern era. The first spin-off in the series, Hobbs & Shaw, which stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, is set to arrive in theaters in August. This news was previously reported by Deadline.