According to the report, the safety wire’s malfunction was due to a deviation from the way the stunt was rehearsed. There was no indication as to why the parameters of the stunt were changed or who demanded that changes be made, but the company, FF9, was said to be responsible. Watts’ injuries were said to be “life-changing”; he hasn’t been able to work since the accident. His legal brief also said “if he is able to work, he will suffer a permanent handicap on the labour market.”
In their statement, FF9 said:
“It is admitted that the sole cause of the accident was the negligence of [FF9 Pictures Limited] its servants or agents or those for whom it is vicariously liable. […] Liability is therefore admitted in full and it is accordingly admitted that [Watts] is entitled to such damages as the court may assess or as the parties may agree.”
Speaking with Variety, Watts was grateful for the decision. It took four years, but he was happy to hear the studio take the blame for his injuries and help pay for his bills, therapy, and a lost lifetime of stunt work. His statement reads as follows:
“It’s been almost four years since the accident, and during that time I’ve worked incredibly hard on my recovery. I know I’ll never get back to performing, which still upsets me, but I’m determined to get my life back on track as best I can. I’m therefore grateful that FF9 Limited has admitted liability and now call on the film industry to make their sets safer for those working on it. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone.”
In the same week that the Oscars are reportedly discussing including a category for stunts at the awards ceremony, we want to reiterate Watts’ demand: Please protect stunt performers.