“Transformers 3” Extra Awarded $18.5 Million for On-Set Accident

X Ray, by Flickr user "owen.iverson", licensed via Creative Commons.A young aspiring actress who was disabled permanently in an on-set accident for the movie “Transformers 3” has been awarded $18.5 million in tort.  In 2010, Gabriela Cedillo was acting as an extra in the movie and her particular part was during a stunt scene set on a freeway.  The producers had about 80 extras driving cars (their own cars, actually), with the main filmed action being an elaborate explosion and flinging of props/characters in whatever happens at that moment in the movie.  If you’ve never seen any of the Transformers series, know that explosions and stunts and general shock-and-awe forms the bulk of the plot.  The day before the accident, the filmmakers had tried and failed at the same stunt.  Cedillo’s lawsuit claimed that the day of, shoddy welding had caused a bracket to snap and an extremely taut cable to whip Cedillo’s blue Toyota Scion, pierce right through the frame, and strike Cedillo’s skull.  The accident caused Cedillo to lose a third of her skull and part of the right side of her brain.  She has limited cognitive ability and has lost all movement on the left side of her body.

Along with the failure of the stunt the day before, the lawsuit cited the shoddy welding and a lack of proper permits for the explosives used in the film as a foreseeable cause of the accident.  Despite a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that concluded the accident was just a tragic accident, the lawsuit went on.  Paramount Pictures had previously promised to pay for Cedillo’s hospital bills, but had apparently neglected to actually make payments once the bills came in.  In fact, Cedillo had to go on public aid to get the treatment she needed, and will likely need millions more for the extensive medical bills she’s sure to accrue for the rest of her life.  For comparison, Transformers 3 grossed $1.1 billion, so it’s not like it was a flop and Paramount can’t spare the money for the person’s life they ruined to get that billion.  I mean, I knew they made most of their money by selling tickets to braindead theater-goers, but this is ridiculous.  All right, that joke was a little bit tasteless and insensitive.  Sorry about that.

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