Amazon Denies Claims of Unsafe Conditions for Stunt Performers on Lord of the Rings Set

Lord of the Rings Amazon

New Line Cinema

Amazon is denying reports that the set of the new Lord of the Rings series is unsafe after several stunt performers reportedly suffered injuries while shooting in New Zealand.

Last week, the New Zealand Herald published an article claiming “at least three” stunt workers had been seriously injured while working on the upcoming TV series – with two of the injuries requiring surgery. According to the outlet, Amazon failed to “proactively report” the incidents to WorkSafe, New Zealand’s workplace health and safety regulator.

In a statement to Variety, Amazon Studios insisted that their safety protocols are in compliance with WorkSafe and New Zealand governmental standards.

“Amazon Studios takes the health, physical and emotional welfare of our cast and crew extremely seriously,” a spokesperson for the company said. “As a top priority, the production team continues to be in full compliance with the mandated WorkSafe New Zealand Safety and Security government regulations. Any allegation or report that activities on set are unsafe or outside of regulations are completely inaccurate.”

The NZ Herald had cited an injury sustained by stunt performer Dayna Grant, who has worked on films like Mad Max: Fury Road and Wonder Woman 1984. According to the outlet, Grant suffered a head injury in March which was not reported to WorkSafe, and was later diagnosed with a 8mm brain aneurysm and an injury to her upper spine. Grant is currently in need of emergency brain surgery, reported the publication.

However, a source close to the production of Lord of the Rings told Variety that Grant’s head injury was determined to be a “mild concussion” at the time, which is not a “notifiable event” by WorkSafe’s regulations. She was even cleared to return to work, said the source, and it wasn’t until June that Grant was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm.

In a separate incident, stunt performer Elissa Cadwell reportedly received $500,000 from Amazon after suffering a serious injury on set in February 2020.

Variety’s source said that risk analysis is performed for every stunt on the the Lord of the Rings series, resulting in an injury rate of .068 percent – mostly consisting of “sprains, bruises and muscle and soft tissue strains.”

Amazon is spending $465 million to produce the first season of Lord of the Rings – making it one of the most expensive TV shows of all time.

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