Canada’s actors union is awaiting news about a grievance it filed against the producers of Ghostland, claiming that their failure to follow the union’s contract contributed to an accident in Winnipeg that left a young actress with a disfiguring facial injury. The incident also is under investigation by Safe Work Manitoba, the local public agency dedicated to workplace safety.
Taylor Hickson suffered a serious injury in December 2016 while performing an emotionally charged scene for the indie horror movie that required her to pound on a glass door. According to a lawsuit she filed last week against production company Incident Productions (read it here), “the glass shattered, causing her head and upper body to fall through the door and shards of glass. As a result of the incident, she badly cut the left side of her face.” Hickson was rushed to the hospital, where she received about 70 stitches.
“We have an ongoing grievance against the production because of the incident,” said Rob Macklin, branch representative ACTRA Manitoba, the Canadian actors union. “When she performed in that scene, she should have been under a risk performance contract, she should have had an option to have a stunt performer in her place, and there should have been a stunt coordinator present. But there was no stunt coordinator present.”
He also said that “there should have been a paramedic present, and there was not.” Instead of a medic, Hickson told Deadline, “The crafts services lady held my face together with napkins in her hands. She went through so many napkins; there was so much blood.”
Said Macklin: “There is a collective-bargaining agreement that prescribes what should have been in place when dangerous things are being done. The producers should have had more safety measures in place to make sure the scene was done safely.”
Macklin said he received an email from the show’s production manager the night of the accident, and he visited the set the next day. “I went to the set and spoke to the production manager and took a look at what had happened and saw the situation.”
The union’s grievance, filed March 7, 2017, “is ongoing,” he said. “To proceed further, we are waiting for Safe Work Manitoba to complete its investigation and release its report. When that comes down, everybody will have a good look at it, and it will be quite interesting. They undertook a thorough investigation.”
The production company could not be reached for comment, but as for the cause of the accident and who’s responsible, Macklin noted: “We are not in agreement.”