EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of the photos in this story are graphic.
UPDATED with more details, interview with Hickson: Actress Taylor Hickson, who suffered a gruesome facial injury when she crashed through a glass door while filming the indie horror pic Ghostland in Canada, has filed a lawsuit against the film’s production company, Incident Productions.
Hickson, who’d turned 19 just days before the December 2016 accident in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was performing “an emotionally charged scene” in which the director had asked her to pound harder and harder on the door, with her face right next to the glass pane, according to the suit filed Friday with the Queen’s Bench in Winnipeg (read it here).
“In the course of shooting the scene, the director [Pascal Laugier], consistently told [Hickson] to pound harder on the glass with her fists,” the suit states. “At one point during the filming of the scene, and after being asked to increase the strength with which [she] pounded on the glass, [she] asked one of the producers and the director if it was safe to do so. That producer and the director both replied in the affirmative.”
Laugier is not named as a defendant in the suit.
While filming another take, the suit states, “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” and was rushed to the hospital, where she received about 70 stitches.
“The crafts services lady held my face together with napkins in her hands,” Hickson told Deadline. “She went through so many napkins, there was so much blood.”
And the damage, she says, has been lasting. “It’s been mass amounts of insecurity, conflicted, confused, hurt, angry, and sad that this was my last day on set and no precautions were taken.”
Deadline has reached out to the producers for comment but has yet to hear back. The film also is known as Incident in a Ghost Land.
Ironically, key art for the film — which is set for theatrical release next week in France — features the broken and slashed image of a young woman’s face.
“She has since undergone treatment including laser treatment and silicone treatment, but over one year post-incident, has been left with permanent scarring on the left side of her face,” the suit states. “It is unknown at this time if any further treatment, including plastic surgery, would reduce the visual appearance of the injury.”
Hickson, who appeared in Deadpool before the accident, “was a busy, up and coming actor in the very competitive movie industry,” the suit states, but “as a result of the injury, she has lost income [during] the period of time she was unable to act while she recovered from her injury.”
The suit claims that Incident Productions “knew or ought to have known of the dangerous situation” it had placed her in, and that “the injury was reasonably foreseeable and was caused solely by the negligence and/or breach of contract by the defendant in that it failed in exercising the duty of care it owed to the plaintiff.”
She also accuses the company of failing to take “any and all reasonable steps to ensure that industry standards and practices were adhered to, including but not limited to the use of safety glass and/or stunt doubles as appropriate.”
The suit adds: “It is an industry standard within the movie industry that, when shooting a scene such as the scene described herein, either safety glass be used which would, upon shattering, break into pieces which would not result in sharp shards on which an actor could be cut, and/or that a stunt double be used for such a scene. Neither occurred in this case.”
At right is a recent photo of Hickson.
In addition to her physical suffering resulting from the disfiguring injury, the suit states that he also has suffered “mental distress which she continues to struggle with to date.”
The film’s premiere party is set for March 14 in Paris, but Hickson will not be attending. “I never worked so hard on a production in my life, and now it’s a bittersweet way to end this piece of art that we worked so hard on.” She still hopes to reunite with her co-star Emilia Jones, who plays her little sister in the film.
“She and her mom took care of me the night of the incident, after I came out of surgery and went back to the hotel. I look forward to seeing her again. We were looking forward to running around Paris for the premiere, but unfortunately it would be too uncomfortable to attend. Emotionally – uncomfortable for all.”