All production for superhero sequel Deadpool 2 has come to an immediate end following the tragic death of a rookie stuntwoman on set.
The latest reports provide some insight as to how the fatal incident occurred and identify the deceased as Joi “SJ” Harris, the first Black female professional road racer. Here’s what we know about Harris’ life outside of Deadpool 2 and how she died in the midst of filming a dangerous stunt.
1 Deadpool 2 was Harris’ first time performing as a stuntwoman for a film. While the professional racer had an insurmountable amount of experience on the road, Deadpool 2 was the first and only time she would take her unique training to the set of a movie.
2 Harris was reportedly doing stunts for the character “Domino” at the time of her death. Domino is a former mercenary who joins the X-Men and has the ability to manipulate luck. In the film, Domino will be played by Atlanta actress Zazie Beatz.
3 Harris was not wearing a helmet. According to reports, Harris wasn’t wearing any protective headgear during the sequence that killed her because her character Domino did not wear any in the scene.
4 Harris reportedly lost control of the motorcycle. An eyewitness told Deadline that, “On the last take, the bike seemed to accelerate when it was supposed to slow as she took the corner.” Harris crashed through a plate-glass window at Shaw Tower on West Waterfront Road near Jack Poole Plaza in Vancouver.
5 A crew member reportedly told Deadline they’ve been working multiple 16-hour days in a row and people had become “exhausted” due to the schedule. “That, however, is disputed by a studio production source, who said the daily shooting schedule on the Vancouver set is 12-13 hours, and there were only two 15-plus-hour days, about three weeks ago,” the site adds.
1 She called NYC “home.” According to her Facebook profile, Harris was from Brooklyn.
2 She died a legend. Per Harris’ website, she was “the first licensed African American woman in U.S. history to actively compete in sanctioned motorcycle road racing events.”
3 She trained non-stop to get to legend status. The Sun reports Harris underwent thousands of hours of training in 2013 to become eligible to compete in the American Motorcycle Association races. She was reportedly forced to wait until 2014 to compete after she was injured by an “on-track crash” while training.
4 This was her first-ever race crash.
5 Harris, whose nickname was SJ Sidewayz, was an advocate for female races. She once spoke to Eat Sleep Ride about being a woman in a male-dominated sport, saying: “It feels like we have so far to go, simply because we can’t change who we are. We women can be amazing at this sport and we might go further if we just stop thinking so much. To me, this sport is about knowing and executing; there is no time to think. It may sound funny, but that may be the very reason why guys tend to be so much better at it in some aspects. Men just go and do it, but us women think about things and analyze everything. After several crashes on my short time racing the one thing that remains the same is the response from the men…they won’t say it but it’s simply harder to see a girl crash as hard as a man did in a race.”
6 It was never Harris’ dream to race. Back in 2015, she reportedly told Black Girls Ride magazine that growing up, she “never dreamt of racing, but this was my reality. I didn’t know much about bikes back then.”
7 Harris was an inspiration to many. Black Girls Ride magazine had this to say about her untimely death: “SJ was an inspiration to all women who could see themselves on the track, in leather, and leaning SIDEWAYZ into the turn. She showed us what we looked like, and inspired others to test their limits. She raced alongside the men, often leading the pack and giving them a run for their money. Every time she crashed, my heart skipped a beat. But deep down, I knew this was who she was. Racing was where she found her joy.”
See some photos of the late SJ Sidewayz just above. May she rest in peace.