Bondage Safety On The Set

It sounds like the producers of Dexter need — and I’ll betcha they very suddenly developed — better safety procedures for filming bondage scenes. Here’s the story from the Daily Star:

A TV stuntman is lucky to be alive after actor Jimmy Smits stabbed him for real during a fight scene for TV show Dexter.

Smits grabbed a real knife instead of a prop knife during shooting and plunged it into action man Jeff Chase.

Chase was only saved by a piece of plastic placed over his heart – which Smits miraculously hit.

He says, “For the scene, I was bound in Saran Wrap, duct tape over my mouth. I couldn’t say a thing as I saw Jimmy grab at the knife. He picked up the real one by pure mistake. It was a mean looking knife.

“I heard fellow actor Michael C. Hall yelling at Jimmy to stop – but it was too late. I felt the thud in my chest. I didn’t have on a metal breast plate like a lot of actors do in a scene like that.

“Instead I had a piece of acrylic clear plastic about the size of a Post-it note over my heart. It was a quarter of an inch thick. In eight out of 10 takes with the prop knife, Jimmy had missed the plastic. But by a miracle, an act of God, the knife landed at the very edge of the plastic.

“I really thought I’d been stabbed in the heart, but I didn’t have a scratch. Jimmy was devastated and couldn’t stop apologising. I told him, I felt more sorry for him than me.”

First of all, the stuntman didn’t have a safety signal / safeword? A handful of marbles? Nothing?

To be fair, it does sound like things happened very fast. Which is the other point. Who the heck approved laying the “live” knife right beside the prop knife so that it was even possible for Smits to grab the wrong one? You issue that thing to a production assistant (aka “flunky”) with strict instructions to keep it safely out of the way until whatever scene it’s needed for, to be handed over only when the person directing the shoot so orders.

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2 comments on “Bondage Safety On The Set”:

HouseWench commented on October 4th, 2008 at 1:36 pm:

As I recall, this was exactly Brandon Lee’s problem. Movie people seem to pick up slowly on stuff like safety.

UnusualDelight commented on October 17th, 2008 at 8:04 am:

As time goes by, it seems that more and more movies and tv shows are having examples of some form of bondage. It’s nice to see that it doesn’t affect popular understanding negatively.
Take this upcoming movie “The Unborn”
If you watch the trailer that you can find with an easy google search, you will see something bondage related at 1:50

Open Mouth ring gag while tied down to a medical bed. Granted, this is during an exorcism, but still unusually bondage-like.

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