Game of Thrones stunt performer Casey Michaels is suing the series creators after she was injured during production on the show. Variety reports that Michaels was working on the final season of Game of Thrones in February 2018 when she experienced a "serious fracture dislocation to her left ankle," according to court documents.
The injury occurred while Michaels was filming a Battle of Winterfell scene in Season 8, Episode 3, "The Long Night." Dressed as a Wight, one of the zombies controlled by White Walkers, Michaels filmed a scene in which the Wights climb up onto a sloped roof and walk off the edge, continuing their fight on the ground. According to court documents obtained by Variety, 28 stunt performers were instructed to walk off the 12-foot-high roof "as if unaware of the drop, in keeping with the zombie-like nature of the Wights," where they would fall into a box rig filled with cardboard and mats.
Michaels' claim alleges, “By their nature, however, the cardboard boxes are not durable and become damaged as each stunt performer lands on the box rig and also as each stunt performer climbs off of the box rig after landing.”
In a claim filed in January 2021, Michaels sued Fire & Blood Productions, the HBO-owned UK subsidiary for the series, for almost $5 million in damages. It is still unknown whether the two parties will settle, but if not, the case will most likely be heard in front of a judge sometime in the summer.
Fire & Blood Productions have denied Michaels' claim about the cardboard boxes, saying the box rig was “durable and was not compressed when a stunt performer stepped off onto the mattress and rolled away.” The company also said Michaels did not walk off the roof as instructed by the stunt coordinator but instead walked off “like a pencil, in a rigid or vertical manner.” They alleged that the injury was “caused either by the Claimant’s failure to execute the pleaded stunt properly and/or with the skill and care of a reasonably competent stunt performer or by pure accident.”
All seasons of Game of Thrones are currently streaming on HBO Max.
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Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.