A survivor of the Baja California accident that claimed the lives of actors Raymundo Garduño Cruz and Juan Francisco González from the Netflix series “The Chosen One” says he doesn’t blame the van driver or the production company. But actor Yeray Albelda says it’s the norm that “people are exhausted” in many productions.
The Mexican actors union ANDA also held a remote press conference Tuesday to weigh in on the fatal crash.
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In an interview with Variety, Albelda, one of the six survivors of the crash, said he was told that a mechanical failure might have caused it. Others, he was told, have speculated that the driver was trying to avoid a pothole or even a deer. No official report has been filed yet.
“For sure, long days and nights are the norm in most productions, people are exhausted,” Abelda said.
Sources close to the production have confirmed that filming has resumed.
Albelda does not recall the actual crash. The actors were on their way to catch an early flight home to Tijuana for a break when the van they were in veered off the road and flipped over. He only remembers gaining consciousness in an ambulance. “I was told that I answered questions but don’t recall doing that,” said Albelda, who suffered a concussion and collarbone and shoulder fractures. Albelda said line producer Rolf Helbig was by his side the whole time as he was transported to a major hospital in the city of La Paz.
Albelda, who plays a miner in the series, remembers that the van driver was new. He says that he hadn’t noticed anything unusual about the van’s condition. “I made my statement to the police and I don’t blame the driver or the production,” he said, adding that the driver remains in custody while the investigation continues.
Of Garduño and Gonzalez, he knows that they had supporting roles and that they still had scenes to complete.
In a remote conference call with the media, Alejandro Calva, the labor secretary of actor’s union ANDA noted that the two actors killed were non-union members. “But we are following the case closely, they were important cultural figures in our country,” he said. Two ANDA members were injured in the accident, Cristina Martinez and Alaide Peñaloza, he said, adding that Martinez remains in the hospital with more serious injuries but is stable. The production has been covering all the costs related to the accident, he noted. “Redrum is one of the most important production companies in Mexico, working with above average budgets,” he noted.
Redrum, founded by Stacy Perskie and Adrian Grunberg, has long been one of the key production companies in Mexico, having provided production services to titles including “Narcos: Mexico,” Apple TV Plus’ “The Mosquito Coast,” “Elysium,” “Blade Runner 2049” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” This is not the first fatal incident for the company. In 2017, location scout Carlos Muñoz Portal was shot and killed while scouting for “Narcos: Mexico” in a remote area.
“It’s important that the Mexican entertainment industry have unions for all its sectors” said Calva. “We are calling for more stringent safety protocols to be followed and hope that this tragic event will bring some real change,” he added.
“The Chosen One” is an adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic book series “American Jesus” about a 12-year-old boy who, after a freak vehicular accident, discovers he is the reincarnation of Jesus and is destined to save mankind.
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