A Game of Thrones stuntwoman – who is also Catherine Zeta Jones’ body double – is suing the hit’s makers for £4million after claiming she suffered career-ending injuries in the show’s climax.
Casey Michaels had already made numerous appearances in the fantasy series in action roles and as a stunt double when she was hurt.
She suffered catastrophic leg injuries jumping off a rooftop as part of an attacking undead horde.
Ms Michaels, 32, says the injuries she suffered whilst filming the show in Northern Ireland have ended her stunt career and any hopes she had of moving on to become a stunt coordinator and director.
She is now suing Fire and Blood Productions Ltd, the makers of the hit fantasy series, for over £4m, blaming the company for her injuries and claiming the ‘landing area’ she jumped down into during the stunt was unsafe.
Her claim is mainly made up of lost future earnings due to her stunt career being ruined.
Casey Michaels, 32, suffered catastrophic leg injuries jumping off a rooftop during filming
She was part of an attacking undead horde in the climax of the hit show when disaster struck
But lawyers for Fire and Blood deny any blame and are fighting her claim at London’s High Court.
As well as regular appearances in Game of Thrones Ms Michaels, of Winkfield, Berks, had appeared in dozens of movies and TV series prior to her accident.
She had played stunt roles in several Star Wars films and acted as a body double for stars including Catherine Zeta Jones, Rene Zellweiger and Julianne Moore, as well as enjoying high-adrenaline sports such as skydiving.
She suffered her injury whilst filming a Game of Thrones season eight episode entitled ‘The Long Night’.
The episode takes place entirely at Winterfell and depicts the final battle between the Army of the Dead and the combined armies of the living, ending with the dramatic death of the Night King at the hands of Arya Stark.
In papers lodged with London’s High Court, lawyers for Ms Michaels say her accident occurred on 5 Feb 2018, ‘during the course of the claimant’s employment as a stunt performer by the defendant production company during the filming of Game of Thrones season eight, near Belfast, Northern Ireland.’
Ms Michaels said landing area for stunt was unsafe and injuries ended her career, but makers Fire and Blood deny any blame and are fighting her claim at London’s High Court
During a pre-trial hearing at the High Court, judge Master Richard Davison was told that Ms Michaels claims that the area she leapt off the roof onto had not been safe for her to land on.
Stephen Friday, for Ms Michaels, whose older sister Carly is also a stuntwoman, told the judge that whilst there is ‘considerable video footage’ of Ms Michaels and her fellow undead ‘walking down the roof and jumping or stepping off’ that footage did ‘not clearly show the landing area’ where she suffered her injuries.
‘The state of the landing area is in dispute,’ Mr Friday said.
‘This is a case that is pleaded in excess of £4m,’ he added telling the judge:
‘She was a young stunt performer of considerable potential. We say she had the potential to go on and be a stunt coordinator or a second unit director..’
Jonathan Bellamy, for Fire and Blood, which has its head office in Old Street, east London, told the judge that as well as denying liability, the company is contesting the size of the claim.
He said that the future ’employment prospects of the claimant as injured’ is one of the big areas in dispute.
Giving directions for a ten-day trial, Master Davison commented: ‘This was an unfortunate and certainly colourful accident.’
The case will now return to court at a later date, yet to be set.
‘The Long Night’ was directed by Miguel Sapochnik and reportedly filmed in 55 night shoots over 11 weeks, during harsh weather, at sets in Moneyglass, Saintfield and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Cinematographer Fabian Wagner had publicly described the shoot as ‘physically exhausting’.
The episode is said to contain the longest battle sequence in cinematic history, longer than the 40-minute Battle of Helm’s Deep, as seen in The Lord of the Rings.