Yesterday, Riverdale leading man K.J. Apa got into a car accident after leaving the set of the show in the wake of an extended shoot. The 20-year-old actor fell asleep at the wheel, subsequently totaling his vehicle. Warner Bros. Pictures released a statement today talking about the accident, and the changes that will come because of it.
Apa only received minor injuries in the wreck, but totaled his vehicle. The incident raised concerns involving on-set safety. The incident could have been a lot worse, because co-star Cole Sprouse turned down a ride home from Apa at the last minute.
Long shoots are commonplace on the set of Riverdale, with them usually running into the early hours of the morning. The crew are not offered rides to-and-from the set on these days, which is cause for alarm. The SAG-AFTRA union released a statement, saying:
“This is an extremely troubling situation and we are deeply concerned about the safety of performers on the Riverdale set. We are sending a team to Vancouver to review the circumstances surrounding safety issues affecting performers on this production. We have no further comment at this time.”
Warner Bros. issued their own statement regarding the accident, and clarifying a few misconceptions about the shows shooting schedule and the safety practices of the studio:
“First and foremost, we are extremely grateful that KJ Apa was uninjured during his recent accident. Secondarily, we want to specifically address the characterization that conditions on the set of Riverdale are of concern. We have a large cast of series regulars, and our actors do not work every day.
On the day of the accident, KJ worked 14.2 hours. The previous day he worked 2.5 hours, and the day before that he worked 7.7 hours. KJ has repeatedly been informed about making production aware if he is tired or feels unsafe, and if so, either a ride or hotel room will be provided for him.
The accident occurred last Thursday. Additionally, it is untrue that KJ was taken to the hospital. He was treated by first responders on the scene and released by them. We also sent a doctor to his home later that same day for a follow-up to confirm his well-being.
The safety of the cast and crew on all of our productions is of paramount importance to the Studio. Productions adhere to the Screen Actors Guild–mandated turnaround time of twelve hours from wrap time to next day call time for cast members.
In accordance with industry standard policy, if any cast or crew member feels tired or unsafe at any time after working, the Studio will provide a taxi, a driver or a hotel room upon request. This is communicated to all cast and crew, both in writing and verbally, at the beginning of production and is reiterated continuously throughout the duration of production.
This accident is just the latest in a series of accidents to spawn safety concerns. Two prior accidents involving on-set incidents occurred on the set of AMC’s The Walking Dead and Deadpool 2, and both resulted int he death of a stunt actor.
Should studios provide rides to-and-from the set on shows like Riverdale or any others?