Vin Diesel Stunt Double Fighting For His Life After Gruesome Accident On 'Fast & Furious 9'

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Who Is Joe Watts? New Details On Vin Diesel Stunt Double Fighting For His Life After Accident On Fast & Furious 9

Every single day we take our lives into our hands, though for some folks that means more than others. For some, the closest they get to putting it all on the line is when they stick a fork into the toaster to get a slice out without unplugging the darn thing. But there are some people for whom putting their lives on the line is part of a full day's work. 

While many people love action movies, they don't always think about all the dangerous work that goes into making them. Stuntmen and stuntwomen quite literally leap off buildings all so a director can get that perfect take. But sometimes, things go wrong. That's something stuntman Joe Watts learned for himself on the set on the new Fast & Furious movie when a stunt that was perfectly planned went totally wrong. Who is Joe Watts?

1. The Accident 

On July 22nd, Warner Brothers Hertfordshire's UK studio temporarily shut down production on one of its hotly anticipated future releases, Fast & Furious 9 after the filming of a stunt for the movie went horribly wrong. Vin Diesel's stunt double, a man named Joe Watts, was meant to leap off a balcony thirty feet up in the sky and be caught by a safety wire. When the wire failed to deploy, he fell, hitting the ground head first. "He was meant to be left dangling below the balcony via the wire and then lowered slowly to the ground, but he plunged to the ground and landed on his head," a source told The Wrap.

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2. Witnesses to the accident

This didn't happen on a closed set. Plenty of people including the cast and the crew were on set when the accident took place, including none other than Vin Diesel himself who saw the whole awful accident happened. Diesel reportedly was spotted on the set "look[ing] ashen, totally in shock and blinking back tears. He saw what happened." Right now, Watts is in the hospital in critical condition having been put into a medically induced coma by doctors. Watts' fiance Tilly Powell spoke out about the terrible events on social media: "[My] heart is shattered. I love him so much. He has all his friends and family by his side to get him through this," she wrote on Facebook.

3. Stunt Life

For Tilly, an accident like this taking place may be devastating, but it's also one she's literally spent her entire life preparing for. You see, she comes from a family of stunt people, and tragedies like this are sadly par for the course. "Tilly is absolutely devastated but she has known the risks that were always involved," said a source from her family. "She grew up with a father who was a stuntman and has followed the same career. She knew that they always faced risks on any dangerous stunt. Tilly is at the hospital with Joe and like everyone else just praying that Joe will pull through. Joe is one of the nicest men you could meet. Everyone in the family loves him and he is devoted to Tilly," they added.

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4. Experienced Professional 

You see, it isn't just Tilly's dad who is involved in the family business. Tilly herself is a stunt double, and she was actually working on the set of  The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard elsewhere in the London area when she learned about what happened to her fiancé and quickly left the set to get to his side as quickly as possible. Some might speculate about Joe's level of experience if something like this could happen to him, but experience had nothing to do with his fall. Watts, for the record, is insanely experienced having worked as a stunt double on  Game of Thrones, The Hitman's Bodyguard, Kingsman: The Golden CircleMission: Impossible - FalloutStar Wars: The Last Jedi and Spider-Man: Far From Home.

5. Going Viral 

While Joe's friends, family members, and coworkers wait to see how long his recovery process will take, his tragic accident has had another strange effect that no one could have seen coming. When the word began to spread about the horrible accident and the amazing bravery and strength of Joe, it led to someone unearthing footage of the stunt man that many people had never seen before. The footage is nearly five years old, but what it captures makes it perfectly clear that Joe has a gift when it comes to the world of stunts, and it only makes you want to send even more well-wishes his way, so that he might recover and prepare himself to once again blow minds with his tremendous antics. 

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6. Joe Working 

In the film footage that's recently been unearthed, Joe is performing as a member of the cast at the Legoland Windsor Pirates of Skeleton Bay. An odd gig, but a perfect one for the aspiring stuntman in 2015. In the video, while standing on the top of a very tall lighthouse, Watts and another performer pretend to headbutt each other before they wind up leaping (backwards!) into the waiting water. Watts brought with him his five years teaching gymnastics at Creative Academy in Slough, Berkshire to the gig, and the school itself was responsible for sharing the link to their old teacher's stellar performance on Twitter. 

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.