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How Background Extras Put Child Actors at Risk on Set of 'Allegiant'

Over thirty child actors were allegedly put at risk during the filming of Divergent's sequel, 'Allegiant' in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to Deadline, child actors as young as 4 years old were run through a gauntlet of more than 100 adult extras swinging metal clubs, axes and machetes. While no one was seriously injured on the first day, union members in Atlanta forced changes to production on the second day.
On the morning of June 17, more than 130 extras began arriving at an old abandoned mill in rural northwest Georgia to begin the day’s work. They weren’t there long before the prop masters began handing out the heavy metal weapons – including axes, machetes, scythes, maces, steel pipes, hammers, heavy farm tools and pieces of steel rebar – that most of them would be wielding in the scene. They’d be battling soldiers who’d come to their village of genetically damaged outcasts to take away their children. As the fight scene unfolded, the children fled in all directions, chased by soldiers. “I had to do a double take when the prop master passed out the weapons to the extras,” the witness wrote in an email to the film’s safety consultant. “Concerned, I went around and handled the weapons for myself and saw that they were steel and aluminum, with bladed edges, and some were quite sharp.”
An anonymous witness tipped the SAG-AFTRA safety hotline to report the dangerous environment for the kid actors, but only got a recording. He then called SAG-AFTRA's stunt and safety office in Los Angeles, but it was closed. He then reached out to a SAG-AFTRA rep in Georgia, again another recording. Nearly 3 phone calls later, it was not until he called Local 479 union did they do something.
Ten minutes after that call, as the extras and children were preparing to shoot another scene, the prop masters came onto the set and rounded up all the metal weapons and replaced them with a few rubber replicas. “I felt immense relief that I wouldn’t see some child lose an eye or some extra get cut wide open by a blade as they ran around,” the witness said. “Local 479 made that set safe immediately.” “It was brought to our attention, and it was handled immediately,” said a Local 479 official. “Safety is of the utmost importance to us. Any calls regarding safety issues are handled expeditiously.”
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