A veteran special effects artist, Christine Overs, is seeking £150,000 ($191,000) in damages from Disney after sustaining an injury on the set of the highly anticipated film, “The Little Mermaid.” Overs, known for her work on films like “GoldenEye” and “Aliens,” broke her wrist when a part of the set collapsed at Pinewood Studios in October 2020.
“The Little Mermaid,” starring Halle Bailey in the lead role, was released on Disney+ this month and has already grossed over $564 million worldwide. Despite the film’s success, Overs’ unfortunate accident has cast a shadow over the production.
Sandcastle Pictures, the production entity established by Disney to make “The Little Mermaid,” has accepted full liability for the accident. However, they are currently disputing the amount of compensation Overs is entitled to.
Overs, who has built an impressive career over several decades, is renowned for her expertise in creating beach and snow scenes. At the time of the incident, she was sculpting a lagoon scene on a raised beach when a makeshift step failed, causing her to fall and injure her wrist.
A Devastating Impact on Her Career
Now 74 years old, Overs claims that the injury has significantly disrupted her final years of work. The severe damage to her hand makes it difficult to perform the precise finger movements required for her job. She underwent surgery to have five steel pins and a fixator inserted to stabilize her arm. As a result, she experiences ongoing wrist pain and has been left with a substantial level of disability.
Overs’ legal team accuses Sandcastle Pictures of negligence, stating that they failed to provide adequate access to the set, leading to the accident. It is alleged that the makeshift polystyrene step, which gave way, could have been prevented had proper safety measures been in place.
Looking to the Future
Despite her injuries, Overs had planned to continue working well into her eighties. However, the impact of the accident has made it challenging for her to pursue her passion. In addition to the physical pain and disability, she is unable to drive, further limiting her ability to work.
The pre-trial hearing in London addressed the issue of legal costs, determining the expenses of the upcoming trial, which is scheduled for a later date. Disney has yet to respond to requests for comment on the matter.
As the case unfolds, the outcome will have implications not only for Christine Overs but also for the wider film industry. It is a reminder of the responsibilities that production companies bear towards the safety and well-being of their crew members. Special effects artists like Overs play an essential role in creating the magic and visual spectacle we see on screen, and their contributions should be acknowledged and protected.