Ruby Rose made headlines after her stint on Orange is the New Black as the main character’s brief interest and again after being cast as the first openly lesbian superhero in the CW’s Batwoman. But now, the actor is speaking out about something that doesn’t involve the gender she dates. Following an incident on-set that almost left her paralyzed, Rose has come forward to share her experience doing her own stunts.
While only 53% of adults aged 18 and over technically meet the CDC’s guidelines for aerobic physical activity, those cast in superhero films and television series are typically held to a higher standard of physical fitness. Still, many of these actors rely on experienced stunt doubles to ensure their own safety (and the safety of others) during the filming process. But Rose has had a history of performing her own stunts when necessary, as she revealed after her appearance in the action-thriller The Doorman. She posted on social media and joked about her bruised knees in the aftermath.
But Rose has since changed her tune, expressing a much more serious tone after her most recent on-set stunt experience. In an Instagram post, the 33-year-old actor explained that, while doing stunt work on a recent project (which she declined to name but has been identified widely in the press as the new Batwoman series), she suffered serious injuries.
Let’s hope she has a great team of personal injury lawyers working on her behalf!
“A couple of months ago I was told I needed an emergency surgery or I was risking becoming paralyzed,” wrote Rose. “I had herniated two discs doing stunts, and they were close to severing my spinal chord [sic]. I was in chronic pain and yet couldn’t feel my arms.”
Although Rose did not specify the stunts that led to her injuries, she has implied in interviews that she perhaps expected more of herself than she was truly capable of.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Rose said: “I wanted to talk about it because Hollywood — and the world at large, I guess — we always try to make out like everything is effortless and everything is about kind of being perfect and being a certain way. think in Hollywood it’s sort of like you’re meant to be young and beautiful and strong and good at all these different things. And it’s kind of like, we’re also human beings. And I wanted to embrace the fact that, yeah, no, I have a Pez dispenser scar.”
Of course, the situation could have been much worse, considering that falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries. Had it not been for physician intervention and specific conditions, it’s entirely possible for these kinds of injuries to prove fatal. Ultimately, Rose’s story illustrates the importance of safety and experience on-set — and realizing that just because a performer might want to do their own stunts doesn’t necessarily mean they should.
Fortunately, Rose’s Hollywood status allowed her to receive the care she needed without issues. Others might not be so lucky, as an estimated 2 million people in the U.S. filed for bankruptcies related to unpaid medical bills in 2013. Moreover, Rose opted to video tape her surgery and then chose to share the video on social media, which made for highly graphic content. But, perhaps, the video evidence might serve as a warning to other performers and daredevils who may want to think twice before trying to become an action hero. Although debuts like Rose’s are certainly historic, they needn’t be life crippling.