KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 40: Olivia Jackson

Posted in Podcasts by - June 10, 2019
KFMG Podcast S04 Episode 40: Olivia Jackson

“I just focus on things that motivate me and make me stronger, rather than worrying about things that you can’t change anyway.”

It was while doubling for Milla Jovovich on the set of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in 2015 that Olivia Jackson’s life would transform forever. A promising young stunt performer, model and Muay Thai kickboxer from South Africa – whose film credits included Mad Max: Fury Road, Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Olivia narrowly escaped certain death when a motorcycle stunt went horribly wrong during filming in Johannesburg. Following a head-on collision at high-speed with a mechanical mobile film camera, Olivia spent 17 days in a coma. Her injuries were severe and life-threatening; brain swelling, broken bones, a punctured lung and severed crown. Part of her face was ‘degloved’ in the incident and needed to be completely rebuilt. Damage to the vertebrae in her spine has left her with permanent paralysis on the left side of her face and body, resulting in the need for her left arm to be amputated.

In this candid, detailed and at times graphic conversation, Olivia explains how the stunt community has rallied together to support her since the accident took place four years ago, the results of which she continues to feel every day. It has been a slow and steady road to recovery, but Olivia has shown great courage, determination and optimism since the event, refusing to let her injuries get the better of her. She has returned to her training in the martial arts – she is on her way to gaining a black belt despite only having one arm – and she says her Buddhism has helped in dealing with the effects the crash has had on her mental health. Olivia’s story is a poignant one, and acts as a stark reminder of the very real dangers that stunt performers put themselves through for the benefit of our viewing pleasure. It was an absolute privilege to be able to visit Olivia’s home in the UK and spend time with her to record this episode of the show.

You can follow Olivia Jackson on Instagram. Her story will also be told in a new biography, written by New York-based writer Shannon Nixon, coming soon in 2019 (more details can be found via Facebook).

The Muay Thai years: in the 2000s, Olivia Jackson lived in Thailand and worked as a professional kickboxer.

Olivia Jackson working on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in July 2015, a few months before an on-set accident resulted in her left arm needing to be amputated.

Olivia Jackson in 2016 following surgery to remove her left arm.

Olivia Jackson receiving her blue belt from her martial arts instructor, Paul Busby, in 2017.

Olivia Jackson and Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast host, Ben Johnson, in April 2019 following the recording of this episode.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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