Wanda Sapp would visit movie sets even when her daughter was not performing the stunts. However, in November her daughter Sonja Davis feel while doing a stunt for the movie with Eddie Murphy called “Vampire in Brooklyn.” Now this family is suing Paramount Studios and Eddie Murphy Productions for $10 million. They are saying that the crew of the film did not provide her daughter with the correct safety equipment.
“The last words I heard my baby say was when she yelled down to the stunt coordinator, ‘Are you sure?’ ” is what Sapp had to say when she gave a phone interview. “I could feel Sonja wasn’t comfortable with the stunt.” She said that she was not able to leave her seat when her daughter feel off of a building that was 42 feet high. She said that the cushion her daughter landed on actually threw her into the building and then she hit the ground.
Those that represent Paramount Studios as well as those at Eddie Murphy Productions were not reached for a comment.
Sapp as well as her three remaining children filed a wrongful death suit saying that those at the studio, the production company, director Wes Craven, and stunt coordinator Alan Oliney were reckless and they were also negligent because they told her daughter to jump without a safety line. They are also claiming that the air bag on the ground was not located in the correct place.
The stunt woman had been in a coma with numerous injuries. This lasted for 13 days and then she died. “She asked them three times (as she stood on top of the building before the stunt) if they were sure it was OK,” said Sapp. “I could feel her lack of confidence and then she paused.”
Davis was an African American, 32-year-old stunt woman who was working consistently. She had even been a double Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and Angela Bassett.
Her mother said “Sonja enjoyed what she did,” and “So many people came up to me at the funeral to tell me how good she was.”
Bob Minor is a stuntman who has been doing this work for 25 years. He reported that Davis as able to make a name for herself and became comfortable with the job.
“I considered her the top black female stunt person in the business,” Minor said. He had hired her to work on who “Poetic Justice” and a number of other movies. “She is already being missed in the business.”
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration is actually in the process of investigating this death. It has been found that Paramount’s permit for filming on that day talked about pushing a “dummy from building onto parked car.” The stunt woman’s jump was not mentioned.