Star Wars firm fined €1.8m for Harrison Ford leg injury

Foodles Production penalised after actor was crushed by hydraulic door on set

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford | File photo: PA Wire

A film production company has been fined £1.6m (around €1.8 million) for health and safety breaches following the Star Wars set incident in which Harrison Ford's leg was crushed.

The Hollywood actor was crushed by a hydraulic door on the Millennium Falcon spaceship while filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Pinewood Studios in 2014.

Reprising his role as Han Solo, he was knocked over and trapped by the door, which was so heavy it was "capable of killing one or possibly two people".

Production company Foodles Production (UK) Ltd was given the fine at Aylesbury Crown Court on Wednesday after admitting two breaches of health and safety law.

The court was told Ford was hit with a force comparable to the weight of a small car.

Judge Francis Sheridan said the firm had failed to communicate its risk assessment to the actor.

"It's just incredible that so much was left to chance," he said.

Earlier in the hearing, the court was told the incident happened during a second dress rehearsal.

Ford did not realise the set was live as he started to walk through the door. He expected it to stay open, as it had done during previous rehearsals, prosecutor Andrew Marshall told the hearing.

The 1.2 metre by 2 metre door, which was designed to be remotely closed by a special effects operator, came down "millimetres from his face", acting like a "blunt guillotine" and pinning his pelvis to the ground.

Quick-thinking staff hit an emergency stop button but were not fast enough to prevent it coming down with "enormous" force, Mr Marshall said.

Surgery

Ford, who was 71 at the time, needed surgery to screw together the fractured tibia and fibula bones in his left leg and plastic surgery on a "deep laceration" to his left hand.

He was taken to hospital in Oxford by helicopter.

Mr Marshall said the door was "capable of killing one or possibly two people", and that the "foreseeable risk" was "significant and dangerous".

The court heard that Foodles Production was a large company created for the sole purpose of making The Force Awakens, and had not made any profit.

Ford had received a compensation settlement which the judge said he assumed was "large" as a result of his "very serious" injuries.

Charles Gibson, defending, admitted there was a "failure in communication" between the production team and Ford.

But he said that Joonas Suotamo, who was playing Chewbacca, had said in his statement he had been aware the door was going the close.

"This was an innocent mistake by bona fide professionals," he said.