Netflix and Redrum, producers of the series “The Chosen One”, have issued statements about the traffic accident in Baja California that killed two of their actors on Thursday. Two other contributors and four crew members were injured but remain stable and have gone home to recover.
Netflix said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that took the lives of Ray Garduño and Juan Francisco González. Our thoughts go out to their loved ones and to those who were injured during this unfortunate accident.”
Added Redrum: “All of us in the production of ‘The Chosen One’ are shocked by the tragic accident that took place last Thursday while we were in transit from Santa Rosalía, Baja California, to the local airport. We are deeply saddened of the passing of our colleagues Ray Garduño and Juan Francisco González and closely supports all those affected by this indescribable tragedy. and that this was an unfortunate accident. “
Garduño and Gonzalez had supporting roles in the series. Production has been halted but is expected to resume after the current investigation and a period of mourning has passed, according to sources close to the production. Variety have approached the families for their opinions.
Both actors, who were in their late 40s, worked on the horror film “Here Comes the Devil” for Salto de Fe Films and Morbido Films. Its director Adrián Garcia Bogliano said: “I and my production partner at Salto de Fe Films, Andrea Quiroz, are devastated by the news of the untimely deaths of Ray Garduños and Paco Mufote. We have fond memories of working with them, they were fantastic professionals “Incredibly talented and loved by filmmaking and cultural communities in Baja California. They will be missed.”
Gonzalez, also known as Paco Mufote, had been active in both theater and film, both disciplines he studied. His acting credits include “Sleep Dealer” (2006), “Norteado” (2008), “Yan She: El Hombre que Espera” (2010) and “Here Comes the Devil” (2012).
He worked on various stage plays, led by among others “Cristo light”, “Primero de octubre” and “Edipo güey”. He also starred in the Chantal Gresset-directed play “L’arpenteur”, which was performed in Tijuana, Mexico and Rennes, France, and also participated in the National Geographic documentary series “Locked Up Abroad”.
Garduño was known in Baja as a stage director as well as an actor and cultural director with more than fifteen years of experience in the field.
As a director, he directed more than 10 shows, among them “Kikiricaja”, “Immolación”, “No Touch”, “Papá está en La Atlántida” and “Dios es un bicho”. Some of these were presented across festivals and theater performances in Mexico, Latin America and Spain.
He was the founder and general coordinator of the Theater Week for Children, one of the most prestigious festivals of its kind in Mexico. As an actor, Garduño participated in more than 20 plays, films and TV series.
He is considered one of the most important and respected creators and advocates of modern theater dedicated to children and young people.
“The Chosen One” is an adaptation of the cartoon series “American Jesus” about a 12-year-old boy who, after a crazy accident, discovers that he is the reincarnation of Jesus and is destined to save humanity.
Variety spoke to a transport driver who is familiar with the road where the accident happened and who has been working on other shots in Baja. He noted that long, exhausting hours for drivers are the norm in most productions in Mexico. The accident happened in “the most dangerous stretch of road between Loreto and Mulege, full of curves and holes,” he said. “There are a lot of accidents.”
In addition, logistics is an issue, with the nearest airport, Loreto, about four hours from the location recording.
“We lost two much-loved people, we are all hurt,” said an actor on the production, who prefers to remain anonymous. He said the set was a hybrid of union and non-union actors. “It’s a very good project, it’s a shame, it’s been tainted by people writing, as if they know what really happened.”
A wake was held on June 19 in Tijuana, where both actors are from.