‘The Chosen One’ Accident Victims Remember Old Friend Who Died, Overcome Tragic Van Ride & Working Conditions On Netflix Series

EXCLUSIVE: Following the June 16 fatal crash that claimed the lives of two actors and injured six others of the Netflix cast and crew The chosensurvivor Yeray Albelda spoke to Deadline about the loss of close friends Raymundo Garduño Cruz and Juan Francisco González Aguilar (Known professionally as Paco Mufote).

The three were hired to play as miners in the series produced by Redrum. Albelda and González started work on June 2 and lived together; Garduño has an earlier start date.

Albelda, Garduño, González, and the rest of the cast and crew involved in the accident headed to Loreto International Airport to catch a flight to their respective hometowns—Albelda, Garduño, and Gonzalez were on their way to Tijuana—for a week and a half break from filming. . They are scheduled to return to the set after taking a break from work until July 16.

Eight people in total from The chosen driving the van: Albelda, Garduño, González, two stunt coordinators, a young actor and his guardian, and the driver; only the driver and passenger sitting next to him were wearing seat belts. The driver is new and only arrived one day before the set as a substitute for another driver who needs to rest due to high transportation demand.

Albelda suffered head trauma in the accident and cannot remember the tragic journey. He is being observed for amnesia and has undergone several scans which have all returned to normal. He physically treated a fractured clavicle and scapula but there were no life-threatening injuries. Doctors have ordered him to rest for 6-8 weeks.

“I remember returning my hotel room key that morning and going out onto the street to buy a burrito because the van picked us up at 7am and we didn’t have time for breakfast. After that, I remember waking up in the ambulance,” he said.

“In the van, the arrangement is three rows for the passenger behind the driver and the passenger seat in the front. I usually sit in the second row, and believe me that’s where I was sitting when the accident happened. To my understanding, Paco and Ray were seated in separate rows, at the end closest to the van’s sliding doors. I have been told that the van turns many times and the sliding door opens. My guess based on what I’ve been told is that [without seatbelts]Paco and Ray got kicked out.”

Albelda did not blame Netflix or Redrum for the crash and said the two had gone to great lengths to support her in the aftermath.

“They have done the right and fair thing,” he said. “It’s not like a ticking time bomb situation where every moment something goes wrong—no. There was no way anyone could have imagined this would happen. Trust me, I just lost two great friends I’ve known for years. If I feel someone is responsible, I will speak out to bring justice to their families.”

Albelda has worked around five major productions, including afraid of the Walking Dead, and he said the van used in all of them appeared to be in comparable condition. He explained the van used in The chosen as “not brand new made in 2022 but definitely not for long.” He said there was no record of him worrying about the van they rode to the airport, but he also noted that he was not a mechanic and was not aware of any mechanical issues.

“I recently had to visit the location where the van from the crash was kept to claim property I may have left behind. Seeing it again and how it was destroyed had a huge impact on me,” said Albelda. “Some people suggested the tires might be substandard so I made sure to specifically look at the condition of all four and the guys were wrong. The wheels are actually in good condition. ”

He added, “One thing I would say is that no one is encouraging those sitting in the back of the van to wear seat belts. Only the driver and front passenger consistently use seat belts. To be clear, there are seat belts in the van, but hardly anyone uses them. I will speak for myself by saying I never did. I always feel safe in the van and I couldn’t have imagined that such a terrible accident could happen.”

Most of the injured were released from the hospital on the same day except for Albelda and the stunt coordinator who were also being watched. The coordinator of the action told Albelda recently that she remains under the care of a hospital closer to home.

Work The chosen resumed on Monday, a decision Albelda backed out of respect for her friends. Due to physical and emotional trauma, he has chosen to leave the series. Production covered his medical bills and will continue to pay his salary as if he had worked until the end, according to Albelda.

Albelda had heard there were accusations of poor working conditions and fraudulent business practices behind the scenes The chosen. The outspoken critic is novelist Rick Zazueta, who claims to have insight into the production thanks to inside sources.

Albelda said Zazueta recently sent her a friend request on Facebook which she accepted but explained that she had never met or known him before the accident.

“I did read the allegations and found them very interesting,” said Albelda. “I never spoke to him and I don’t know who the source was. I can only speak from my experience as someone who has worked on multiple productions of this size. Yes, they are tiring, and we work long hours. I don’t know if my experience is different because I’m used to working 16 hours a day, but they are all active The chosen equivalent to my experience in saying events like Afraid of the Walking Dead. It’s business as usual for me. My biggest gripe is that sometimes we get picked up to be on set at 9am, but we won’t shoot until 2pm, but that’s the equivalent of a course in the business.”

He continued, “The shooting schedule changes frequently because if someone has to self-isolate due to a Covid infection, we have to move on to something else. My complaint is minor. I never felt that my life was being threatened or that I was being taken advantage of. There was never a moment when I wanted to complain or leave production. I was paid according to what was promised and when promised. I know we make less than American actors do, but I never lie about what I’m going to pay. I have never been abused or exploited in any way or treated unfairly. I’m not saying this isn’t someone else’s experience but it wasn’t for me. It’s also not something I witnessed firsthand.”

Netflix declined to comment on this story.

Albelda and other friends of Garduño and González gathered Tuesday afternoon for a memorial service in honor of the actors. It was an emotional gathering that celebrated two honorable men who left family, friends and admirers after a lifetime of giving themselves and their art.

“These two are old friends from theater with whom I’ve been through a lot—both good and bad. We have toured together and we all know each other’s families,” said Albelda. “I’ve known Paco for about 18 years and Ray for about 7 years. Ray was a rebellious person. I never post photos on set because we signed an NDA preventing spoilers from coming out. But Ray, being a rebel, loved being on set and he posted some photos anyway. He is very proud to be working on this production. He really likes the party life. When we had free time, he would go to the local bar or listen to music by the pool.”

“I remember Ray and I first met in 2015, we collaborated on three projects through his theater company, Teatro Inmigrante,” continued Albelda. “Through his company, he worked a lot with children, and I remember it was very important to him that young actors were treated as professionals. He works with very talented actors who are intelligent; he didn’t want people to underestimate what they could achieve. He also tackled social justice issues in his productions. We talked about his character at his memorial yesterday, he has a very strong personality that doesn’t affect everyone in the right way. But because of her decisiveness, she can help enact change and stand up for what’s important. He is also very generous and wants everyone to be successful. You always know where you stand with him.”

“Paco and I met at the first theater audition I ever did. I want everyone to know that his stage name Mufote represents his three greatest passions: music, photography and theatre. What stands out most about Paco is his generosity, empathy, and how humble he is. He treats everyone equally, from extras to stars of whatever project he’s involved in. When we shot in Santa Rosalia, he hated being trapped in hotels. He would be out in the community and start random conversations with the locals. He visited the museum and studied the history of the area, which he would then teach us all as we followed. Paco craved knowledge. He is also good at lending an ear or a shoulder. ”

Juan Francisco González Aguilar and Raymundo Garduño Cruz

Juan Francisco González Aguilar and Raymundo Garduño Cruz
Personal Honor

He added, “The photo you see on Ray’s Instagram from Paco’s birthday represents how Paco wants to celebrate another year of life. A simple gathering among friends, he doesn’t want to party or get drunk. I remember one instance when we were shooting a scene in the desert, and he gave his umbrella to someone who needed it more. Both of them left a big hole in the hearts of those who knew them.”

This tragedy didn’t stop Albelda from continuing to work as an actor, it even pushed her to work even harder knowing the two great people she admired no longer had that opportunity.

“Their deaths were tragic, but I tell their families to find comfort in the fact that they are doing what they love most. They live their dreams. I find solace that Paco and Ray died that way and not from an incurable disease or anything worse. I was given the gift of living one more day and I don’t take it lightly. I want to continue acting and honor Paco and Ray by sharing everything they taught me. I will share my dreams with them for the rest of my life,” he said.

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