I Am Legend Zombie Stunt Performer Recalls Major Injury From Key Scene

I Am Legend zombie stunt performer Kimberly Shannon Murphy recalls her first major injury received working on a key scene for the Will Smith movie.

Though portrayed with the use of CGI, I Am Legend‘s zombies were also done with stunt performers, with one now recalling their major injury during a key scene. The post-apocalyptic action thriller followed Will Smith as the seemingly last survivor following a zombie epidemic. The film was hugely successful financially, earning approximately $585 million at the worldwide box office. However, despite general acclaim for the film and Smith’s acting, the movie’s finale and visual effects received criticism.


While guest appearing on the latest “Stuntwomen React” episode from Corridor Crew, stunt performer Kimberly Shannon Murphy discussed a mishap on the set of I Am Legend that resulted in a major injury.

Murphy details how the malfunction of a descender (which is a type of equipment used like a harness to simulate a character falling) resulted in her suffering major lacerations while shooting a scene where she and two other stunt performers crashed out of a two-story window. In the film, the scene featured Smith’s character, Dr. Robert Neville (who will return for I Am Legend 2 thanks to the original’s alternate ending) trying to escape from creatures — one of whom was played by Murphy — which fall through the window and crash to the street with him. Read what Murphy shared below:

I cut my face pretty bad going out of a second-story window. So, we were in motion-capture suits, but we did all of the stunts for real. So, this is after I’m already hurt, so I’ve already been cut, but I didn’t go to the hospital right away, because I’m very intelligent like that. We were on a descender, there were three of us coming out, you can see there’s two people, Will’s double and another creature, and then me, so you can see my face is like very high. It’s like the second take and I’m like, “Don’t hit your face on the ground.” My descender on the first take, they’re supposed to stop you above the floor about five feet, so it’s kind of like a little jolt, so you don’t hit the ground. We had a malfunction, something happened, and I went face first, as you can see, into the glass falls on the floor. We were on big mats, thank god, and I just smashed my face. I went head first and scorpioned.

Related: I Am Legend 2 Using The Alternate Ending Is Good – But There’s 1 Problem

How I Am Legend 2 Can Improve On The Original’s Darkseekers

I Am Legend Darkseekers

The original I Am Legend was an adaptation of the classic 1954 Richard Matheson novel of the same name, but there were some major differences, one of which was the creatures encountered by Neville. In the novel, they’re more like vampires, while in the movie, they were portrayed more like zombies, called “Darkseekers“, who were averse to sunlight. Unfortunately, on top of the departure from the source material, the filmmakers were unable to create realistic or convincing “Darkseekers” for I Am Legend using CGI methods.

Director Francis Lawrence had originally wanted dancers with prosthetics to play the creatures, but that idea was scrapped after initial footage was shot. The film’s other production issues, including having to reshoot the climax, meant that there was less time to create the CGI effects, which resulted in lower quality and inconsistent CGI “Darkseekers” in the final cut. With a sequel now in development, there will be a chance for the filmmakers to make amends for the mistakes that were made on the original.

CGI and motion capture technology have advanced immensely in the past 15 years, and with the things other films such as Avatar: The Way Of Water have been able to achieve recently, there should be hope that the filmmakers can get their desired effects for I Am Legend 2. But, if in the end the visual effects team can’t get the look they want, other zombie-focused productions such as The Walking Dead and The Last of Us have proven that actors in prosthetics can portray the undead just as well as CGI effects can.

More: How I Am Legend’s Ending Is Different In The BookSource: Corridor Crew

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