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Two Netflix series actors die in Mexico after van crashes

A desert area with cactuses and brush.
Local media reported the crash occurred Thursday, and said the van flipped after running off the road in a desert area. Pictured is a February 2020 photo of an area near Cabo San Lucas, at the southern tip of Baja California.
(Meghan Dhaliwal/For The Times)
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Two actors on the Netflix series “The Chosen One” were killed and six other cast or crew members were injured after the van they were riding in crashed on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula.

Local media reported that the van flipped after running off the road Thursday in a desert area near Mulege, southeast of Santa Rosalia on the Gulf of California coast. The crew apparently had been working in the Santa Rosalia area.

For the record:

5:59 p.m. June 18, 2022An earlier version of this story said that Faisal Lutchmedial’s film “Beneath Us” was released in 2019. It was released in 2021.

Raymundo Garduño Cruz and Juan Francisco González Aguilar died, the Baja California state Ministry of Culture said Friday.

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“I am absolutely devastated,” the Toronto-based screenwriter Faisal Lutchmedial wrote on Twitter.

González, also known by the stage name Paco Mufote, was a “brilliant actor and musician,” he wrote.

‘The Chosen One’ is part of Netflix’s Millarworld deal to bring more superhero excitement to the streaming platform.

June 18, 2022

“He was universally loved from what I saw in the community, and I really felt blessed for him to be a part of my tiny film,” Lutchmedial wrote of working with González on the screenwriter’s 2021 film, “Beneath Us.”

Dozens of people posted condolences on González’s Facebook page, some thanking him for his friendship and artistic guidance.

“It was a pleasure to share the stage and it was a privilege to know you as a human being,” one woman wrote.

Several posters called for an investigation into the accident. One said that actors on the set had complained about transportation issues, including tired drivers.

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Netflix declined to comment. But the production has been paused, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Mexican actor Fernando Bonilla wrote on Twitter on Thursday evening that he had just learned of the death of Garduño, his friend.

“I’m devastated,” he wrote. “Ray was an actor, director and culture manager that adopted Tijuana as his home.”

In the series, “a 12-year-old boy learns he’s the returned Jesus Christ, destined to save humankind,” Netflix says in its description of “The Chosen One,” adding that it is “based on the comic book series by Mark Millar and Peter Gross.”

According to casting calls, the series is being taped by an independent production company.

A SAG-AFTRA spokeswoman said the union had been in touch with Netflix and Mexico’s actors union.

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“On-set safety is always our top priority,” she said. “We will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure that our members and others are safe in their workplace.”

Miller reported from Mexico City, Sakoui and Dolan from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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