Hollywood, Calif. - Actress Christina Applegate was critically injured today by a freak accident on the set of "Paper Moon," a remake of the 1973 classic that is being shot in Wichita, Kansas. Accord Ms. Applegate's publicist, the accident occurred when a guy-wire securing two large cardboard cassava being used in a dancehall scene snapped, sending the giant tubers crashing to the floor.
Ms. Applegate, who in an interesting twist on the original story will be playing the role of Moses Pray (portrayed by Ryan O'Neil in the 1973 version), and her youthful co-star Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker, in Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace), who is playing the role of Addie Loggins (portrayed by Tatem O'Neil in 1973), were struck by the roots and then pinned beneath them for nearly forty minutes. While the injuries are not described as serious, they will, in the case of Ms. Applegate, require some reconstructive surgery.
Miramax, which is producing the film, issued the following statement: "Our highest commitment is to our art. This is true of every member of the Miramax family. When one member of our family is injured in the pursuit of her muse - as is the case with Christina - all of us feel the pain. Out thoughts and prayers are with Christina and her family and we will play an active and supportive role in her treatment and recovery."
Fans of Ms. Applegate naturally expressed concern for the health and well-being of their favorite star as word of the accident spread across the Web. On Christina-applegate.net, the chat room was filled with fans looking for details and comfort online. One fan, whose screen name is "coach_card", agreed to an email interview for this story.
Below are some of "coach_cards" thoughts on the tragedy:
"I can't believe this is happening to her, she is go great that bad things like this just can't happen. I have most everything she's done on DVD at this point and watch at least one episode of Married with Children' every day."
"From what I've heard, it sounds like the casava [sic] hit her left shoulder and also her face. I hope that nothing happened to her face because that is what makes her so beautiful."
"This kind of thing happens all the time in Hollywood. Like in "The Twilight Zone Movie" when that guys head got chopped off. Congress or someone needs to start paying attention to what is going on over there [Hollywood] before more precious stars are hurt or killed."
A sampling of comments from other fans echo these feelings - truly Ms. Applegate has touched a common chord for many people.
Reached in his Chicago office, film critic Roger Ebert also expressed sorrow upon hearing the news. "Christina has been a terrific addition to the Hollywood star-scape. As a youngster on the small-screen or as the sensitive and accomplished actress she has become, she embodies the wholesome womanhood of America."
Although full details on the extent of her injury were not made immediately available, a source close to the situation indicated that the surgery and recovery process would probably be measured in months rather than weeks.
A poem left at a makeshift shrine at the scene of the accident summed things up:
Christina, you are the apple of my eye
What a terrible mistake
Putting cassavas in the sky
It is bad that you got hurt
It makes my heart break
Maybe next time you can work in my yurt
Hard to understand? Perhaps; but when it comes to Christina Applegate, what isn't?