Last week, The Vampire Diaries family lost one of their own when crew member Sarah Jones was killed in a train collision on the set of the film Midnight Rider in Georgia. This week, they honored her memory by dedicating Season 5, Episode 14 (“No Exit”) to their fallen friend.
As last night’s episode of TVD faded to black, it was replaced with a simple message of love and grief: “In Loving Memory of Sarah Jones, 1986 – 2014.” This act was only one of many undertaken to honor Sarah’s memory. In the wake of the tragedy, the film and television production community is banding together in an attempt to get Sarah honored during the “In Memoriam” tribute at this Sunday’s Oscars. The online petition will be submitted to the Academy for consideration tomorrow. At the time of this posting, it has more than 55,000 signatures.
TVD executive producer Caroline Dries spoke to Hollywood Life about the hope that Sarah’s tragic death will lead to higher standards for on-set safety moving forward, so this sort of thing doesn’t happen again: “Yes, [the cast and crew] would like to have her name at the Oscars’ ‘In Memoriam’ section. But more so, [the campaign] is about awareness about Sarah specifically… and also, more awareness about set safety. [It's about] having the leadership roles on set really step up and say ‘no.’ What we said to the crew the day after we learned [about Sarah's death] was ‘no shot will ever be as important as you, as your friends, as your family… as you are as people. This is not the end of the world. This job will never be the end of the world. You are always the most important person; the most important thing.’”
In addition to the campaign for Sarah’s inclusion in the “In Memoriam” tribute, Sarah’s friends and family have organized a Facebook Page called “Slates for Sarah,” a place for production friends and colleagues to post slates dedicated to Sarah. Caroline said she has been blown away by the response: “Camera departments all over the country and even all over the world have been sending us pictures of their slates, which is what you slap in front of the camera to say what scene you’re on, and who the director is,” she said. “It’s been this viral movement. It’s been this moving, overwhelming tidal wave of emotion. It’s been really cool. I clicked on the [Twitter] hashtag and was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ There’s so many pictures of so many crews. It’s amazing.”
You can sign the online petition for Sarah’s inclusion in the “In Memoriam” tribute here.
Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, March 6 at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.