Mythbusters Star Jessi Combs' Last Film Will Be Dedicated to Her, Director Says
In the wake of her sudden death, the director of Jessi Combs‘ upcoming film said the movie will be dedicated to her memory.
In an interview with Fox News, director and producer Thomas Smugala shared that Combs had a role in his film Interviewing Monsters and Bigfoot.
“This was her first feature film,” Smugala told the outlet. “We are dedicating the film to Jessi. She was a good friend and a wonderful person. We are also in the process of putting her on the poster and cover art before the release of the film.”
Smugala also said that the professional racer and television personality “rose to the occasion” while shooting the film.
“Everyone was telling me not to use a reality show celebrity on the film, but I knew she would handle it just fine,” the director shared. “I mean, all she had to do was a long dialogue-filled scene while being chased by the law. Jessi and I agreed that shooting it while she was actually driving would be best. So, with the help of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri police, we closed off the streets and did it. Jessi rose to the occasion just as I thought she would.”
Smugala said Combs’ costars “loved her” on set, and she often gave “motivation talks” to the young girls involved in the movie.
“Everyone loved her on set. The cops, the crew, the caterer — she took time to talk to everyone,” he shared. “She was the kindest and [most] uplifting person in the world. She was fierce. She was giving. She was loyal. She will be missed by all.”
According to Fox News, Interviewing Monsters and Bigfoot premieres on Sept. 13.
Combs died Tuesday afternoon in Oregon while pursuing a land speed record. Her death was confirmed to PEOPLE by the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the scene of the jet-car crash in the Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon. Combs was pronounced dead at the scene; the cause of the crash is still unknown. She was 36.
After her death, Combs’ family remembered her “bright smile, positivity, and tenacious pursuit of the fulfillment of her dreams” in a statement provided to various media outlets.
“Her drive was infectious, and she served as a role model for young girls, and women around the world,” the family said. “People that loved her and followed her became family, all bonded together by adventure and passion. Her fans adored her, and she lived to inspire them. Jessi’s most notable dream was to become the fastest woman on Earth, a dream she had been chasing since 2012. Combs was one of the rare dreamers with the bravery to turn those possibilities into reality, and she left this earth driving faster than any other woman in history.”
According to the family, a celebration of Combs’ life in being planned and a foundation is being created to “continue her efforts to empower women and young girls to follow their dreams.”
Combs’ partner, Terry Madden, shared a heart-wrenching Instagram post confirming her death on Wednesday, revealing he was the first to arrive on the scene and that they “did everything humanly possible to save her.”
“I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman @thejessicombs,” he wrote. “She was truly my unicorn and I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her.”
Combs, who made a short run of appearances on Mythbusters, was also honored by the stars of the popular science program on Wednesday.
“So sad to hear about Jessi. She was a badass. Always pushing limits. Sending smiles into the universe for her,” tweeted Mythbusters host Kari Byron.
Adam Savage, another host, added, “She was a brilliant & top-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence.”