Artificial Intelligence

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Stunt Performers in Hollywood

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in Hollywood is causing concern among actors, particularly those in the stunt industry. Over the years, studios have used computer-generated background figures to save costs and reduce the number of actors needed for battle scenes. But now, advancements in AI technology are making it possible to create highly elaborate action sequences, such as car chases and shootouts, without the need for human performers.

Stunt work, which has been a long-standing tradition in Hollywood, is at risk of rapidly shrinking. Studios are already requiring stunt performers to participate in high-tech 3D “body scans” on set, without providing clear explanations on how or when the images will be used. With AI, these scanned likenesses could be transformed into detailed and realistic “digital replicas” capable of performing any action or delivering any dialogue desired by the creators.

Stunt coordinator Freddy Bouciegues fears that these virtual avatars could replace nondescript stunt performers, such as pedestrians jumping out of the way during car chases. This could potentially lead to job loss for many in the industry.

Director Neill Blomkamp believes that AI will soon reach a point where it can generate photo-realistic footage from scratch based on a director’s instructions alone. This could eliminate the need for CGI, visual effects, stunt work, and even traditional filming techniques.

However, despite these advancements in technology, Bouciegues and Blomkamp both recognize the importance of the human element in action films. While AI may be able to replicate battles, explosions, and crashes, it cannot replace the impact of real stunts performed by humans. Bouciegues points to films like “Top Gun” and “Mission Impossible,” where real stunt performers were used, and the authenticity of their actions was evident on-screen.

The ongoing strike by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and Hollywood’s writers emphasizes the lack of guarantees over the future use of AI. SAG-AFTRA has raised concerns that studios may create digital replicas of performers without their consent or proper compensation. While the studios claim to have offered rules regarding informed consent and compensation, the stakes remain high for the industry.

For now, the best approach may be to blend the use of human performers with AI and visual effects to achieve sequences that would be too dangerous or impossible using traditional techniques alone. While the future of the stunt industry may change, it is unlikely to disappear entirely. The use of AI may make stunt work smaller and more precise, but the human touch will always have a vital role to play in the success of action films.


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