Hollywood stunt performers face danger from Artificial Intelligence

Hollywood stunt performers face danger from Artificial Intelligence
Hollywood stunt performers face danger from Artificial Intelligence

THE LOS ANGELES-While many stunt performers already live in a dystopian world where artificial intelligence (AI) threatens to take their jobs, Hollywood’s striking actors are afraid of this. Cost-cutting studios have used computer-generated backdrop figures for fight sequences for a long time, from “Game of Thrones” to the most recent Marvel superhero films.

Since AI is becoming more prevalent, it is now possible to construct highly complicated action sequences like vehicle chases and shootouts without the bothersome (and expensive) involvement of humans.

The long-standing Hollywood legacy of stunt work, which has appeared in everything from silent epics to Tom Cruise’s most recent “Mission Impossible,” is in danger of disappearing altogether. According to Freddy Bouciegues, the stunt supervisor for films like “Free Guy” and “Terminator: Dark Fate,” technology is advancing exponentially.

It’s a very terrifying moment right now, I must say. Stunt and background actors are already required by studios to participate in high-tech 3D “body scans” on location, frequently without being informed of how or when the images would be used. 

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These likenesses might be utilized to produce intricate, uncannily accurate “digital replicas,” which can carry out any action or speak any phrase, thanks to advancements in AI. Bouciegues worries that producers would substitute “nondescript” stunt performers like actors who represent pedestrians dodging oncoming cars with these synthetic avatars.

‘No, we don’t want to bring in these 10 guys. We’ll just add them in later via effects and AI,they might have responded. Those men are no longer employed.  Even that scenario, though, merely scratches the surface, claims director Neill Blomkamp, whose new movie “Gran Turismo” opens in theaters on August 25.

It is “hard to compute,” he told AFP, what function AI will soon play in creating photos from scratch.

 The majority of the stunt drivers in “Gran Turismo” are real drivers on real racetracks, with some computer-generated effects added for one particularly intricate and perilous scene. However, according to Blomkamp, AI will get to the point where it can produce photo-realistic imagery, such as fast crashes, in as little as six or twelve months.

This is when “you take all of your CG (computer graphics) and VFX (visual effects) computers and throw them out the window, and you get rid of stunts, and you get rid of cameras, and you don’t go to the racetrack,” he told AFP.

One of the main issues at risk in the ongoing strike by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and Hollywood’s writers, who have been on the picket lines for 100 days, is the absence of assurances on the future usage of AI.  Last month, SAG-AFTRA issued a warning regarding studio plans to produce lifelike digital representations of actors for “for the rest of eternity, in any project they want”—all for the price of one day’s work.

The studios contest this and assert that they have provided guidelines, such as compensation and informed consent. However, in addition to the possible consequences for thousands of jobs being lost, Bouciegues cautions that despite advancements in technology, “the audience can still tell” when computer-generated visual effects are being used to deceive the viewer.

He cited Cruise’s most recent “Top Gun” and “Mission Impossible” sequels as evidence that, even if AI were to flawlessly duplicate a battle, explosion, or crash, it could not replace the human factor that is essential to any successful action movie.

“You can see it on the screen; he performs actual stunts and uses real stunt workers. According to Bouciegues, “I believe it influences the viewer subliminally. Blomkamp, who started his career in VFX and directed the Oscar-nominated film “District 9,” acknowledged that current AI technology still produces “slightly unpredictable results.” 

But it’s on its way… Not to mention Hollywood, society will be drastically altered. The future holds changes to the globe.  The greatest result today for stunt performers like Bouciegues is to combine the usage of human performers with VFX and AI to carry out sequences that would be too risky with traditional approaches alone. 

Bouciegues, who performs stunts, stated, “I don’t think this job will ever just cease to be.” It will undoubtedly become smaller and more precise.  However, even it serves as a grim reminder for stunt performers who are currently protesting in front of Hollywood studios.

Every stuntman is an alpha male, and everyone wants to affirm that they are successful, according to Bouciegues.  “However, I’ve personally spoken to a lot of people who are frightened and anxious.”

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