In Hollywood’s bustling entertainment industry, where actors have already voiced their concerns over the encroachment of Artificial Intelligence on their craft, seems like AI will prove a danger for Hollywood Stunt Workers.
For years, film studios have leveraged the prowess of computer-generated imagery (CGI) to populate epic battle scenes with virtual extras, trimming down the need for an abundance of physical actors.
However, the surge of AI technologies is poised to usher in a new era of cost-efficient methods that transcend these established boundaries. The result? Highly intricate action sequences, the stuff of car chases and shootouts, could soon be meticulously crafted without the involvement of their traditionally indispensable human counterparts. This reality looms large for the time-honoured tradition of stunt work.
From the iconic “Game of Thrones” series to the latest blockbuster superhero sagas from Marvel, the ever-watchful eyes of studios have been keen on slashing expenses while maintaining visual grandeur. AI’s rising dominance now offers a fertile playground for innovative approaches, promising breathtaking stunts without the burden of hefty human resource costs.
Freddy Bouciegues, a seasoned stunt coordinator celebrated for his contributions to hit films like “Free Guy” and “Terminator: Dark Fate,” can’t help but voice his concerns. “The technology’s growth is nothing short of exponential,” he admits, aware of the rapidly changing landscape. “The present climate is rather unsettling.”
On-set mandates are already evolving, with the introduction of high-tech 3D “body scans” for both stunt and background performers becoming the norm. Often, the implications of these scans need to be more precise, leaving actors to ponder how, or more importantly, when these digital imprints will be employed.
With AI’s advancements, these scanned profiles could morph into astonishingly lifelike “virtual duplicates,” capable of executing any action or delivering lines as desired by their creators.
Bouciegues fears that the repercussions could be dire, foreseeing scenarios where studios opt to substitute these “faceless” stunt professionals—those who assume roles like pedestrians hastily dodging oncoming car chases—with their AI-driven counterparts.
In his sad reflection, he points out, “We might witness a scenario where they decide, ‘Let’s bypass these ten individuals… their roles can be fulfilled later, courtesy of effects and AI.’ Regrettably, this spells the end for those individuals’ careers.”
Yet, according to the insights shared by filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, whose upcoming movie “Gran Turismo” is set to grace screens on August 25th, the AI story only begins at that juncture.
In his conversation with AFP, Blomkamp asserts that the magnitude of AI’s forthcoming influence in generating imagery from scratch remains staggeringly perplexing. The action-packed “Gran Turismo” predominantly capitalizes on the contributions of genuine stunt artists navigating real-world racetracks, with subtle CGI embellishments for a particularly intricate scene.
However, Blomkamp envisions a near future wherein AI’s capabilities could flourish to autonomously generate photo-realistic footage, such as high-speed crashes, with nothing more than a director’s conceptual input. This would usher in a paradigm shift wherein the very foundations of cinematic production could be overhauled—CGI-intensive computations, visual effects, and even stunts themselves could be relegated to history.
As Blomkamp aptly remarks, “It’s an entirely different landscape.” And, in the intersection of Hollywood’s legacy and AI’s burgeoning dominion, the fate of the unsung heroes of the action-packed scenes hangs in the balance, their traditional roles and once-secure livelihoods caught in the whirlwind of technological transformation.
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