Behind the Scenes: A Case Study in Hollywood Stunts

Hollywood Stunts Behind the Scenes: A Case Study in Hollywood Stunts

Everyday stuntmen go to work, they risk their lives for the good of a big-screen Hollywood film—and some even risk it for low-budget indie titles. Elaborate action scenes are all the rage, and blockbuster producers go the extra mile to make these scene sequences look as realistic as possible. Whether they’re riding on top of cars or jumping from high altitudes, there’s no denying it’s one of the riskiest jobs a person can have.

According to the Barnes Firm, a car accident injury lawyer in Los Angeles even people with extensive contracts can file a personal injury lawsuit for a myriad of reasons, although it all depends on the case. This is exactly what happened when one stunt woman sued for a watercraft accident during the filming of “Rough Night.”

The studio green screen, cables, and harnesses were definitely not on the production docket for the new Mission Impossible: Fallout film. Yes, the technology is safer in studio, but let’s be honest, there are idiosyncrasies India filmgoers can pick up on.

But the Mission Impossible 6 production crew reshaped the way action films are made yet again as start Tom Cruise dangles from New Zealand canyons, skydiving, and flying helicopters haphazardly.

Dangerous Aerial Film Production And Stunts Behind the Scenes: A Case Study in Hollywood Stunts

Dangerous Aerial Film Production And Stunts Becoming Action Movie Staples

Mission Impossible: Fallout has taken aerial film production to new exciting and dangerous levels. The premise of many scenes was to show the iconic Ethan Hunt that was flying, jumping, and dangling off cliff faces was indeed Tom Cruise and not a stunt double.

The death defying stunts were also on location. This has become a marketing tool for action films, and often the story of how the scene was shot is better than the scene projected in theaters.

For instance, Cruise broke his ankle during one of the Mission Impossible: Fallout scenes in 2017.

Once healed it was on to new and more dangerous action packed stunts with the aerial film production team in tow. One scene in the movie that stands out is Cruise’s helicopter dogfight scene where he actually piloted the helicopter as the production team filmed.

“It was important to Cruise that all the film’s stunts be done practically and without the aid of green screens or computer generated special effects,” according to Variety. “This meant that Cruise needed to learn to fly a helicopter and accrue the requisite 2,000 in-flight hours before performing any of his helicopter scenes.”

These types of action stunts require an expertise that could very well be a matter of life and death.

Technology Behind Aerial Film Production Behind the Scenes: A Case Study in Hollywood Stunts

Technology Behind Aerial Film Production

When it comes to the action stunts needed in many people’s favorite movies, a professional production, stunt, and safety team is needed. Tom Cruise is worth a half billion dollars, so there is definitely no room for error.

Any stunt is dangerous, but when you combine action stunts with heights, tough terrain, and unpredictable weather conditions, the stakes are raised. Technology in the aerial film production space is innovative.

For example, one of the Mission Impossible: Fallout stunts required Craig O’Brien, a veteran aerial photographer to hurl himself out of a plane equipped with a 20-pound IMAX camera to capture the HALO jump scene.

This begs the question, what does an aerial film production team need in place to get the shot, and get it ideally the first time around? A professional aerial film production team should have:

  •     FAA certification specific to film and television production
  •     Variety of aircraft and crew that is highly experienced
  •     Certified and qualified airdrop, parachuting, and low altitude operations
  •     Aircraft modification abilities to match production needs
  •     Safety team with highly trained crew at the ready

A strong aerial film production company should also have a good resume. Work on other movies, television series, and networks, like the Discovery Channel for instance can be beneficial.

on location stunts Behind the Scenes: A Case Study in Hollywood Stunts

Are Dangerous, Aerial, On Location Stunts Needed?

The death defying stunts actors, like Tom Cruise pursue in films do make scenes more authentic. We have all seen not so lookalike stunt stand-ins pop up from a scene on the big screen. It does ruin the authenticity of the film a bit.

However, at what price? The on location stunts are dangerous, and really, anything can go wrong. But there is something about knowing that these scenes are real that makes the movie more powerful.

This could be why Mission Impossible: Fallout crushed the box office, with ticket sales higher than any other MI movie. The marketing assets real, on location stunts provide are indeed worth it. When Cruise broke his ankle in the London scene, it created a buzz around the movie that we all love.

Other films being shot against a green screen in a studio may not be what the audience wants anymore. But actors disagree, and so would the stunt professionals that would be out of a job.

“A stunt guy pads up and goes through a wall. That’s his profession. Every time the profession’s mixed, I don’t want to risk 80 people’s jobs just so I can say I have big nuts. I don’t want to say that. Norm Mora is my stunt man, that’s his profession,” actor Danny Trejo told Mirror in an interview.

Wrapping Up . . .

If there are professional crews in place to ensure safety remains a priority, maybe it’s good actors provide the audience with more real action. Tom Cruise has certainly come a long way from his Maverick Top Gun stunts, but surely an aerial film production team wouldn’t let him get in a fighter plane seat and take off. What do you think, should actors do their own stunts?

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