WandaVision: Disney has created digital stunt doubles for several extras

WandaVision: Disney has created digital stunt doubles for several extras

Without a bonus on their salary, nor without telling them how these images will be used in the future.

The writers’ and actors’ strike that is currently taking place in Hollywood does not only concern a general increase in salaries: it also militates for a framework for the use of artificial intelligence.

Among other issues, the question of the digital image of extras is being raised, and NPR details what happened to a dozen supporting actors on the show Wanda Vision to point out one of the problems encountered on major shoots at the moment.

Studios and streamers consider turning to AI during writers’ strike

Taking the example of Alexandria Rubalcaba, a 47-year-old actress hired for $ 187 a day to do extra work on this huge Marvel series, they reveal that a dozen actors were completely scanned for about fifteen minutes, without knowing how their digital image would be used by Disney studios afterwards. And without receiving a bonus on their salary.

Brought in a trailer specially equipped for this kind of scan, they had to take different poses and expressions: “They said to us: ‘Raise your hands, lower them, look this way, then that way, show us your scared or surprised look.’Once the scan was done, they assumed that these images would be used to create crowds in the background of the series, given that it was filmed during the confinement and the number of extras was then limited. But the actress assures that she never gave permission for this. Nor so that its digital image is then reused in other programs of the firm. “What will happen if I refuse to appear in Mario Vision Or SarahVision ?, she wonders. I fear that artificial intelligences of this kind end up killing the profession of background actors. Soon they won’t need us at all.”

The question is relevant: could these CGI doubles be reused forever? This is one of the issues that must be settled between the studios and the unions, which are asking that the use of AI be regulated. Because their massive use could increase the precariousness of the actors, many of whom are far from earning millions of dollars. Fran Drescher, the star actress of the series A nanny from helland who is now the president of SAG-AFTRA, explained to the New York Times by joining the strike that out of the 160,000 members of the actors’ union, 86% earned less than 26,000 dollars per year (about 24,000 euros).

The question of the use of the digital image also challenges stars, subjected to this same type of scan. Samuel L. Jackson recently warned his young colleagues, he whose image was recorded by the same Disney studios in Mace Windu’s costume for Star Wars and as Nick Fury for Marvel. Donald Glover, the new interpreter of Lando Calrissian, has also expressed his fears at the idea of ​​being able to “play” this character to infinity, even after his death, thanks to his digital understudy created during the filming of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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The phenomenon is not new, since Robin Williams, who died in 2014, had stipulate in his will that he did not want his image to be used in films, series and/or advertisements until 25 years after his disappearance. This process has been making noise lately, faced with its increasingly developed use in Hollywood, which raises questions of intellectual property, as well as moral questions. A “cameo” of The Flash caused a scandal, because it was created 100% digitally in “tribute” to a comedian who has been dead for several decades.

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