Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about stunt performance. For other uses of the term, see Stunt (disambiguation).
A stunt is an unusual and difficult physical feat, or any act requiring a special skill, performed for artistic purposes in theatre or cinema. Stunts are a big part of many action movies. Before computer generated imagery special effects, there was no way of achieving these effects, except by using stunt performers who really would jump from car to car or hang from the edge of a skyscraper.
One of the most-frequently used practical stunts is stage combat. Rather than actually striking an opponent, the actors stand a little farther away from each other. With learned skills and the careful placement of actors and the audience (in theatre) or the movie cameras (in film), one can hardly tell that the actors are not actually hitting one another.
- Tripping and falling down
- Fake fighting
- Fake blood
- High jump
A physical stunt is usually performed with help of mechanics. For example, if the plot requires the hero to jump to a high place, the film crew could put the actor in a special harness, and use piano wire to pull him up. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) is a kung-fu movie that was heavily reliant on wire stunts.
- Wire stunts
Vehicular stunts usually require extensive training at a stunt driving school or a private instructor if it's not an automobile. Automotive stunts are usually employed recklessly in movies involving crashes which ensue an explosion. Please see the following articles for inward stunts.
- automotive maneuvers
- skateboarding tricks
- bicyle stunts
Computer generated effects
In the late 20th century, though, stunt men were placed in dangerous situations less and less as filmmakers turned to relatively inexpensive (and much safer) computer graphics effects using harnesses, fans, blue- or green screens, and a huge array of other devices and digital effects. The Matrix (1999) is a hit action movie that used CGI stunts extensively.
- Face replacement
- Wire removal
Stars who do stunts
In the early days of cinema, some actors such as Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin did most of their own physical stunts. However, as these performances were usually very dangerous and many movie stars were not so athletic, filmmakers and insurance companies turned to hiring stunt doubles to do the stunts.
Most action movie actors today use stunt doubles, though some of them do a few of their own stunts to please movie fans. One famous exception to this norm has been Jackie Chan from Hong Kong, although he has recently admitted to using digitized effects in his movies. Phanom Yeerum, an actor who is highly skilled in Muay Thai, also does all his stunts without assistance.
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