The history of the stuntman is closely linked to that of cinema.
The stunt profession is thought to be relatively recent but by watching at this video you can easily see that as early as 1940 there were already really reckless people.
According to Guiness World Records, the first was Frank Hanaway, who landed a part in the film The Great Train Robbery (1903) for his ability to fall off his horse without injuring himself.
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“Reckless” extras there had certainly already been, but this is considered the first professional role.
At first, the stunt performers were used above all in slapstick comedy: they were clowns, acrobats, circus artists capable of falling, during the gags, without consequences.
The great Buster Keaton, in vaudeville shows, was already appreciated for his skills as a stuntman, skills that he also maintained in his films, without using stunts.
Over time, the use of professionals for dangerous sequences has spread more and more: it served to have a realistic effect and to save actors and actresses from any injuries.
In today’s cinema, where action scenes are certainly not lacking, there are stars who give life directly to their stunts like Jackie Chan or Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, even if he has paid the consequences of breaking his leg, and other actors who instead prefer to be replaced.
Some fear that technology could make this profession disappear: in fact, CGI acronym for “computer-generated imagery”, eliminates the risk, but there are still directors who prefer the effect of a real shot.
The profession was rescued by Quentin Tarantino that relaunched it, in his latest Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Brad Pitt plays the role of stuntman of Leonardo di Caprio.
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