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Call To Action: Stunt Industry To Rally In Beverly Hills For An Oscar Category On Wednesday
Photo from the set of Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Courtesy Of Joel Kramer)
Good stories and good acting are key to making any film or TV show notable and watchable. The same goes for action movies, and in that respect, even greater action and stunt work is what's required to sell an action product. Without it, most of our habits wouldn't exist today.
More specifically, it's a field that influenced my interest in online independent action by inspired filmmakers back in the early 2000s as many of the people I've written about on this blog have risen to some major career successes in the field. It's why we enjoy a lot of the Marvel and DC films we see today and enjoy some of the smaller scale productions like Sakamoto Koichi's Broken Path or Dennis Ruel's recently released Unlucky Stars, a fact that still raises a lot of questions among those working today regarding why an Oscar category for Stunts don't exist.
For 25 years to date, the stunt industry has been campaigning for an Oscar category of their own, and it's something that's as important to them, and for good reason. Do they make a lot of money? Sure. However, that amount of income doesn't come without its huge share of risk as many people who perform the feats we enjoy watching have spent their years earning their stripes through more than the usual cuts and bruises. Some of them get badly injured, and have even died on the set of many of the very films we've watched in our lifetime.
Knowing this, you might think they're crazy for doing what they do, and to some mild extent, you're right. It definitely takes some outside-the-box thinking to go out in the world, venture into uncharted territory and do some of the most insane and electrifying things that not a lot of us would want or have interest in doing, and virtually all of them do it for the simple reason that most artists do what they do in general: They love it. Ask anyone of them and they'll tell you the same thing as I myself have yet to meet a stunt professional who would imply having gotten into this field for the check or did it because they were bored. It's a reason similar to why I spent many of my younger years as a pencil artist and doing favors for people with portraits and even winning a few art awards in my time, why I took up improv acting and even singing and songwriting for a time up until I was in college, and why it is I do what I do here on Film Combat Syndicate for the last three years and onward, not having ever seen a check from Google (yet), and having put up with a good number of jerks and liars to meet, greet and support many of the people I write about on this site: I freaking LOVE it.
Forgive me if you feel like you've accidentally stumbled into an online rant. Sure, I'm kind of venting, but you can't argue that the people I'm addressing in my article here don't have a case to make. They do, and they've made it time and time again for close to three decades. The 88th annual Academy Awards show is this Sunday with a number of films, including George Miller's Spring 2015 blockbuster, Mad Max: Fury Road, currently up for possible some Oscar wins of their own, and as of this article, if you go to their website, you won't find a single column attributed to the stunt performance and coordinator field. Not one.
Jackie Chan on the set of Dragon Lord (1982)
As it stands, stunt performers do have some annual award shows of their own, be it the Tarus World Stunt Awards which debuted its commitee a year before its first ceremony in 2001, or events like the SAG Awards for film and TV and the Action On Film festival which is held annually varying in different parts of California as of 2004. Nonetheless, the Academy Awards is where most eyes convene; James Cameron's Titanic made its stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet household names while earning nearly 2.2 billion dollars globally at the box office in 1997. A year later, 57 million people watched as the film took home 11 wins and 14 nominations, making the 70th annual Academy Awards show the most watched event among its shows.
That's 57 million people who will probably don't know the name Sarah Franzl who doubled actress Winslet on Titanic among over 140 other stunt performers and coordinators re-enacting some of the film's memorable moments; This is the same Sarah Franzl who also has work credited in upcoming action thrillers like Ariel Vromen's Criminal and the Idris Elba action starrer, Bastille Day. But more importantly however, this is 57 million people who bring tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to the box office every year to watch and admire their favorite stars and directors.
And so it goes - if you're one of those moviegoers who, like me, watches action films, it is inherently in your best interest to extend your graces to many of the kind people who make what you enjoy so much more fun - People like Franzl and stunt and action directors like Joel Kramer (Furious 7), J.J. Perry (John Wick: Chapter 2), Joey Ansah (Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist), people like Jackie Chan or Sammo Hung and MANY others I write about here at Film Combat Syndicate or include in my weekly Hit List column every Monday.
This is one of the many cases that protestors and folks within the stunt community will be making when they attend the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday afternoon in Beverly Hills with a petition 45,000 signatures strong. Check out the flyer below, and if you're in the neighborhood and love what these people do, come on over and share your support.
The past year or so have lended an ample opportunity to familiarize myself with the work of actor and producer Alexander Nevsky in lieu of his upcoming April 28 U.S. release, Black Rose. The film marks his directorial debut wherein he also stars in a formula slightly different from his usually known action star persona from his film career in Russia, and joined by none other than actress Kristanna Loken.
With the film a little over a week away from its limited theatrical release courtesy of ITN, we've already had the pleasure of sharing questions with one of the film's guest stars, actor Matthias Hues in which he delves deeply into his career history, progression and plans for the future. The same goes for Loken who now takes center stage in this week's interview following Hues which also briefly highlights something interesting about the new movie, as well as a little about herself in the years since making strides as the formidable cybernetic supervillain in Terminator …
It wasn't made clear just to what capacity actress Jeeja Yanin's role in Jesse Johnson's new movie, Triple Threat, would extend at the time when we broke the exclusive back in March. Needless to say that mystery now comes to an end with the Raging Phoenix and Chocolate star donning some serious tactical gear in a new promo photo featuring herself among the antagonists for the new Asian action movie currently in production in Thailand.
Yanin's cohorts as seen below include Ron Smoorenburg and Scott Adkins, Michael Bisping and Michael Jai White outlining the murderous cartel from which leading action stars Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen must protect a billionaire's daughter, played by none other than Celina Jade. SC Films International's own Mike Selby is producing along with Mike Gabrawy and Gary Hamilton of Arclight Films. Actor Chen is also producing the film as will Elliot Tong and Ying Ye with Seng Stunt comprising the stunt team and Tim Man serving as …
The hardcore fanbase cheering on martial arts action star Scott Adkins were vociferous in support of him obtaining a role in the months leading to the seventh installment of the Fast franchise, Furious Seven. Ultimately it never came to fruition, nor did the attempts to cheer him on for the role of Batman as it stands with Ben Affleck having earned his appeal with most fans now in lieu of Justice League and The Batman.
I guess one other question remains now: Could Adkins snag a role this time in the forthcoming ninth installment following the pivot taken in The Fate Of The Furious this month? Well, I guess that will depend on what the studio plans for it first, although to be frank, there's no reason why they shouldn't, and there's plenty of potential to go on. Gray's film still leaves you wanting to learn more about Charlize Theron's role as Cypher, as well as what remains to be seen with the current handling of Statham's portrayal of Decard Shaw next to the …