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Safety on set: Is the spectacle worth it?

Written by TV

 

Although it may seem all glamorous with the fame, fortune, and glorious opportunities to play a wide range of different characters, acting is often not all it’s made out to be. In reality, it can be an extremely dangerous job and more intense than any of us could imagine.

As directors and producers are competing with one another to gain a whole plethora of awards, every TV series attempts bigger and better things with every new release. From absurdly dangerous stunts to the most explicit and sexual scenes, millions of actors are forced to put themselves in compromising situations in which they could come away from filming with a strained body part, bruises all over, or a profound sense of embarrassment after being given hugely uncomfortable demands while filming a sex scene.

[pullquote]there is still an increasing risk on-set[/pullquote]

Despite this, there are in fact health and safety measures put in place to ensure the well-being of actors. For example, with the help of stunt doubles, the dangerous scenes certain roles may demand are made much easier as experts come in to do what the other actors cannot manage, or help train them if they are adamant on doing the stunts themselves. Yet, even as these stunt doubles take on the more dangerous and demanding elements of acting, it is still a risky field. It has been known for stunt doubles to get injured, and in the past years there have been incidents where stunt doubles – due to the level of risk involved in their work – have died. We may be safeguarding our favourite celebrities, but who is safeguarding the stunt doubles?

And then there’s the sex scenes. Take Game of Thrones as an example; when fan-favourite character Cersei Lannister was forced to do the walk of shame, naked for almost at least twenty minutes of an episode, producers brought in a body double to protect and safeguard actress Lena Headey. Thanks to the work of Rebecca van Cleave, the scene was performed as if it was Lena herself. Doubles are not the only protective regulation put in place for these explicit scenes either. For example, actors are often given a genital guard that they can attach to themselves so it appears as if the two actors are actually having sex, when in reality they are not.

While due to the work of many body and stunt doubles we are able to protect and ensure the safety of many actors and actresses in the film industry, there is still an increasing risk on-set to these specialists. And let us not forget about the dangers of the set in general: the amount of equipment; the crowding of everyone working together to make it work. Acting, ultimately, is a lot more dangerous and risk-involved than you may first imagine.

Last modified: 14th November 2018

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