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WandaVision Background Actors Reportedly Scanned for AI Replicas Without Their Permission

Interviews have shed light on the sentiments of extras regarding the scanning process for AI digital replicas, which is conducted without their consent.

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Interviews have shed light on the sentiments of extras regarding the scanning process for AI digital replicas, which is conducted without their consent.


According to NPR reports, several background actors from the recent season of Disney’s WandaVision have disclosed their experiences of having their bodies and faces scanned for digital models. This process has raised concerns about the potential use of these scans to create AI-powered digital replicas without their consent.

The issue of artificial intelligence being employed to replace actors and performers, including background actors and leads, is a central concern at the core of the SAG-AFTRA strike, posing a significant threat to the entertainment industry.

While the strike began during the summer, it is not surprising to discover that studios have been experimenting with digital scans and AI technology for several months, or even years. The reports include interviews with background actors who have shared their accounts of having their likenesses scanned with little explanation, including incidents occurring on the set of WandaVision season 2.

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AI Replicas on WandaVision

During interviews with NPR, Alexandria Rubalcaba, a background actor who worked on the Disney+ series during the pandemic, revealed her experience of being directed to a trailer for scanning. There, a series of cameras on metal rings behind glass captured various poses and expressions: “Have your hands out. Have your hands in. Look this way. Look that way. Let us see your scared face. Let us see your surprised face,” Rubalcaba recalled during the NPR interview. Many other actors were also brought in for similar recording sessions.

The concerning aspect is that none of the actors were informed about how or if these scans would be utilized or ever appear on screen. As a result, there is no way for Rubalcaba or her fellow actors to ascertain if their scanned likenesses were used, let alone receive any compensation for it.

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Background Actors and AI

Like many other background actors in the industry, Rubalcaba received the SAG-AFTRA union rate of $187 for her work that day. However, she asserts that she never granted permission for any digital replicas of herself to be utilized in any scenes.

NPR conducted interviews with several other background actors who shared similar stories and concerns, spanning from a few years ago leading up to the SAG-AFTRA strike, which commenced earlier in the summer.

While the article acknowledges that scans and digital replicas have been employed in films for some time, especially in various crowd scenes, it is the emergence of AI that poses perhaps the most significant existential threat to the industry.

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The Future of the Industry

The intersection of AI technologies and the entertainment industry remains uncertain, and time will determine the extent of the permissions or restrictions surrounding these technologies. Background actors and performers working on various projects have genuine and valid concerns, which are still not fully comprehended.

Union officials may engage in negotiations to establish specific pay rates concerning the use of digital replicas. The compensation for such usage is a complex matter that requires careful consideration and evaluation. The potential impact on background acting as an art form itself raises questions about its future.

As these issues continue to surface more frequently, it becomes increasingly crucial for them to be addressed and resolved promptly. The future of the entertainment industry hangs in the balance, and proactive action is necessary to safeguard its integrity and ensure fair treatment for all involved parties.

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