Why Hollywood stuntmen think The Matrix changed everything

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Matrix producer Joel Silver changed the rules of the game and made Hollywood stunt history when he traveled to China to beg reluctant action director Yuen Wo-Ping to choreograph the fighting for the film, according to an informal poll by author Kevin Conley.

Conley, who went behind the scenes with the stunt performers who make sure our favorite stars don't break their necks to research his book The Full Burn: On the Set, at the Bar, Behind the Wheel, and Over the Edge With Hollywood Stuntmen, wrote in Salon that "Wo-Ping set ridiculous demands in the hopes that Silver would just go away: a huge budget, a ridiculous salary, and six months of training with the actors and stuntmen. Much to his surprise, Silver agreed to everything, and when the series became a blockbuster, the practice of hiring stuntmen for lengthy training and rehearsal periods took off."

Other flicks admired by Hollywood stuntmen include Crank, the three installments of the Bourne trilogy and the Thai action movie Ong-Bak.