How Hollywood insurers may adapt to actor deaths

How Hollywood insurers may adapt to actor deaths | Insurance Business America

How Hollywood insurers may adapt to actor deaths
The recent death of Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman won’t halt production on the final “Hunger Games” film, but losses will still have to be covered by the production’s insurer and—given the method the crew may adapt to Hoffman’s death—one Hollywood producer foresees a not-too-distant future in which insurers guard against the deaths of key actors.

Rob Legato, the effects supervisor with “The Wolf of Wall Street,” told the Hollywood Reporter he has no knowledge of the “Hunger Games” production status, but said one way to account for the tragic loss of Hoffman is to recreate his image digitally.

“These days, the technology of using someone’s likeness is a whole lot easier to do,” Legato said. “I won’t say you could generate a Philip Seymour Hoffman with all the acting ability, but you could certainly replicate him for a shot or two.”

Legato further predicted that in the future, insurers covering the cast of major films may require actors to be scanned and have their facial expressions recorded before filming.

“In case something like this does happen,” he said. “And it seems to have happened quite a bit lately.”

This new risk management technique may increase the cost of entertainment insurance, which is already breathtakingly high. The shampoo brand Head & Shoulders has said it will take out a $1mn insurance policy on just the hair of its spokesman, Pittsburgh Steelers player Troy Polamalu, before starting production.

Hoffman’s death follows the shocking passing of Paul Walker who was filming “Fast and the Furious 7.” In this case, the insurer will likely have to issue a much higher payout: Production on the movie was halted and has not been resumed.