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There's a pretty awesome scene in "The Fate of the Furious"
where Jason Statham fights a bunch of armed mercenaries on an airplane
while holding an adorable baby in a carrier.
I've always wondered how babies end up in situations like this.
What kind of hoops do you have to jump through to cast babies in Hollywood?
You were gonna shoot a baby?
You sick bastard.
Besides babysitting, delivering newspapers, and, uh, wreath making, show business is the only industry that can legally employ children under the age of 14.
In fact, they've been in movies almost since the birth of cinema.
I hate myself so much.
Casting a baby isn't as simple as casting a grown up actor though.
For one: they don't have to get their shift at Starbucks covered to go to an audition, but mostly because there are some special rules producers have to follow when casting an infant.
For example, in California, babies can only be on set for two consecutive hours per day,
with actual work not exceeding 20 minutes “under any circumstances.”
The state's child labor laws also require that babies be at least 15 days old to be eligible for a work permit,
which is good news for babies who can just chill during their literal first days on earth,
but not so good for productions that have scenes with newborns
because the thing is, if you've ever seen a baby that's two weeks old,
you know that they don't exactly look like a newborn anymore.
In order to get past this hurdle, productions often try to cast preemies,
who look newborn even when they're the required minimum of 15 days old,
and in a lot of places outside of California that's perfectly legal.
In 16 states there are actually zero regulations regarding minimum age for baby employment in films
and many other states have laws that are pretty lax.
In New Jersey for example a month-old baby can work five hours a day, five days a week
and in Louisiana they can be employed six hours a day, six days a week.
That's more hours than I worked when I bagged groceries after I graduated college
and no, I do not want to talk about it.
Most states also do nothing to protect the money that babies make.
Only a few places follow the Coogan Law,
which requires that child actors be set up with a blocked trust account to protect their earnings.
The law is named after Jackie Coogan,
an early 20th century child actor who was in a number of Charlie Chaplin films

including the American classic "The Kid".
As a child actor he reportedly earned as much as $4 million,
but his parents squandered all his money by the time he became an adult.
Because of his s***ty parents, moms and dads in these states are required to
set aside 15 percent of their minor's income in a Coogan account,
which the child can access at the age of 18.
Shooting with babies can be complicated, but the film industry has a way of working around it.
I would say 90 to 95 percent of jobs for babies and toddlers are exclusive to twins and triplets
because two babies can play one character.
So there's two advantages there.
Number one you can have them both come to set at the same time.
So if Twin A gets fussy they can call in Twin B
and they can use the babies back and forth.
And the other thing is sometimes production will split their call times
so they'll have one baby come in let's say at 9:00 in the morning,
have another baby come in at 2:00 in the afternoon.
And so it extends their day.
Also half of all twins and almost all triplets are born premature,
so productions get more working hours and they look newborn.
Sean Penn had a different solution.
He directed a movie that nobody saw called "The Last Face"
where they put out a casting call for a one day old baby.
Since they were shooting in South Africa, where you can cast minors with the permission of the Department of Labour.
It was totally legal.
Babies in show biz probably rake in big bucks right?
Unfortunately… not.
Babies obviously can't talk,
so they are usually classified as an "under 5",
a term that refers to an actor with less than five lines.
It's interesting because you can have a baby who is a recurring character on a TV show and has a name that the public can relate to.
But a lot of those babies are only getting paid between 200 and 300 dollars a day.
So babies don't really make a ton of money.
And casting them sounds like kind of a nightmare -
are there any other options?
Cut to American Sniper:
Not all of them are as fake as this one,
but plenty of productions resort to using fake babies,
at least for part of the shoot.
Tend to my daughter please, right now!
It is quite common that you know they'll use fake babies for the far away scenes
and then you know they'll hire a baby when they need a close up shot or a face shot.
And there are robot babies out there that look pretty convincing.
And by convincing I mean terrifying.
I never thought I'd use a Mandy Moore clip in one of my videos but here we go:
They have this one robotic baby.
It's weird guys.
I have two very emotional scenes where I'm talking to a newborn in the hospital
and I go to put my hand on the robotic baby
and it's like vibrating and like making these weird movements.
Babies on screen aren't going away anytime soon.
So until producers find a cheap and easy CGI fix for the baby dilemma,
it looks like they'll have to continue to work within the regulations that are set up.
Or they'll cast demonic robot infants who will destroy us all.
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Where babies in movies come from

23741 Folder Collection
Rachel Kung published on February 12, 2018    Rachel Kung translated    Evangeline reviewed
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