There’s something frightening to consider about the recent Rust shooting: there are probably many other on-set incidents just like it that came close to causing such tragedy; fake prop guns have been used throughout Hollywood history.
The director recalled that, in order to make it as realistic as possible, he asked Elba to lean into a prop gun that Denzel Washington’s character Frank was shooting into Elba’s character Tango’s head.
“(Frank is) in the cafe and he says, ‘Just stay here’ and he goes out and all his brothers are watching, and he goes down the street and Idris Elba is standing there saying, ‘Hey, what are you going to do, shoot me, Frank? Go on, shoot me Frank in front of all these people.’ And he just goes boom and shoots him on the spot,” Scott explained.
“What happened was I said to Idris, ‘Listen, when he puts the gun to your head, lean on the gun.’ Because, by the way, this is a gun with a solid barrel; there is no aperture. I would never risk it,” Scott said. “But when you pull the trigger there’s a recoil. There’s no blank, nothing. So I said, ‘I want you to lean on the gun.’
When the fake prop gun then went off, Elba immediately fell to the floor, genuinely believing he had been shot due to the way it discharged. “He pulled the trigger and it goes bang,” Scott remembered. “Idris thought he’d been shot and dropped to the sidewalk and said, ‘I’ve been shot!'” Thankfully Elba was fine and the filming continued as before.
The only positive development to come from the fatal shooting on the set of Rust is the increased discussion of safety protocols surrounding fake prop guns. Many believe guns in any form should be fully banned from being used on sets after the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
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Ridley Scott’s latest film, House of Gucci, is in cinemas now.
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