Why are real weapons still used in movie shoots?

The tragedy of the filming of Rust, which claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins, has put the use of real weapons in the United States at the center of the debate.

Last week the tragedy occurred in the filming of Rust, the western starring and produced by Alec Bardwin.

The actor was wielding a prop gun, which should have been loaded with blank ammunition, when he fired in the direction of the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins and the director Joel Souza.

The shot killed Hutchins and wounded Souza, causing tremendous consternation around the world and launching a question that has been haunting the film industry for days: Are real weapons needed on film sets?


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During the weekend a petition reached change.org for the industry to establish a ban on real guns on film sets, a request that at the time of writing these lines has more than 61,000 signatories.

The debate has also started for the different states to establish a forceful legislation against the use of weapons on the sets, starting with California.

But we cannot forget that, unfortunately, it is not the first similar accident to happen on a film set, and there are many who remember the similar case that he suffered. Brandom Lee in the filming of The Raven.

On the set of the 1990s film, Lee, son of the legendary Bruce Lee, was hit by a bullet from a prop gun that must have also been loaded with blank ammunition, but contained lethal ammunition.

Perhaps now, due to the impact of social networks, this new tragedy has caused criticism and petitions to ignite the debate.

We at Hobby Consolas are going to analyze the two points of view, both for those who defend the use of real weapons in filming, and those who demand its ban.

HOW UNNECESSARY REAL WEAPONS ARE IN THE CGI ERA

A question that many of you have asked at the time when the tragedy of the filming of Rust it was what a real weapon was doing on a set, and in the hands of an actor.

Most highlight the fact that in an era where computer generated imagery (CGI) is capable of bringing dragons to life, as in Game of Thrones O Shang-Chi and the legend of the Ten Rings, doing the shooting effects should be as simple as possible.

That same appreciation is being shared by filmmakers and directors on the web. Erik Kripke, creator of The Boys, pledged never to use live or blank ammunition on set.

Kripke’s tragedy “touches closely”, since one of the protagonists of Rust, Jensen Ackles, is part of the cast of the third season of The Boys.

Another filmmaker who points out how unnecessary guns are on set is Craig Zobel, showrunner of Mare of Easttown, the thriller of HBO starring Kate Winslet.

Zobel points out that all of the shots seen in Mare of Easttown are completely digital, underscoring the unnecessary risk of having real guns on a film set.

Although it is true that most cases do not have fatal consequences, such as the tragedy of Rust and the death of Halyna Hutchins, gun-related accidents are unfortunately common.

Cases of weapons fired by mistake, material breakage or minor injuries after a weapon was accidentally fired are not uncommon.

On the other hand, it is important to note that a shoot, with the rush, nerves and stress that accumulates, is not the most advisable place to have weapons with live ammunition.

TRADITION, ECONOMY AND REALISM AGAINST THE DIGITAL

We go to the other side of the table to study the opposite point of view on the use of real weapons in film and television shoots.

First of all, and because we have previously forgotten to quote it, we have to point out that whenever there are real weapons on a film set there is a specialist gunsmith in production.

This person is in charge of guarding and loading the weapons, and his person bears the greatest responsibility for the improper or accidental use of the weapons.


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Through NBC News we know the declarations of Anna Halberg, producer of science fiction projects and some large-scale films.

Halberg defends the use of real weapons on film sets arguing, mainly, the budgetary and time savings that they imply compared to the CGI.

The production company explains that not all productions have Marvel’s massive budgets to allocate to CGI, and that many films and series go against the clock, especially those destined for television.

The post also recalls the words of Dave Brown, filmmaker and weapons instructor who in 2019 said that the realism of a real gun loaded with blank ammunition is not achieved otherwise.

Brown’s words refer, among other things, to the reaction actors have when they pull the trigger and feel the shot, from the recoil to the detonation itself.


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Preferences for verisimilitude in a film or television production is very important for filmmakers, and it is a factor that they tend to defend at all costs.

In most countries, this debate would have lasted a day, settling with the ban on weapons at the legislative level, but most of you know that one of the most controversial issues in the North American country is precisely gun control.

It is very likely that the industry will see substantial changes in the medium term in this matter, especially due to the impact that this type of situation has on insurers, but also because the value of a human life should always take precedence over how good a shot looks on the screen.

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Why are real weapons still used in movie shoots?