In the aftermath of the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust, Red Notice star Dwayne Johnson has become the latest Hollywood power player to put the use of real firearms on film and TV sets on notice. Speaking with Variety at the premiere of his upcoming Netflix blockbuster action film, the actor and producer behind such firepower-heavy films as Skyscraper and Rampage vowed that rubber guns would be the rule going forward for all of the projects made under his Seven Bucks Productions banner.
“I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you, without an absence of clarity here, that any movie that we have moving forward with Seven Bucks Productions — any movie, any television show, or anything we do or produce — we won’t use real guns at all,” Johnson told Variety, referencing the fact that visual effects artists can replicate gunshots in post-production. “We’re going to switch over to rubber guns, and we’re going to take care of it in post. We’re not going to worry about the dollars; we won’t worry about what it costs.”
Johnson also said that he was “heartbroken” by the chain of events that occurred on the Rust set, which culminated in the film’s producer and star, Alec Baldwin, firing the shot that resulted in Hutchins’s death. “We lost a life. My heart goes out to her family and everybody on set. I’ve known Alec, too, for a very long time.”
“I love the movie business,” the actor continued. “There are safety protocols and measures that we have always taken in the movie business and we take very seriously, and these sets are safe sets, and we’re proud of that. But accidents do happen. And when something like this happens of this magnitude, [that is] this heartbreaking, I think the most prudent thing and the smartest thing to do is just pause for a second and really re-examine how you’re going to move forward and how we’re going to work together. Any movie we do that Seven Bucks does with any studio, the rule is we’re not going to use real guns. That’s it.”
Johnson’s decision to prohibit real guns from his sets follows similar choices made by The Rookie showrunner, Alexi Hawley, and Eric Kripke, who oversees the streaming superhero series The Boys. Meanwhile, over 200 members of the American Society of Cinematographers — including Emmy-winner Reed Morano and Oscar-nominee Bradford Young — have signed an open letter calling for a ban on functional firearms on movie and TV sets, and vowing not to work on sets where they are still used.
“We vow to no longer put ourselves and our crew in these unnecessarily lethal situations,” the letter reads. “We have safe alternatives in VFX and non-functional firearms. We won’t sit back and wait for the industry to change. We have a duty to [affect] change within the industry ourselves. Halyna Hutchins was a spirited artist who we know would take action if this tragedy happened to a member of her cinematography community. Please honor her by signing the vow alongside us and by spreading her name.”
Red Notice premieres Nov. 5 in theaters and Nov. 12 on Netflix