The death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the indie-Western movie sparked a debate in Hollywood about whether real guns have any place on a movie set in an age where it is so easy to use fake guns and add things like muzzle flare in post-production.
Cage appeared in a roundtable discussion with fellow actors Peter Dinklage, Andrew Garfield, Jonathan Majors and Simon Rex for The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week. At one point, the moderator mentioned the tragic accident and asked the panel where they land on the debate about firearms on movie sets. That’s when Cage explained that he believes it is an actor’s responsibility to be educated in the use of guns as part of their craft.
“I don’t want to cast blame anywhere, but I do think, and I’m not talking about anybody, but people don’t like the word movie star. We want to be humble actors. But a movie star is a bit of a different kind of presentation because you need to know how to ride a horse,” he explained. “You need to know how to fight. You’re going to do fight scenes. You need to know how to ride a motorcycle. You need to know how to use a stick shift and drive sports cars, and you do need to know how to use a gun. You do. You need to take the time to know what the procedure is. Those are part of the job profiles.”
He continued by noting that there is a place in production for stunt people to take over and handle the really dangerous stuff that requires outside expertise.
“Now, the stuntman and the movie star are two jobs that co-exist, they co-exist,” he concluded. “Every stuntman needs to be a movie star and every movie star needs to be a stuntman. That’s just part of the profile… And that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Alec Baldwin was holding a real gun on the set of “Rust” that he was led to believe was loaded with inactive dummy rounds. While setting up a scene with Hutchins and director Joel Souza, Baldwin drew the weapon and reportedly cocked back the hammer, causing it to go off and discharge a live round that should never have been on the set of the movie in the first place. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin noted that he had worked with firearms on countless movie sets in the past and felt he knew how to handle them.
When he was finished speaking, Majors complimented Cage for making his point about actors and stunt people so eloquently and agreed with the sentiment himself.
Meanwhile, “Game of Thrones” and “Cyrano” star, Dinklage, noted that there is a responsibility on behalf of the industry to make sure something like this never happens again.
“It can be avoided because look at what you can do with movies,” Dinklage explained “You know that also calls into question, are there too many guns in movies? We’ve all held guns in movies, probably, and I always think about that being anti-gun myself, but the character isn’t. That’s a very complicated thing. But that made it very clear that there has to be change, like, now. One hundred percent.”