In a move that may disappoint the fans who made him one of the most successful action stars in Hollywood history, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has pledged only to use rubber guns on his movie sets in the future.
His announcement comes two weeks after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by gunfire on the set of the Alec Baldwin western "Rust" in New Mexico. The investigations into that incident are ongoing and no explanation for the shooting has been announced, but the accident has set off a firestorm of discussion about the use of working weapons as props in Hollywood movies.
Johnson spoke to "Variety" at the premiere of his upcoming Netflix movie, "Red Notice."
"First of all, I was heartbroken," Johnson said. "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 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.
"We're going to switch over to rubber guns, and we're going to take care of it in post [production]," he said. "We're not going to worry about the dollars; we won't worry about what it costs."
Johnson made his declaration at the premiere of "Red Notice," an action movie that's all about the gunplay from stars Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds.
There's no reaction yet to Johnson's pronouncements from the motion picture stunt or armorer communities. Since the accidental death of Brandon Lee on the set of "The Crow" in 1993, there have been millions of blank rounds fired on movie sets without fatalities.
There are serious questions to be asked about working conditions and safety on low-budget movie productions, but should working methods that have been proven to be successful over generations of filmmaking be abandoned because of one incident on a remote set in New Mexico?
This will be an intense debate set to rage for months, if not years. We've yet to hear much from the men and women who've made their careers creating safe working conditions in the movie industry. We'll plan to check back in a couple of years and see where "The Rock" stands then.
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