Nicolas Cage Talks About The “Rust” Shooting, Says Actors Need To Know How To Use A Gun
We’re all still trying to figure out what went wrong on the New Mexico set of the western film Rust, in which a gun held by Alec Baldwin discharged and injured director Joel Souza and tragically killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The authorities are still in the middle of an investigation to see if they can piece together what happened (outside of Alec Baldwin’s continuing public testimony that whatever happened, he’s 100% not at fault). But there have been lots of opinions about what should have/could have/would have happened had there been better supervision or training on set. Everyone has their thoughts on the matter, including Nicolas Cage. And while he wouldn’t point fingers directly, he does believe that it’s an actor’s responsibility to know how to safely discharge a weapon.
Because it’s awards season and he’s been getting some Oscar buzz and several nominations for his movie Pig, Nicolas Cage recently sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for their annual serious thespians Roundtable series. Nicolas Cage shot the acting shit with other such Oscar buzzy types as Peter Dinklage (for Cyrano), Andrew Garfield (for Tick, Tick…Boom!, and The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Jonathan Majors (for The Harder They Fall), and Simon Rex (for Red Rocket). They were all asked about the fatal Rust shooting, specifically the conversation surrounding on-set safety in the wake of that tragedy. Peter Dinklage said that it was everyone’s responsibility to make sure such a thing “never happens again,” and adds that there’s so much that can be done in movies to avoid even having live guns present. Andrew Garfield said it’s kind of a “no brainer” to do what needs to be done to avoid on-set deaths.
That’s when Nicolas Cage chimed in, with what kind of comes across as just a teeny-tiny subtle drag of Alec Baldwin. Nic says that a movie star should know how to do certain things to be good at their job. Kind of like how I should technically be able to write without crashing spellcheck every 10 minutes (I’m working on it). One such thing is knowing how to use a gun properly so that there are no “Whoopsies, the gun just went off” situations. via THR:
“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. 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.
Now, the stunt man and the movie star are two jobs that coexist. Every stunt man needs to be a movie star, and every movie star needs to be a stunt man. That’s just part of the profile, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Nicolas Cage has recently said that he considers himself a “thespian” and not an actor, but clearly, he takes the job very seriously. Not at all surprising, really. The man will make you truly believe he wants to steal the Declaration of Independence, or that he’s terrified of the bees. But I think it might also have been a bit unfair to ask Nicolas Cage his thoughts on gun safety. And not because his thoughts aren’t valid (they sound completely reasonable, to be honest). Nicolas Cage is one of our last remaining true weirdos. When Nicolas Cage says you should know how to use a gun, he definitely means regular old Glocks and stuff. But Nicolas Cage’s definition of “gun” also probably includes weird 14th-century first gun prototypes, BCE cannons, and guns from the future that haven’t even been invented yet. Nicolas Cage’s gun safety clinic would probably start with a PowerPoint presentation slide that says: “A Ten-Step Overview on Firearms of the Extraterrestrial Space Alien Community.”