Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage recently weighed in on the shooting incident involving Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust, asserting that all actors “need to know how to use a gun.”
“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,” Cage explained during a recent appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s Roundtables when the topic of safety on movie sets was brought up by host and Senior THR Editor, Film, Rebecca Keegan.
“You know, we want to be humble actors but a movie star is a bit of a different, kind of, presentation,” he asserted.
The actor continued, “You need to know how to ride a horse. You need to know how to fight if 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,” Cage further noted, adding that said procedures “are part of the job profiles” and that “the stuntman and the movie star are two jobs that coexist.”
Before concluding his assessment, the actor reiterated, “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.”
Cage has been in quite the handful of action films that have required him to handle guns on set, including all-time classics like Con Air, Face/Off, Kick-Ass, and The Rock – amongst many, many others – and as such, it’s unsurprising that he definitely knows what he’s talking about regarding gun safety on movie sets.
In October of last year, Baldwin shot and killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on the set of his film, Rust.
Ever since the tragic event, the actor has gone on record stating that he does not feel responsible for killing his colleague.
“Someone is responsible for what happened and I can’t say who that is,” declared the disgraced actor in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos a little over a month after the on-set shooting. “But I know it’s not me.”
What’s more, when asked whether he was concerned about being criminally charged for killing Hutchins, Baldwin said that he wasn’t, explaining, “I’ve been told by people who are in the know…that it’s highly unlikely that I would be charged with anything criminally.”
However, according to Santa Fe District Attorney Marie Mary Carmack-Altwies, Baldwin’s assessment is not quite accurate, as she clarified that “certain individuals may be criminally culpable for his/her actions and/or inactions on the set of Rust.”
Carmack-Altwies further expressed her intent to “exercise my prosecutorial discretion to its fullest, including filing charges that are supported by probable cause,” as her office juggles “various legal theories at the time.”
The interview with ABC News also saw Baldwin contradicting his own version of the tragic event.
According to Baldwin, who is also one of the film’s producers, he did not cock the gun that killed Hutchins and injured Joel Souza. This assertion stands in direct conflict with his previous statement, wherein he said that he cocked the gun before the hammer went off.
The actor also claims that he didn’t pull the trigger. “It wasn’t in the script for the trigger to be pulled,” he reassured Stephanopoulos. “Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.”
Of the specific moment the gun was discharged, Bladwin recalled, “And I cock the gun and I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’ And she says…and I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off.”
As the interview went on, Baldwin later reassured ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he didn’t actually cock the gun, but rather pulled “the hammer as far back as I could without cocking the actual [gun].”
What do you make of Cage’s comments on the Rust set shooting? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below or on social media.