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Guillermo del Toro prefers not to use real firearms while making movies.
During a conversation for The Hollywood Reporter's "Director Roundtable," the Nightmare Alley filmmaker, 57, discussed the October Rust tragedy when 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed when a gun containing live rounds discharged on the New Mexico set.
Del Toro — the Oscar-winning director behind movies like The Shape of Water, Hellboy and Pacific Rim — explained, "I haven't shot a real gun on a movie set since 2007 or 2008. I don't think it's necessary anymore. I really don't."
"It started with The Devil's Backbone, because we were forbidden to shoot in Segovia [Spain]. We were forbidden to shoot in a forest because the ignition could start a forest fire," he said of making his 2001 movie. "After that, I thought, that is the safest thing you can do, and you can do it almost with a phone app."
"All the paraphernalia that comes with [real guns], you have to put Mylar glass in front of the camera, everybody has to leave the camera crew, everybody has to be protected — you do a whole number," del Toro continued. "And from the practical safety point of view, there's no reason to do it."
The Mexican director acknowledged that "accidents do happen, I've had accidents in my sets."
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"If an accident happens by the confluence of three, four factors that are unpredictable, that's one thing," he said. "But if they happen and there's one or two factors that are preventable, that weighs heavily on the director or producer. But you try to prevent them, and the rest is tragedy, it really is tragedy. And no one can be above to judge."
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Back in December, Alec Baldwin, who held the gun that discharged and killed Hutchins while staging a scene, gave an emotional first interview since the tragedy, telling ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, "I want to make sure that I don't come across like I'm the victim, because we have two victims here. All of what happened that day leading up to this event was precipitated on one idea, and that idea is that Halyna and I had something profound in common. That is we both assumed the gun was empty, other than those dummy rounds."
Several actors and directors have spoken out about on-set safety and precautions in the months since the incident, including Dwayne Johnson, who said when it comes to "any movie, any television show or anything we do or produce" with his production company "we won't use real guns at all."