Guy Ritchie announced in a new interview with Newsweek that he is no longer using real guns on his film sets following the October 2021 “Rust” shooting, in which cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by a prop gun filled with real bullets. Ritchie is a veteran of the action movie genre, with the majority of his films prominently featuring firearms and bombastic shootouts. His latest directorial effort, “The Covenant,” was filmed with Airsoft pellet weapons in place of real guns.
“The Covenant” stars Jake Gyllenhaal as U.S. Army sergeant John Kinley, who returns to Afghanistan in an effort to rescue an interpreter named Ahmed (Dar Salim) from the Taliban. The two men became close years earlier when Ahmed served as John’s interpreter during the height of the War in Agahnistan. Ahmed saved John’s live during the war, so John sets out on a mission to do the same. Suffice to say, guns and shootouts are a plenty in the film.
“I generally feel like that’s more of a question for the producers, just because those are the choices that they make, but we used Airsoft weaponry on this,” Gyllenhaal told Newsweek when asked about gun safety on film sets. “It allowed for a creative freedom, particularly as we were moving in the way guys shoot, so everything was safe.”
Richie added, “That whole thing has changed now, the whole game has changed. We haven’t used a real weapon since [the ‘Rust’ shooting]. So there were no real weapons. It’s the first shoot that we had, which I have to tell you, it’s a tremendous relief for all of us. [Airsoft weapons] look as good as real weapons, they do all the functions as a real weapon. You get a gas discharge. It all seems as authentic as it can be, but as Jake said, it’s Airsoft though. No one can get into any trouble.”
Shootouts have seemingly defined Ritchie’s filmmaking career since the start, when he made a name for himself as the director of 1998’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” The director said he never enjoyed using real guns on set, but it was just how the industry worked until the “Rust” shooting forced a reevaluation.
“I’ve never, I’ve never liked real firearms,” Ritchie said. “I had no idea why we carried on in the industry with real firearms. It was just one of those things that everyone did, and it’s a tremendous relief, as I’m sure it is for Jake, as much as it is for me, that you don’t have that sword hanging over us any longer.”
“The Covenant” opens in theaters nationwide April 21.