Luca Ricci: «We use modified weapons and blank cartridges. I struggle to understand the dynamics of this accident “
«With us such a thing could not happen. And even knowing the differences between American and European sets, I find it hard to understand the dynamics of this tragedy ». Luca Ricci responds to Courier service on the phone from Romania from the set of Django, the series directed by Francesca Comencini. It is one of the best known gunsmiths of Italian cinema, son of art: since the 1950s his family has been a point of reference for explosions and weapons from different eras, as well as special effects. An endless filmography, including seriality: Nirvana, Gomorrah, The partisan Johnny, Ahab, Criminal novel, Suburra, Zero zero zero, just to name a few titles.
Alec Baldwin hit director of photography Halyna Hutchins with a stage gun on the set of “Rust”. Why does he say it couldn’t happen with us?
«Because in Italy, as in Europe, the controls are rigorous and in fact nothing serious has ever happened. The weapons used in our world are modified
, have occlusions, a through pin is inserted that prevents the bullet from escaping. And before taking them to the sets they must pass the examination of the National Test Bench, a structure which is based in Brescia and regulates the conformity of weapons in Italy, including ours ».
And the bullets?
«They are blank cartridges, different also visually, with a star closure, without the end part of the real ones, which is the one that wounds and kills. And we gunsmiths are required to have a license ».
A firearms license?
“No, an ad hoc qualification, we do exams at the police station for the handling and use of scenic weapons.”
What exactly is your role when shooting a movie or series?
«We rent weapons, even vintage ones, depending on the setting, we take them to the sets, we load them, if necessary, we deliver them to actors or stuntmen before the scene and we instruct them, we explain the operation of guns, rifles, daggers. We recommend that you handle them carefully, point them towards the ground as soon as possible. And we recover them at the end of the shoot ».
Wouldn’t it be safer to use toy guns or real but unloaded weapons, then simulating the shots in post-production?
«The effect is different, you can see it when it’s fake. The actors themselves act in a way that is not as truthful ».
Aren’t there any risks?
“The most that can happen is a few small abrasions. We work in safety. But, mind you, you also need to be careful when the stunt doubles run in the car or climb up ».
One of the most absurd incidents was the one in which Jon-Erik Hexum died, he killed himself playing a 44 Magnum left unattended.
“That can’t be called an accident. It is madness to leave weapons unattended. It is not yet clear what happened on the set of Rust, but it seems to me also in this case that we go beyond the accident, we cannot understand. As far as I know the rules are different, but even if they don’t have strict legislation like ours, they are people of great experience. It is not a Far West ». Yet it was like it was.
October 22, 2021 (change October 23, 2021 | 08:26)