Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter and Brandon Lee’s sister, has penned an essay published by Variety in which she calls for mandatory gun safety training on Hollywood film and television sets and urges the industry to reduce the amount of real firearms used on sets. Lee’s letter comes in the aftermath of the “Rust” tragedy, in which cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed after she was shot by a prop gun fired by star and producer Alec Baldwin. Shannon’s brother, Brandon, died on the set of “The Crow” in March 1993 after being fatally wounded by a prop gun.
“Twenty-eight years after losing my brother, Brandon Lee, to a very similar situation — one that allowed real bullets onto a film set and that made actors into agents of death — I’m finally in a sound enough mental and emotional space to raise my voice,” Lee writes. “So here goes. And I don’t take or want credit for these ideas, by the way. I’m just the sympathetic character who gets the good lines.”
“Could we require actors to receive mandatory gun safety training before handling a gun on a film set so that they can have some sovereignty over their safety and the safety of those they are pointing a firearm at?” Lee asks. “Could the person in charge of safety on a film set not be the same person in charge of making sure the production runs on time and on budget so there are no conflicts of interest or cutting of corners? Could a seasoned and competent gun safety specialist be required to be on set any time a real firearm is being used — even just for one setup? And could that specialist be the only person to handle the weapons and hand them to the actors?”
Lee continues, “Could we consider a shift away from using real firearms on sets as much as possible? And could we think of this shift as innovation rather than punishment?…I think Jon-Erik Hexum, Brandon Lee and Halyna Hutchins’ lives are worth the consideration. Let’s end this drama with an on-screen card about how the community came together to make change and there wasn’t another gun-related injury or death in Hollywood ever again. The End. Because absolutely no one wants the remake rights to this tragedy.”
Industry-wide calls to ban firearms on film and television sets have skyrocketed following Hutchins’ death. Showrunners behind “The Rookie” and “The Boys” have already gone on record banning firearms with blanks on set. While gun safety training is mandatory for all union prop masters and prop assistants, it is not currently required of all cast and crew on a set.
Head over to Variety’s website to read Shannon Lee’s essay in its entirety.