Adam McKay knows how quickly things can happen on a film set.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Wednesday, McKay was asked about the fatal accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film “Rust.”
The “Don’t Look Up” director said that an accident like that was “my greatest single fear as a producer and a director,” and spoke about a “really scary” incident that happened on one of his own sets.
“We had like a near accident on the set of ‘Anchorman 2,’” McKay said. “It was involving Will [Ferrell], and it was really scary. It was a scene where Ron Burgundy was going to hang himself. It was a silly joke.”
“For a half a second, the rig didn’t operate properly and there was actual tension on the rope, but then it gave way and Will was OK,” the director said. “Thank God no one was hurt. We were sick about it for two days. We said, ‘All right, let’s stop. Let’s have a meeting.’”
There was also a potentially risky incident involving a real bear on the set of the first “Anchorman” movie that also led to major changes on McKay’s sets.
“The bear did a hint of a bluff charge for a second,” McKay said. “From that moment on, I said, ‘I will never put a live animal in a shot with an actor ever again.’ So every time I do it, it’s a composite shot because it’s not worth it.”
As for the “Rust” shooting, McKay said that the “set sounded sloppy and dangerous,” as Hutchins was killed by a live round of ammunition, which should not have been in a gun onset.
The director said that he uses blanks on his sets and “everything is quadruple-checked.”
“No one is ever in front of that pointed gun, and the chamber is triple-checked,” he said. “When I heard what happened, I was like, ‘How could that possibly have happened?’”
After the shooting, many in Hollywood addressed the fatal accident and talked about the changes they’ll make on the sets of their movies to ensure better safety for actors and crew members.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said that on the set of his productions, he would stop using real guns.
“I can tell you, without an absence of clarity here, that any movie that we have moving forward with Seven Bucks Productions — any movie, any television show, or anything we do or produce — we won’t use real guns at all,” the actor told Variety in November.
“We’re going to switch over to rubber guns, and we’re going to take care of it in post,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to worry about the dollars; we won’t worry about what it costs.”