‘The Rookie’ Showrunner Opens Up About Not Using Live Guns on Set

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

Alexi Hawley, showrunner of “The Rookie,” recently said they have used less gunfire “over the course of the show.”

Hawley told TVLine that the show has used “digital gunfire.” The day after the recent “Rust” movie tragedy in New Mexico, the cop drama’s producers announced they would ban realistic guns from the set.

“Rookie” Opted For Fake Guns With Movie Effects

The show has used squibs as a safe, practical effect. Other options have included AirSoft weapons that make trigger sounds with no projectiles. Hawley also said the post-production work has also included cartridges with movie effects.

“The reality is that we had been doing less and less real blank gunfire,” Hawley said.

He elaborated that the show’s pilot episode involved Officer Tim Bradford and Lucy Chen using “practical weapon shooting blanks,” but production has moved away from that.

“We do most of the VFX in-house now, so we’re not even paying for muzzle flash anymore,” Hawley said. “So there’s no reason to use practical weapons.”

“Rookie” Decision to Ban Guns on Set

The Hollywood Reporter reported back in October about the show’s decision

Hawley told ABC executives that production would no longer use quarter or half loads while filming the drama, now in its fourth season. The show had used these guns over the past two seasons.

The magazine noted that Emmy-winning effect artist Nick Sinnott backed Hawley’s comments about not having real guns. In a Twitter post from October, Sinnott said gun muzzle flashes were “the easiest thing” to add in post-production because “video can’t even capture them correctly.” 

Movie star Dwayne Johnson backed “The Rookie” decision, saying his Seven Bucks Production company would trade real guns for plastic guns. He told Variety magazine about the decision at his recent “Red Notice” premiere.

Judge Ruled ‘Rust’ Assistant Director Must Interview

Last week, “Rust” assistant director Dave Halls was ordered to interview with state safety inspectors about his role in the October tragedy.

Halls handed actor Alec Baldwin the gun that tragically killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the Oct. 21 shooting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set near Santa Fe. The bullet also hit director Joel Souza, but the man recovered.

Halls has declined to interview with officials until a criminal investigation into the shooting is complete. Baldwin has said that he did not know the gun had a live round in it. 

The “Rust” tragedy was not the first movie set to have gun-related issues. 

According to a CNBC article and Occupation Safety and Health Administration data, 47 fatalities among 250 film production accidents occurred over the last 31 years. 

These numbers come from car accidents, injuries sustained from heavy equipment, and scaffolding falls in these productions.