George Clooney appeared on this week’s WTF with Marc Maron, and if you’re a fan of the Ocean’s 11 star, it’s a good episode. There’s lots of name-dropping, although I’m not sure if you’d call it that where it concerns a man who regularly pals around with famous people. He says that Ben Affleck — whom he directed in The Tender Bar — is doing very well and absolutely crushed the role in his movie. He says that Tilda Swinton is one of the warmest, funniest women he’s ever known, despite mostly playing ice queens, and that Josh Groban is one of the two funniest people he’s ever known in real life (along with Sacha Baron Cohen). He also talked about the pandemic, parenting, turning 60, and his friendship with the late Sydney Pollack, who was the original director of Out of Sight but begged off when they signed on Clooney because he was a “TV star” (he and his Michael Clayton co-star obviously made amends).
He also spoke at length — and with some experience as both an actor and producer — about the tragedy that took place on the set of Rust. It hit particularly close to home for Clooney because he was “really good friends” with Brandon Lee (Clooney’s cousin, Miguel Ferrer — the oldest son of Rosemary Clooney — was best friends with Lee), as well as another actor killed after a blank gave him a lethal concussion.
“They got the ‘bad guy,’ which is the first AD (David Halls),” Clooney said, “and he may be a dick, but I’ve been on sets for 40 years, and the person who hands you the guns is either the prop person or the armorer. Period.”
“Every time they hand me a gun on the set,” Clooney continues, “I look at it. I open it. I show it to the person I’m pointing it to. I show it to the crew. Every single take. You hand it back to the armorer when you’re done. You do it again. Everyone does it, and part of it is because of what happened to Brandon.”
“Maybe Alec did that. Hopefully, he did do that. But the problem is, dummy (bullets) are tricky because they look like real bullets … and why for the life of me, this low-budget film with producers who haven’t produced anything wouldn’t have hired for the armorer someone with experience … with that many guns.”
“They had live ammo with dummies in her pack, and that is insane. Insane. It is infuriating. We need to be better to make sure that the heads of our departments are experienced at what they’re doing. It’s infuriating.”
“First of all,” Clooney added, “I’ve never heard the term ‘cold gun.’ [Baldwin] said the first AD said ‘cold gun.’ I have never heard that term. Literally, they’re talking about stuff I have never heard of. It’s infuriating. It’s infuriating that you get to a place where this is what you’re skimping on … It’s a terrible accident, but a 24-year-old person with that little experience shouldn’t be heading up a department with guns and bullets.”
Source: WTF with Marc Maron