“I was shot at several times on set; I don’t recall live ammunition ever being used”
In the course of his cinema and theatre career, Maltese actor Mario Micallef often took part in scenes involving action and shooting. He does not recall, however, that live ammunition was used on set.
Micallef pointed this out in light of the tragic accident on a film set in the US which cost the life of a person in recent days. The actor told tvm.com.mt that when acting he was also extra careful to ensure no one was injured in scenes involving shooting. He added he always insisted on being 100% certain only blanks were used.
Mario Micallef recalled four or five occasions when he had rolled up his sleeves on set when scenes involved shooting. Including when he was in Egypt on the set of ‘Lion of the Desert’, a 1981 release. He spent about six weeks in the Shahad desert and was able to witness strict security as millions of rounds had to be expended.
The actor explained that when on one occasion he had to shoot at someone on the Manoel Theatre stage, he asked the crew to put his mind at rest that blanks were being used, meaning that apart from the noise of the gunshot, only smoke would emerge. He added that on that occasion he had also been helped by a ballistics expert in order to better familiarise himself with the weapon. In preparation for the scene, Micallef recalls firing at a piece of wood behind the scenes.
The actor said there were scenes where he had been shot at. On one occasion, a quarter-inch plank had biex tied to his chest together with a bullet, so that in the event of penetration, the thickness would prevent injury.
Micallef described the tragic accident that befell Halyna Hutchins as unfortunate, adding that he expected a serious, detailed and transparent inquiry to establish what had led to the death of a mother and injury to the film director.
According to reports in the international media, at least six camera operators who had been on the set of the film ‘Rust’ in New Mexico had left the set in protest hours before the accident, as they did not feel there was sufficient security during the shooting of scenes involving shooting. It is also being reported that during the shooting of this film there was at least one other occasion where protagonists fired live rounds.