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Ernie Hudson, like the rest of Hollywood, is reeling from last week’s deadly shooting on the set of Rust where a gun discharged by Alec Baldwin killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins and wounded the film’s director.
The iconic Ghostbusters star knows firsthand about the devastation left in the wake of such a tragedy as he appeared in The Crow, the 1994 film in which Brandon Lee was fatally wounded.
Hudson told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday he was heartbroken for Hutchins’ family and for Baldwin, whom he has known for years after the pair worked on 1985’s Love on the Run.
“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Hudson tells THR. “It bought back a lot of memories of Brandon. We go on, we keep moving forward — but there is always that space in your life. You’re heartbroken. You have no control, but you still have to process it and how do you do that? I am just so heartbroken that anything like that can happen again.”
The son of legendary martial artist and film star Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee was fatally wounded in March 1993 on The Crow set by a prop gun. He was 28. His sister, Shannon, told THR last week that the family supports a growing initiative to ban real guns from sets. Hudson says he also supports that move.
“If that’s the answer, then I would like to see real guns removed from sets,” Hudson concurs. “I don’t think it is necessary to have real guns and live rounds on the set. We have the technology now to put flashes in without the [blank cartridge] rounds. I thought we found a way to do it safer.”
The Rust investigation is ongoing and Hudson notes all the facts need to come out. However, he can speak to being on productions that felt rushed. “The problem is when they start cutting budgets and they start being in a hurry,” he says. “That is what happened on The Crow. They were pushing to get it done. You put lives at risk.”
Hudson also expressed grief for Baldwin, nothing that the late Michael Massee was devastated after he fired the gun that killed Brandon Lee. “There is nothing worse than something like that happening,” Hudson says. “I remember Michael, his life was never the same.”
In The Crow, Hudson plays police Sgt. Daryl Albrecht, who responds to the scene where Brandon Lee’s Eric Draven and Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas) are brutally murdered on Oct. 30, the informal Devil’s Night. Draven rises from the grave with mystical powers a year later to avenge their deaths and seeks the help of Sgt. Albrecht.
“I can’t watch The Crow,” Hudson admits. “It breaks my heart, and I can’t get past it. So much of it was action stuff, but Brandon and I got a chance to act together.”
Noting that one of his favorite scenes in the film is an emotional moment when Draven comes to visit Sgt. Albrecht after he arises from the grave, Hudson laments: “He was such a great guy. And you think about all the potential.”
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