The Terrifying Experience Idris Elba Had While Filming A Scene With A Prop Gun

Throughout his career, Idris Elba has been no stranger to handling a gun. Prior to filming 2010's "The Losers," Elba and the cast received training to make their use of weapons look authentic. "Then there was tactical training, which involved how you carry a gun, how you take down a door and how you clear a room," he told BET in 2010. Playing Bloodsport in "The Suicide Squad," saw Elba take on his most well-armored role, as the comic book character was loaded with 14 hidden weapons, per Screen Rant.

Although some of Elba's most memorable roles were as gun-toting characters, he has had mixed feelings about carrying guns on film. "I had a clash of conscience with my character. In America, there's a real awareness of gun culture," he told Esquire in 2017 while discussing his "The Dark Tower" role as the Gunslinger. "I had to break down why he's good at shooting. We erred on the side of 'This is his tool,'" Elba added.

Following the tragic on-set incident when Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun that had a live round, which killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, many people in Hollywood called for an overhaul on gun safety protocol while filming. Jonathan Majors, who directed Elba in the gunslinging western "The Harder They Fall" was among them. "We shouldn't do it again until we know that we can make it absolutely safe," he told USA Today about using guns while filming. Another director who worked with Elba recalled a harrowing scene involving the actor and a prop gun.

Why this scene was too real for Idris Elba

Director Ridley Scott used a special technique when Idris Elba's character was shot and killed in 2007's "American Gangster." During the scene, Denzel Washington's Frank Lucas approaches Elba's Tango on the street and puts a pistol to his head and pulls the trigger. The gun was not loaded — not even with a blank — and Scott advised Elba to press against it. "I said to Idris 'listen, when he puts the gun to your head lean on the gun,'" the famed director told the Daily Mail on November 24.

Scott revealed that the gun had "a solid barrel" and did not function as a working weapon, but the barrel was rigged so that "when you pull the trigger there's a recoil." The prop gun worked so well it not only convinced viewers, but had Elba convinced it was real. "[Washington] pulled the trigger and it goes 'Bang'. Idris thought he'd been shot and dropped to the sidewalk and said 'I've been shot!'" Scott recalled to the Daily Mail. 

That was not the "Luther" star's most frightening on-set incident. While working on "Beasts of No Nation," Elba nearly fell to his death during a waterfall scene. Luckily, he was saved before plummeting around 100 feet. "I slip ... I go literally about six feet before I go bang over and I got caught by the security guy," Elba recalled on "The Jonathan Ross Show" in 2015, via The Evening Standard.