Paul Gross, star of the non-gunless movie Gunless, told the Edmonton Journal he’d swing his Colt 45 around on his finger—when he wasn’t pointing it at unsuspecting cast members whilst practicing his quick draw. “’Usually there’s a code of etiquette on a set where you have guns, and I think I violated every rule there was,’ Gross said with a mischievous grin. ‘I don’t know why people put up with me, but they did.’” Students of the cinematic genre know that at least two celluloid stars died from mishandling prop guns that fired blanks. In this case, Paul Gross managed to do the near-impossible: endanger people with a completely unloaded gun.
To play a highly skilled gunfighter, Gross had to master a series of gun tricks, which he learned himself. A few months before shooting began, props master Dean Godine gave Gross a non-functioning replica of a Colt 45 that was the exact weight and balance of the gun he would use on the set. Gross took it home and went to work. “I pretty much spun it non-stop until I got carpal tunnel syndrome,” Gross said. “I was terribly hazardous to be around at first; the gun’s fairly heavy and it would go flying out of my hand, through plate-glass doors, through open windows, at passing cars. It’s kind of a complicated thing to learn, especially the quick draw.”
Maybe Gross should have started with basic firearm safety and respect for his fellow human beings.