George Clooney Reflects on Close Friend Brandon Lee's On-Set Death in Wake of 'Rust' Shooting

"It's a series of tragedies but also a lot of mistakes. A lot of, you know, stupid mistakes," actor/director George Clooney said of the tragedies

George Clooney is sharing his thoughts on the recent on-set Rust tragedy while remembering his late friend Brandon Lee, who died in 1993 after an accidental shooting while making a movie.

On a new episode of the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, the actor/director addressed the situation that led to actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21 while making the Western film Rust in New Mexico.

"I've been on sets for 40 years and the person that hands you the gun, the person that is responsible for the gun is either the prop or the armorer, period," said Clooney, 60. "This is one of those things. I was friends with an actor named John-Erik Hexum, who accidentally pulled a gun up with a blank in it and put it to his head and died from the concussion. And then I was good friends — really good friends — with Brandon Lee."

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Brandon died at age 28 in a similar accident in March 1993 on the set of his film The Crow.

"My cousin Miguel Ferrer was gonna be his best man the next week at their wedding. Brandon and I played ball and hung out at the Hollywood YMCA three days a week," Clooney recalled. "We were buddies and this was his big break."

Brandon and fiancée Eliza Hutton had planned their wedding for April 17, 1993, after The Crow was scheduled to wrap production. Brandon, son of martial arts star Bruce Lee, was killed on set on March 31 during the final week of production. He was killed when another actor shot him using a gun that was supposed to have only been loaded with blanks.

Clooney said, "Now every single time I'm handed a gun on the set, every time they hand me a gun 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 had to back to the armorer when you're done. You do it again and part of it is because of what happened to Brandon, everyone does it. Everybody knows and maybe Alec did that, hopefully he did do that."

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Clooney said dummy bullets are "tricky because they look like real bullets," which presents a "problem." He called the tragic on-set mix-ups and mistakes "infuriating" and called on productions to ensure their crews are highly experienced and trained.

"It's infuriating that you get to this place where the places that you're skimping on… Now listen, again, I want to say I don't believe there's any intent by anybody to do anything wrong. It's a terrible accident," Clooney said on the podcast. "But a 24-year-old person shouldn't probably, with that little experience shouldn't be heading up a department with guns and bullets."

Clooney is referring to Rust's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who insisted she was not aware a live round had made its way into the gun Baldwin used. Gutierrez-Reed said in a recent statement obtained by PEOPLE that she is fully cooperating with authorities in the investigation and claimed the scene had been "tampered" with: "We are convinced that this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed," the attorneys claimed.

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Clooney reflected of Brandon's death further, saying, "After Brandon died, it really became a very clear thing of open the gun, look down the barrel, look in the cylinder. It's harder with dummy bullets, I have to say, because if you stuck six dummy bullets in your hand, you would think they're real bullets."

"It's a series of tragedies but also a lot of mistakes," the filmmaker added. "A lot of, you know, stupid mistakes."

George Clooney and late Brandon lee
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Last month, Brandon's fiancée Eliza Hutton came forward for the first time since he died, telling PEOPLE that the accident on the set of Rust is yet another "avoidable tragedy."

"Twenty-eight years ago, I was shattered by the shock and grief of losing the love of my life, Brandon Lee, so senselessly. My heart aches again now for Halyna Hutchins' husband and son, and for all those left in the wake of this avoidable tragedy," Hutton, 57, said.

"I urge those in positions to make change to consider alternatives to real guns on sets," she added.

Earlier this month, Baldwin wrote on his Instagram account, "Every film/TV set that uses guns, fake or otherwise, should have a police officer on set, hired by the production, to specifically monitor weapons safety."

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