Idris Elba American Gangster
Idris Elba believed he had been shot while filming American Gangster (Picture: Universal Pictures)

Idris Elba believed he had been shot while filming American Gangster, director Sir Ridley Scott has claimed.

The Luther actor, 49, played Tango in the 2007 drama, starring opposite Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas.

Recalling their time on set, the filmmaker explained that the weapon they used on set had a solid filled-in barrel with no bullets for the scene where Frank has a fun to Tango’s head, in the tense cafe sequence.

Speaking to the MailOnline, he shared the moment he told Idris to lean his head against the barrel – in a bid to draw a reaction from him.

Sir Ridley insisted that he wouldn’t ever ‘risk’ the safety on set, and said:  ‘What happened was, I said to Idris, “Listen, when he puts the gun on your head lean on the gun” – because by the way this is a gun with a solid barrel, there is no aperture, I would never risk it – but when you pull the trigger there’s a recoil, there’s no blank, nothing”.

‘He pulled the trigger and it goes “Bang”. Idris thought he’d been shot and dropped to the sidewalk and said, “I’ve been shot!”’

Idris Elba American Gangster
He squared off against Denzel Washington in the tense scene (Picture: Universal Pictures)

Firearms expert Paul Biddiss, an advisor on weaponry for films, is currently working with Sir Ridley and detailed the strict procedures he had in place while on American Gangster.

‘He is very hot on safety,’ he praised. ‘What he was referring to by a solid barrel is a completely filled-in barrel that no bullet would be able to pass through, so it was a completely deactivated impractical gun as far as firing anything was concerned.’

The comments come as the acclaimed director gears up for the release of House of Gucci, which has received mixed reviews from critics so far.

Ridley Scott
Sir Ridley Scott recalled shooting American Gangster (Picture: WireImage)

The 83-year-old’s first huge film of the year was The Last Duel, which failed make an impression on the box office and made just $27million (£20m) worldwide.

The epic historical drama told the story of a knight who challenged his friend to a duel after his wife accused the squire of raping her, and starred Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck.

Lifting the lid on the failure, he claimed that millennials with mobile phones were to blame.

During an appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, he said: ‘I think what it boils down to – what we’ve got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these f**king cellphones.

‘The millennials… [who] do not ever want to be taught anything unless you’re told it on a cellphone.

‘This is a broad stroke, but I think we’re dealing with it right now with Facebook. This is a misdirection that has happened where it’s given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think.’

Metro.co.uk has contacted Sir Ridley’s reps for a comment.

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