One of two local men arrested in a gun scare Sunday afternoon says the weapon involved was actually an antique film prop.
Antonio Bastone, a Nelson resident who is directing the comedy/western To Steal the Sky, said the firearm was a Spencer rifle used by the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Bastone and one of his actors were taking promotional photos for the film in Jam Factory Lane when someone complained to police.
“It was blown way out of proportion,” Bastone said. “Someone reported it, so naturally police have to respond. But they know us as peaceful citizens. My last movie was about brotherly love and peace.”
Bastone said they weren’t aware police were watching them until they placed the rifle in a case and got into a car at the end of the half-hour photo session.
At that point, it was a “real serious take down. We obliged them 100 per cent.”
Bastone, 60, and the other man, 67, each face five weapons-related charges. Bastone said the rifle — which he’s since learned qualifies as an antique, since it was made before 1898 — wasn’t loaded and can no longer be fired. He borrowed it from another cast member, who may not get it back until the court case concludes.
Bastone said he has no criminal record, is “not a rabble rouser” and hasn’t possessed a gun since he served in the US Army in his youth.
He said police were “just doing their job but it makes us look like wanton guys with a gun. It puts a damper on the creative arts.”
Bastone said almost his entire cast of 40 will be locals. Filming has not yet begun, and the promotional photos were intended to lure investors.
He previously directed the local feature Of Saints and Outlaws.