Director Antoine Fuqua recruited New York gang members to protect stars Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke on the set of their new movie Brooklyn'S FINEST.
The movie follows a trio of drug cops in a rough New York neighbourhood and was filmed on location in the deprived area of Brownsville.
Fuqua admits he feared for the safety of his cast and crew during the shoot.
He tells WENN, "We would be filming and then you'd hear gunfire and people running up the street. It was very real to be around a lot of that stuff. We were protected by some gang members that we had relationships with that I talked to. I'd go in and meet with drug dealers, gang members, neighbourhood watch people, community centres."
But he insists many Brownsville residents grouped together to help Fuqua's efforts, because they wanted to present their neighbourhood in a positive light.
He adds, "The older people, including gang members and drug dealers who have children now, understand the importance of not letting anything happen in this neighbourhood because their kids get to see something positive. They get to see people showing a work ethic by working on the movie and that you don't have to be the movie star or the director; you can be craft service. So we got a lot of respect."