Several Mistakes Were Reportedly Made That Resulted In Alec Baldwin Firing A Loaded Weapon On The Set Of “Rust”
After the news broke that 42-year-old director of photography Halyna Hutchins had died on the set of the film Rust, due to an unintentional gunshot fired by Alec Baldwin, there were roughly a million and one questions about how something like that could have happened. Well, we’re getting more and more information about what allegedly might have contributed to one woman losing her life, and the director Joel Souza ending up in the hospital with critical injuries. We have since been told that there were numerous issues on the set of Rust, and that production was so messy that numerous crew members walked off the set. TMZ has some new information, and it’s all a huge bummer that makes this situation feel like it was entirely preventable. The gun likely wasn’t double-checked before it was handed to Alec Baldwin, and apparently live rounds were being used for a rehearsal shot, which is an industry no-no.
As reported previously, Alec Baldwin was reportedly told that the gun was “cold,” which means there are no rounds inside the weapon, whether that men real bullets or blanks. Alec was rehearsing a shot on the Santa Fe, New Mexico set wherein he was aiming the prop gun at the camera, he pulled the trigger, and that’s when the gun he was told was cold fired a round that hit Joel and Halyna. Halyna was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead from her injuries. Joel continues to receive treatment for his. TMZ says that according to the ongoing investigation into this tragedy, Joel reportedly told authorities that he heard the assistant director David Halls say “cold gun.” But according to a special effects coordinator and theatrical firearms safety expert that spoke with CNN, it should have been irrelevant whether the gun was cold or not because there should have been zero rounds inside the gun, to begin with. via TMZ:
Steve Wolf, a special effects coordinator and theatrical firearms safety expert, told CNN there were 3 errors committed that resulted in the tragedy – using a real gun rather than a prop gun, having a live round in the gun and having people stand behind the camera in the “line of fire.” He also said the assistant director should not have been the one to clear the gun before the incident…that should have been the armorist’s job.
Joel Souza kind of inadvertently backed up Steve Wolf’s position on on-set ammunition, by reportedly telling authorities that there never should have been live rounds inside a prop gun during rehearsals, nor should there have been live rounds near the set at the time. Rust’s location manager Stacey Mickey-Evans spoke to Australia’s 92.5 FM about the incident, and TMZ says she explained that the weapon was only ever supposed to be loaded with blanks and that she has no idea how a “live round” made its way into the chamber. She also said that there are usually multiple layers of safety checks when it comes to weapons on set and that this time for some reason those safety checks just didn’t happen. Stacey Mickey-Evans also said that there’s no real reason to use a real gun at all when the technology has made it so realism can be added in post-production.
And to make things worse, CNN is reporting that assistant director David Halls received complaints from two productions in 2019, regarding disregard for safety protocols relating to weapons and pyrotechnics, blocked fire lanes and exits, and instances of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. So, something tells me this isn’t the last we’re going to be hearing about David Halls.
It feels like you don’t have to look very far to find an armory expert or weapon specialist who will chime in with their two cents on this sad situation, and a lot of it seems to come back to the main points that there should not have been live rounds used on set, that people should never have been in the line of fire, and that numerous checks should have been done to ensure the gun was safe for rehearsal. You know a situation is extra fucked up when everything could have been avoided had just one person thought, “Call me overly cautious, but I’m going to double-check this weapon by firing it at a random cactus.”