As questions about safety protocols on the “Rust” movie set linger, where Alec Baldwin killed a cinematographer with a prop gun he was told was safe, Hollywood professionals familiar with safety measures and handling weapons on sets are perplexed.
Jeffrey Wright, who has worked on projects such as the James Bond franchise and the upcoming film “The Batman,” was acting with a weapon on the set of “Westworld” when news of the shooting at a New Mexico ranch broke on Thursday. “We were all taken aback. And it influenced everything we did after that “he said in an interview at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Sunday.
“I don’t recall ever being handed a weapon that wasn’t cleared in front of me — chamber open, barrel shown to me, light flashed inside the barrel to ensure that it’s cleared,” Wright said. “That was clearly a mismanaged set.”
Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed and director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was injured in a shooting on the set of the film “Rust.”
According to court records, the gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist, or “armorer,” had placed on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed. According to court documents, assistant director Dave Halls grabbed a gun from a cart and handed it to Baldwin, yelling “cold gun” to indicate that the weapon was safe. However, according to the records, it was loaded with live rounds.
A prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician who worked on another production with Halls, the assistant director, said she had raised safety concerns about him in the past.
Maggie Goll stated in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series in 2019 about Halls’ behavior on set. Goll stated over the phone on Sunday that Halls disregarded weapons and pyrotechnics safety protocols and attempted to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician lost consciousness on set.
The fatal shooting and previous incidents point to larger safety issues that must be addressed, according to Goll, who also stated that crew member safety and wellbeing are top priorities in ongoing contract negotiations between a union representing film and television workers and a major producers’ group.
“This is not a Dave Halls situation. It is not the fault of any one person “She stated. “It’s part of a larger conversation about set safety and what we’re trying to accomplish with that culture.” A vigil for Hutchins was held in Southern California on Sunday, where attendees exchanged tearful hugs and speakers echoed calls for increased safety precautions.
Actress Rosanna Arquette joined many others in Hollywood in calling for an end to the use of real weapons, whether loaded with blanks or bullets.
“I’m hoping this serves as a wake-up call. Because there should never be a live round on a movie. We’ve had enough CGI, we’ve had enough — it’s absurd “She stated. “Everyone in the industry is shaken to the core by this.”
Actor Ray Liotta agreed with Wright that background checks on firearms are usually thorough. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Hutchins’ death, a petition calling for a ban on the use of real firearms on film and television sets has garnered over 25,000 signatures.
Erik Kripke, the showrunner for Amazon Prime’s “The Boys,” in which “Rust” co-star Jensen Ackles will appear in Season 3, has also announced that he will no longer use real guns on set.
In response to the “Rust” incident, state Senator Dave Cortese has announced plans to introduce legislation to prohibit the use of live ammunition on sets in the state.
Baldwin, who is a producer on “Rust,” met Hutchins’ husband and 9-year-old son Saturday at a Santa Fe hotel where the actor was staying during filming. At one point, Baldwin and Hutchins’ husband were photographed embracing shortly after the tragedy.