UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Investigation of accidental shooting on Alec Baldwin film “Rust” continues

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr.
Photo of Alec Baldwin in 2016. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

On the set of Alec Baldwin’s film “Rust”, a gun went off injuring the director and killing one of the cinematographers on set.  Director Joel Souza was injured, and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed when a gun handled by Alec Baldwin went off in an accident.

The sound of a pop was heard as Alec Baldwin rehearsed a scene that involved him drawing a revolver.

According to Souza, three people would usually handle the guns on set.

“Firearms would first be checked by the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, before being checked by Assistant Director Dave Halls, who would then give a firearm to an actor for his or her scene, ” reported NPR.

The NPR article also stated: “According to documents, Souza said that as far as he knew, no one was checked for live ammunition on their person; it’s just the weapons that are inspected to make sure there are no live rounds.”

Souza also stated he remembered hearing someone yell, “Cold gun.” This phrase means that the gun was not supposed to have any live ammunition.

Baldwin was explaining how he was going to draw the gun for the scene, according to documents released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, when the gun discharged.

According to the Associated Press: “The gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted, according to the records. Assistant Director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.”

The assistant director, Halls, was previously fired from another film.

According to Associated Press: “A producer for the movie ‘Freedom’s Path’ confirmed that Dave Halls was fired from the 2019 production after a crew member suffered a minor injury ‘when a gun was unexpectedly discharged.’”

Before the accident, there had been other issues occurring on set.

Some members of the camera crew walked off the set due to a dispute about payment and lodging.

According to NPR: “Only one camera was available to shoot, and it had to be moved because the light had shifted and there was a shadow. Souza said he was focused on how the scene would appear on camera.”

Maggie Goll, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, filed a complaint with executive producers of “Into the Dark” on Hulu, a project that Hall also worked on.

Hall’s behavior on set wasn’t the only thing Goll pointed out. An NPR article states: “’The fatal shooting and previous experiences point to larger safety issues,’ Goll said, adding that crew safety was a top issue in recent contract negotiations between a union that represents film and TV workers and a major producers’ group.”

“This situation is not about Dave Halls… It’s in no way one person’s fault. It’s a bigger conversation about safety on set and what we are trying to achieve with that culture,” stated Goll.

Alec Baldwin wrote in a Twitter message: “There are no words to convey my  shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

No charges have been pressed, and law enforcement is still undergoing an investigation into what happened.

About the Contributor
Genevieve Santilli, News Writer