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Alec Baldwin filming: film crew complained before fatal gunshot

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Authorities in New Mexico have requested that a helicopter be dispatched “promptly” following the filming of Alec Baldwin’s film set. Audio / Broadcasting

Hours before actor Alec Baldwin fired a fatal shot from a propeller pistol he had been told he was sure of, a film crew for the movie he was filming left work to protest the production conditions and issues that included safety issues.

Disputes over the production of the Western film “Rust” began almost as early as early October and culminated with the departure of seven crew members hours before cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed. .

Crew members had expressed dissatisfaction with issues ranging from security procedures to their accommodation, according to one of those who left. He requested anonymity for fear that speaking out would hurt his prospects for future employment. Rust Movie Productions did not respond to emails on Friday and Saturday asking for comment.

During a rehearsal on set Thursday at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside of Santa Fe, the gun Baldwin used was one of three that a gun specialist, or “gunsmith,” had placed on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to court records.

Court records indicate that an assistant warden, Dave Halls, grabbed a propeller pistol from a cart and handed it to Baldwin, mistakenly stating the weapon was not carrying live ammunition while shouting “cold gun” “.

When Baldwin pulled the trigger, he unintentionally killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her inside a wooden chapel-like building.

The Bonanza Creek Film Ranch is seen in Santa Fe. Photo / AP
The Bonanza Creek Film Ranch is seen in Santa Fe. Photo / AP

Baldwin, 63, known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live”, called the murder a “tragic accident”. He was a producer of “Rust”.

Halls did not immediately return phone and email messages requesting comment.

A 911 call that alerted authorities to the shooting at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside of Santa Fe hints at panic on set, as detailed in a recording released by the Regional Emergency Communications Center. Santa Fe County.

“We accidentally filmed two people on a film set with a propeller gun, we need help immediately,” script supervisor Mamie Mitchell told an emergency dispatcher. “We were rehearsing and it went off, and I ran out, we all ran out.”

The dispatcher asked if the gun was loaded with a real bullet.

“I can’t tell you. We have two injuries,” Mitchell replied. “And this (expletive) AD (assistant director) who yelled at me at lunch, asking for revisions… He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happens on set.”

The Associated Press was unable to contact Hannah Gutierrez, the film’s gunsmith, and several messages sent to production companies affiliated with “Rust” went unanswered on Friday.

A television crew records a report at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch.  Photo / AP
A television crew records a report at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch. Photo / AP

Court records indicate Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside the actor, also unaware that it was loaded with live ammunition, a detective wrote in a warrant request from search.

It is not known how many shots were fired. Gutierrez removed a casing from the gun after the shooting and she turned the gun over to police upon their arrival, court records show.

Guns used in filmmaking are sometimes real guns that can fire bullets or blanks, which are charges of gunpowder meant to produce little more than lightning and a bang.

New Mexico workplace safety investigators are examining whether film industry standards for gun safety were met during production of “Rust.” The Los Angeles Times, citing two crew members it did not name, reported that five days before the shooting, Baldwin’s stuntman accidentally fired two live ammunition after learning the weapon had no ammunition.

A crew member alarmed by the misfires told a unit production manager in a text message: “We have now had 3 accidental discharges. This is very dangerous,” according to a copy of the message reviewed by the newspaper. The New York Times also reported that there had been at least two accidental discharges of prior firearms; he cited three former crew members.

Mitchell, the screenwriter, told The Associated Press that she was standing next to Hutchins when the cinematographer was shot.

Alec Baldwin talks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe. Photo / AP
Alec Baldwin talks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe. Photo / AP

“I ran out and called 911 and said, ‘Bring everyone, send everyone,” Mitchell said. “This woman left early in her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.”

Filmmaker Souza, who was shot in the shoulder, said in a statement to NBC News he was grateful for the support he was receiving and drained by the loss of Hutchins. “She was kind, dynamic, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better,” he said.

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said prosecutors would review the evidence of the shooting and were unsure whether charges would be laid.

Hutchins’ husband Matthew Hutchins posted on social media to mourn the loss of his wife, ask for his family’s confidentiality and thank his friends and mentors at the American Film Institute, who he says “nurtured the success that we were just beginning to see flourish “. .

The institute’s conservatory canceled cinematography classes on Friday in response to Hutchins’ death.

During a vigil on Saturday, around 200 workers from the film crew gathered for a sunset candlelight vigil. They shared the grief of losing one of their own and the fear of accidents on their own sets.

Several in attendance lit candles, held a moment of silence, read poetry and made brief comments, including a testament to his artistic spark and generosity.

“Her death shouldn’t have happened, Union posts should be security posts,” said Liz Pecos, president of IATSE Local 480.

A musician plays the violin behind a photograph of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque.  Photo / AP
A musician plays the violin behind a photograph of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque. Photo / AP

Production of “Rust” was halted after filming. The film is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother after their parents died in the 1880s in Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database.

The crew member who spoke to the AP said he had never witnessed any formal orientation on the weapons used on set, which would normally take place before filming began.

He also said that only minimal precautions against Covid-19 had been taken, although the crew and cast members often worked in small, enclosed spaces on the ranch.

The crew were initially accommodated at the Courtyard by Marriott in Santa Fe, according to the crew member. Four days later, however, they were told that in the future they would be staying at the budget hotel Coyote South. Some crew members are reluctant to stay there.

“We packed our gear and left that morning,” the crew member said of Thursday’s walkout.

The Los Angeles Times and Variety also reported on the walkout.

Gutierrez, the film’s gunsmith, is the daughter of a longtime Hollywood gun expert. She gave an interview in September to the Voices of the West podcast in which she said she had learned to wield her father’s guns since she was a teenager.

During the podcast interview, Gutierrez shared that she had just completed her first film as Chief Armorer, a Montana project with Nicolas Cage titled “The Old Way.”

“I was really nervous about it at first and almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure I was ready, but doing it went really well”, a- she declared.

In another gun death on set from 1993, Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, was shot and killed by a bullet left in a propeller pistol after a previous scene. Similar shootings have occurred involving stage weapons loaded with live ammunition during historical re-enactments.

The gun safety protocol on set in the United States has improved since then, said Steven Hall, a veteran of photography in Britain. But he said one of the riskiest positions was behind the camera, as that person is in the crosshairs in scenes where an actor appears to be pointing a gun at the audience.


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