Security Failures And Non-Compliance With COVID Measures
As the hours go by, the circumstances of the tragic accident that occurred in the filming of Rust , a western by Joel Souza starring Alec Baldwin, become clearer . As we learned yesterday, the actor had accidentally fired a pistol that killed Halyna Hutchins, director of photography, and sent Souza to the hospital.
Shortly after he was discharged, Baldwin posted a statement on Twitter showing his dismay at the death of Hutchins and his willingness to collaborate with the authorities to clarify what has happened. New Mexico police, where the Bonanza Creek ranch that served as a set for Rust is located, has not filed charges against him, while the media has access to new details of the case.
According to IndieWire , branch 44 of the IATSE (alliance of film technicians unions) has sent an email describing what happened as the “accidental discharge of a weapon”. “A real bullet was accidentally fired on set by the lead actor, hitting both director of photography Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza,” he confirms, and then states that none of its members were involved in the props tasks of that day.
“The props, set decoration, special effects and construction departments were covered with equipment from New Mexico,” he notes, accounting for a series of mishaps leading up to Baldwin’s shooting.
Rancho Bonanza Creek, filming location for ‘Rust’
The succession of investigations has established that the facts were the following: the shooting occurred during a rehearsal, very few hours after the last members of IATSE had left the production.
The assistant director took one of the three arms of props that were in a car and gave Baldwin shouting “gun cold” ( “Gun cold” , ie without live ammunition), and Baldwin opened fire reaching Hutchins the chest and Souza on the shoulder. The term “prop gun” appears recurrently in the reports, and it must be clarified that this does not necessarily refer to an imitation weapon: it can be any object used by the actor.
Once the shooting took place, Baldwin took off his Western suit to go to the sheriff’s office to testify, and now much of the attention is on the production itself, as the pre-accident personnel march hints at details somewhat rugged. Variety echoes several sources that point out that Rust , whose filming began on October 6 , was already going through several problems before Hutchins’ death. In addition to previous incidents to be clarified, a lack of budget had required several team members to stay in Albuquerque, an hour’s drive from the ranch, while concerns for safety were apparent from day one.
The filming of Rust would have also failed to comply with several anti-COVID measures and would have been delayed in the team’s payments, with a most irregular operation that culminated in the worst of ways. Anticipating predictable media storm, Rust Movie Productions has begun its own investigation, issuing a statement on the matter: “Although we have not been aware of any official complaint about the safety of weapons or props from the set, we will carry out a internal review of our procedures while production is stopped. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation. “