Saturday, February 4, 2023

Baldwin faces charges as security tightens

LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — Film production experts say movie sets were forever changed after cinematographer Halina Hutchins was fatally shot 14 months ago on the remote set of the New Mexico cowboy movie “Rust,” prosecutors said Thursday. announced that Alec Baldwin and the film’s weapons supervisor would be charged with murder this month.

“On-set gun safety expertise has become more apparent, it’s stronger,” said Joey Dillon, a gunsmith who has used guns in TV shows including “Westworld” and movies like “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (“The Ballad”). Buster Scruggs’s”). “I made it pretty strong myself.”

Baldwin was aiming the gun with a live bullet that killed Hutchins as they were preparing for a take. Professionals at various levels of production are determined to prevent this from happening again.

This means increased use of digital devices and other technologies that may make the use of firearms obsolete. It also means simple things, such as shouting using old safety protocols, to make it clear to everyone when a weapon is present and in what condition it is.

Actors and other professionals are more attentive to the moment in which the weapon is given.

“Now people want to review because people are a little wary of guns,” Dillon said. “I break down the whole process to show them and make them feel comfortable with it.”

While examining the guns themselves may be beneficial to the actors, their responsibility to do so is in dispute, and will be the main question for the jury hearing Baldwin’s case.

His union and his lawyer say that this obligation cannot fall on the artists.

“An actor’s job is not to be a firearms expert,” the Screen Actors Guild said in a statement Thursday. “Weapons are provided for use under the guidance of a number of expert professionals directly responsible for the safety and proper operation of the weapon.”

Baldwin’s defense attorney, Luke Nicks, said in a statement that the actor has done his part to “communicate with the professionals he has worked with, who have assured him that there were no real bullets in the gun.” “

Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies disagrees.

In an interview with the Associated Press, he said, “It’s up to anyone holding a gun to make sure whether it’s loaded or not and what it’s loaded with.” “And certainly don’t point it at someone and pull the trigger. As we see it, that’s the actor’s responsibility.”

The prosecutor also emphasized that although Baldwin would be charged as the man with the gun in his hand, his role as producer, and some of the responsibility for the loose circumstances that led to him being shot with a live bullet It was decided to hand over the gun. His.

The district attorney said that Hannah Gutierrez-Reid, the weapons supervisor in the film, would also be charged with murder.

Gutierrez-Reid’s attorney, Jason Bowles, said in a statement that they would “bring the full truth to light” and that she “will be acquitted of any wrongdoing by a jury.”

Technology can completely rid actors of security concerns.

Productions have often used digital effects to simulate the lights and sounds of firearms, but Hutchins’ death almost certainly hastened that change.

Spencer Parsons, associate professor and director of production in the Department of Radio, Television and Film at the university’s School of Communication, said, “There are a lot of negative ways that things go digital, but this is a positive way.” Has worked as a director and in other roles on several sets. “I’m not saying there aren’t good reasons not to use actual fireworks, but it makes a lot of sense in terms of basic safety and speed.”

And when it comes to guns, there are companies making increasingly convincing replicas, which are basically moving guns that behave like real guns, but don’t fire bullets. Flash and sound are added in post production.

But, Parsons said, “there aren’t a lot of replicas of old guns,” which are used in Westerns and other period films, like the ones he specializes in.

Other solutions that have been sought may not be as practical.

In the days immediately following the shooting, much discussion in the media surrounded the dangers of salvias, when it was still in doubt whether such a shot killed Hutchins.

“From my experience, I knew it was much more than that,” Dillon said. “But the immediate response in the industry was to try to end the use of the salami for good.”

Dillon said that salvo rounds, prop bullets used in scenes where characters are seen firing bullets into weapons, can more easily be errors like those in “Rust” because they look like real bullets. appear and they can be confused.

He said he found it “disappointing” as it gave the impression they were “reckless” and put them in unnecessary danger.

When investigators revealed that it was in fact a live bullet, fears remained of the salvo, which can certainly be dangerous when fired at close range.

Parsons pointed out that it may be unfair to blame the accident on the fact that “Rust” was a low-budget independent production. He noted that the speed and magnitude of large studio productions can put production crews in situations where the potential for all kinds of accidents can be high.

“In some cases they can make people work longer hours and the need for speed is even greater,” he said. “It can be very, very dangerous. The need for speed on any set encourages behavior that is not always best for safety.”

Gutierrez-Reid’s dual job as gunsmith and assistant prop supervisor has also received negative attention.

But Dillon said the arms inevitably cross over in the props department, and the people in those dual roles are no strangers. Members of the production team who have these roles need to be very clear when they are playing one or the other.

“When the guns go out I worry,” he said. “And that’s the only thing I’m working on.”

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Andrew Dalton is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Nation World News Desk
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