SANTA FE, NM – As a film crew and actors in western costume prepare to rehearse a scene inside a wooden, chapel-like building on a desert film ranch outside Santa Fe, assistant director Dave Hall steps outside. and grabbed a prop gun from a car.
He went back inside and handed it to the film’s star, Alec Baldwin, assuring that it was safe to use because it didn’t contain live gunpowder.
“Cold gun,” shouted Hall.
It was not, according to court records made public on Friday. Instead, when Baldwin pulled the trigger on Thursday, he injured cinematographer Helena Hutchins and director Joel Souza standing behind him.
Officers were alerted to the shooting by a 911 call that indicated panic on the set of the film, as detailed in a recording obtained by the Albuquerque Journal.
A script supervisor told an emergency dispatcher, “We had two people accidentally shot on a film set by a prop gun, we need help immediately.” “We were rehearsing and it stopped and I ran, we all ran.”
The dispatcher asks if the gun was loaded with real bullets.
“I can’t tell you. We’ve got two injuries,” said the screenwriter
The tragedy occurred nearly three decades after the death of Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, in a similar case, and has sparked frightening questions about how this could happen again. The executive producer of ABC’s police drama “The Rookie” announced Friday that the show will no longer use “live” weapons because “the safety of our cast and crew is very important.”
Details of the shooting at the ranch on Bonanza Creek Road were included in a search warrant application filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators were seeking to examine Baldwin’s blood-stained outfit as well as stained weapons, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage for the film “Rust.”
According to records, the gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had kept on a cart outside the building where a scene was being shot. A detective wrote in the search warrant application that Hall grabbed the gun from the car and brought it inside Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds.
It is not known how many rounds were fired. Court records state that Gutierrez removed a shell from the gun after the shooting, and that he handed over the weapon to police when police arrived.
Hall did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment. The Associated Press was unable to contact Gutierrez, and several messages sent to production companies affiliated with the film on Friday were not immediately returned.
The film’s screenplay supervisor Mamie Mitchell said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.
“I ran and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,'” Mitchell told the Associated Press. “This woman is gone early in her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, extremely rare woman.”
Mitchell said he and other crew members were attending a private memorial service in Santa Fe on Friday night.
Baldwin described the murder as a “tragic accident”.
“There are no words to express my shock and sadness about the tragic accident that took the lives of our wife, mother and deeply admired colleague Helena Hutchins. I fully support the police investigation,” Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “My heart breaks for her husband, their son and all those who knew and loved Halina.”
No charges were immediately filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was allowed to travel.
“He’s a free man,” Rios said.
Images of the 63-year-old actor—best 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”—shown him disturbed outside the sheriff’s office. Thursday.
The guns used in making movies are sometimes actual weapons that can fire either bullets or blanks, which are gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a blast but no lethal projectile. Even empty spaces can expel hot gases and paper or plastic wrap from barrels that can be deadly at close range. The same was proved in the case of the death of an actor in 1984.
In another set accident in 1993, Lee was killed after a bullet was fired into a prop gun, and a similar shootout involved stage weapons that were filled with live rounds during the historic re-enactment. Had happened.
Since then gun-safety protocols on set in the United States have improved, said Steven Hall, a veteran director of photography in the UK. But he added that behind the camera is one of the riskiest positions as the man is in line of fire in scenes where an actor is seen pointing a gun at the audience.
Rios said the sheriff’s deputy responded on the set of the film at Bonanza Creek Ranch at 2 p.m. after a 911 call shot one man, Rios said. The farm has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks western “News of the World”.
The film’s armor, Gutierrez, gave an interview to the Arizona-based podcast Voice of the West in September in which she said she had completed her first film while working as Head Armour, a project in Montana starring Nicolas Cage titled “The Old Way”.
“I was really nervous about it at first and I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure I was ready but doing it, like, it went really smoothly,” she said.
Gutierrez is the daughter of Thale Reid, a quick-draw exhibition shooter and gun coach to stars in films like Tombstone and The Quick and the Dead, according to an IMDb profile. Gutierrez said she grew up around guns and that her father had been teaching her about firearms since childhood.
Hutchins, 42, served as director of photography for the 2020 action film “Arcanemy” starring Joe Manganiello. She was a 2015 graduate from the American Film Institute and was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.
“I’m so sad to lose Halina. And so furious that this could happen on a set,” said “Arkenami” director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent with a penchant for art and film Committed to.”
Manganiello called Hutchins “an incredible talent” and “a great man” on his Instagram account. He said that he is lucky to have worked with him.
After shooting, production on “Jung” was halted. According to the Internet Movie Database website, the film is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to care for himself and his younger brother after the death of his parents in Kansas in the 1880s. The teen runs away with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is hanged for the accidental murder of a local rancher.
Associated Press writers Jake Coyle in New York, Michelle L. Price and Jocelyn Noveck; Lizzie Knight in London; Yuras Karmanau in Kiev, Ukraine; Ryan Pearson in Los Angeles; Walter Berry in Phoenix; and Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.