Saturday, December 4, 2021

Crew Member: Baldwin wary of weapons before lethal shooting

SANTA FE, New Mexico (AP) – A cameraman told authorities that Alec Baldwin was careful with guns on the set of Rust before the actor shot the cameraman with a pistol he was told was safe to use. The court records released Sunday show.

Cinematographer Reed Russell told the detective that on Thursday Baldwin was rehearsing a scene in which he had to draw a pistol from a church pew and point it at the camera. The camera did not rotate when the shot fired, killing cinematographer Galina Hutchins, Russell told the detective according to the affidavit.

Authorities said on Friday that Assistant Director Dave Halls handed the weapon over to Baldwin and declared a “melee weapon” indicating that it was safe to use. When asked about Baldwin’s handling of firearms on set, Russell said the actor was very careful, citing a case where Baldwin made sure the child actor was not near him when the pistol was fired.

The affidavit released Sunday also includes statements by director Joel Sousa, who was behind Hutchins and was also injured.

It details the moments before filming and shows that there was a lot of turmoil on the set on the day of filming. Russell said several crew members left the set due to a dispute over payment and accommodation, and he had a lot of work to do. There was only one camera available for shooting, and it had to be moved because the light shifted and a shadow appeared.

He said he was not sure if the weapon had been tested before being handed over to Baldwin.

Souza said he focused on how the scene would be displayed on camera. He said he remembered hearing the phrase “cold steel” used before the shooting.

He said that the scene they were filming did not require the use of live ammunition.

Souza described the shot as the sound of a whip and a loud pop.

On Sunday, a crew member who worked with Halls on another project said she raised safety concerns about him in 2019.

Maggie Goll, a props maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement that in 2019 she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu Into the Dark over concerns about Halls’ behavior on set. Goll said in a telephone interview on Sunday that Halls ignored safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and attempted to continue filming after an observing pyrotechnician passed out on set.

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Halls did not return phone calls or e-mails seeking comment.

The fatal shootings and previous experience point to more serious safety issues that need to be addressed, Gaulle said, adding that the safety and well-being of film crew members were major concerns in recent contract negotiations between the film and television union and the group. major producers.

“This is not about Dave Halls. … In no case is one person to blame, ”she said. “This is a more serious conversation about safety on set and what we are trying to achieve with this culture.”

The film’s chief electrician, Serge Svetnoy, blamed the producers for Hutchins’ death in an emotional Facebook post on Sunday. Svetnoy said he worked with Hutchins on several films and accused those who handled weapons on set of “negligence and unprofessionalism”. He said the manufacturers had hired an inexperienced gunsmith.

Hollywood professionals say they are bewildered by the circumstances, and the film crews quickly tightened security measures.

Jeffrey Wright, who has worked on projects including the James Bond franchise and the upcoming Batman movie, was gunning down on the Westworld set when news of the New Mexico ranch shoot broke on Thursday. “We were all shocked. And that has influenced what we’ve done since then, ”he said in an interview Sunday at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

“I don’t remember ever being handed a weapon that was not cleaned in front of me, that is, the chamber was open, I was shown the barrel, a light flashed inside the barrel to make sure it was cleaned,” Wright said. “Clearly it was a mismanaged set.”

Actor Ray Liotta agreed with Wright that firearm testing is usually extensive.

“They always – as far as I know – they check it so you can see,” Liotta said. “They pass it on to the person you point the gun at, they do it to the producer, they show everyone in there that it doesn’t work.”

A vigil was held in Southern California on Sunday in honor of Hutchins, where participants hugged tearfully and speakers echoed calls for higher safety standards.

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

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