As a gunsmith on set, Hannah Gutierrez Reed often ran into actors and crew members who were afraid of guns. But the part of her job that she loved the most was to change that narrative, showing the world that “guns are cool.”
“I think the best part of my job is just showing people, who are usually gun-frightened, how safe they can be and how easy they are if they don’t fall into the wrong hands,” Reed told the podcast. September.
In just a month, her words became intrusive. On Thursday, cinematographer Galina Hutchins was fatally injured by actor Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust after the actor was handed a pistol reportedly manufactured by Reed. On the set of a Western in New Mexico, Reed was responsible for overseeing all weapons – making sure that only designated persons handle them, making sure they were loaded with the right projectiles at the right time, and teaching the actors how to safely handle them.
At 24, Reed didn’t have much experience with this. Rust was only her second film as a lead gunsmith – and as details emerge, many in the film industry question her hiring; The shooting began hours after the film crew left the set, citing safety complaints and misfiring.
That day, according to an affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office obtained by the Associated Press, Reed prepared three rifles to be used in the Baldwin scene. Assistant Director Dave Halls grabbed one of these guns and handed it to Baldwin before the accident happened, the affidavit said.
Calls from Reed and the other Rust crew members, including the property manager who oversaw the operation, Sarah Zakri, did not return. But the prop master, who directed Reed in her first job as a gunsmith in August, came to her defense on Saturday, though he admitted that he was initially skeptical of her ability.
Although Reed is the daughter of a veteran gunsmith respected throughout the film industry, The Old Way – Nicolas Cage’s Western that filmed for four weeks in Montana in August – included so many gunfights that set designer Jeffrey W. Crowe pushed for the hiring producers. a person who needs to specifically focus on the armory.
“I told them that no one could safely create props and arsenal in a fighter movie because there were too many weapons,” recalls Crowe, who directed Reed on The Old Way. “All the gunsmiths I know and tried to attract have already worked, so I left this to the manufacturers. I never heard of Hannah until I was informed that she would be my gunsmith, but my skepticism about her initial skepticism due to her lack of experience was dispelled after I worked with her. “
Crowe said he was still “stumped” about Reed being able to play a role in the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust” in New Mexico. Crowe was interviewed before the Daily Beast story was published, in which two anonymous sources said there were alarming gun safety issues on the set of The Old Way. According to the report, Reed handed the gun over to child actress Ryan Cyrus Armstrong without having it tested. Armstrong’s parents did not return calls from The Times.
Crowe insisted on Reed’s scruples.
“Working with Hannah, I’m surprised that it all happened under her control,” Crowe said. “I thought she was an exceptionally young, promising, very energetic and talented gunsmith. She didn’t have much experience, but based on her family background, I thought she was exceptional, professional, and I thought she had – I still think she has – many years of amazing career ahead of her. ”
Reed grew up in Hollywood filming, often accompanying her father, a retired Marine who served as Brad Pitt’s trainer in arms in The Killing of Jesse James by the Cowardly Robert Ford and was a drawing expert in Django Unchained. She said that her favorite childhood memory with her father was visiting the set of the 2007 film 3:10 to Yuma when she was about 10 years old.
“He took me out of fifth grade for two weeks and just ran around the set,” Reed recalled in September on the Voices of the West podcast. “It just made me immediately think, ‘I want to be in films when I’m older.’ I used to hold the craft [services] with little plastic pistols and everything like, “Give me your pistachios!” “
Her father took her “from the fact that she was completely green and taught me everything,” she continued, noting that he bought her a Colt Peacemaker pistol to use in addition to the Walther P22 she already had.
In 1959, the then 15-year-old Tell Reed, who grew up in Downey, was named one of the world’s fastest shooters by the Petaluma Argus-Courier. The announcement came after he pulled out and fired a .38 pistol in 8/100 seconds, which means he “could have pulled out and killed Billy the Kid while he blinked,” the story says. In 1982, Tell became Evel Knievel’s bodyguard and drinking companion. He also worked as a stunt shooter on the Gene Autry roadshow and once made $ 50,000 in a one-on-one shootout in Texas.
Despite her experience with her dad, Hannah Gutierrez Reed admitted that she was so worried about becoming the chief gunsmith in The Old Way that she “almost didn’t take on the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready. “. She told the podcast in an interview that loading blanks was “the scariest thing” for her until her father helped her teach.
On set, she was often judged by age and gender, she said. Many actors walked into the props department and looked at Crowe for her, expecting him to be a gunsmith, and she said, “I would say, ‘Don’t look at him.’ Look at me.'”
“I don’t do anything if I’m not the best at this,” Reed said in a podcast, adding that she drives a Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster. “I’m pretty competitive. I hope to grow to the point where I’m pretty much just an untouchable person with all the knowledge about everything. “
According to her LinkedIn profile, Reed studied cinematography and filmmaking at Northern Arizona University, graduating in 2020. During her college years, she worked as a videographer for an electronic music company and filmed documentaries for Flagstaff, Arizona.
After The Old Way, she was supposed to work on the new Cage movie – Butcher’s Crossing – as an assistant gunsmith, but the position was cut, Crowe said.
Although he declined to speculate about what might have happened on the set of Rust, Crowe expressed hope that Reed would eventually be rehabilitated.
“This is an atypical role for a woman – especially a young woman,” he said. “I really believed in her and I still believe. I would be surprised if she was responsible for something in all of this, just by looking at how she behaved in the past. It’s all such a surprise. “
Times researcher Carey Schneider contributed to this report.