Stars stunned by ‘mismanaged set’ in fatal prop-gun shooting

Oct 25, 2021, 10:21 PM | Updated: 10:37 pm
A bouquet of flowers is left to honor cinematographer Halyna Hutchins outside the Bonanza Creek Ran...

A bouquet of flowers is left to honor cinematographer Halyna Hutchins outside the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Hutchins died after actor Alec Baldwin fired a fatal gunshot from a prop gun that he had been told was safe. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — As questions linger about safety protocols on the movie set where Alec Baldwin killed a cinematographer with a prop gun he’d been told was safe, Hollywood professionals say they’re baffled by the circumstances and production crews have quickly stepped up safety measures.

Jeffrey Wright, who has worked on projects including the James Bond franchise and the upcoming movie “The Batman,” was acting with a weapon on the set of “Westworld” when news broke of the shooting Thursday at a New Mexico ranch. “We were all pretty shocked. And it informed what we did from that moment on,” he said in an interview Sunday at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

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

The shooting on the set of the film “Rust” killed 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her.

The gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist, or “armorer,” had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to court records. Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed a gun off a cart and handed it to Baldwin, indicating that the weapon was safe by yelling “cold gun,” court papers say. But it was loaded with live rounds, according to the records.

Baldwin, 63, who is 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,” has described the killing as a “tragic accident.”

“The Umbrella Academy” actor Justin Min, also at the Newport festival, said “it’s been a very somber time” in recent days on set as he’s been filming the indie thriller “Detained.”

“After that — I mean we have obviously already been careful, but it’s just another level of precaution,” Min said.

A prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician who worked with Halls, the assistant director, on another production said she had raised safety concerns about him in the past.

Maggie Goll said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series in 2019 over concerns about Halls’ behavior on set. Goll said in a phone interview Sunday that Halls disregarded safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician lost consciousness on set.

Halls has not returned phone calls and email messages seeking comment. Rust Movie Productions has not answered repeated emails seeking comment.

The fatal shooting and previous experiences point to larger safety issues that need to be addressed, Goll said, adding that crew member safety and wellbeing are top issues in ongoing contract negotiations between a union that represents film and TV workers and a major producers’ group.

“This situation is not about Dave Halls. … It’s in no way one person’s fault,” she said. “It’s a bigger conversation about safety on set and what we are trying to achieve with that culture.”

A vigil for Hutchins was held Sunday in Southern California, where attendees exchanged tearful hugs and speakers echoed calls for heightened safety standards.

Actor Rosanna Arquette joined many in Hollywood in calling for a move away from using real weapons, whether armed with blanks or bullets.

“I hope this wakes people up. Because there should be no live round anything ever on a movie. We have enough CGI, we have enough — it’s absurd,” she said. “All of us are shaken to the core in the industry about this.”

Actor Ray Liotta agreed with Wright that the checks on firearms are usually extensive.

“They always — that I know of — they check it so you can see,” Liotta said. “They give it to the person you’re pointing the gun at, they do it to the producer, they show whoever is there that it doesn’t work.”

Baldwin, who is a producer on “Rust,” met with Hutchins’ husband and 9-year-old son Saturday at a hotel in Santa Fe where the actor had been staying during filming. Baldwin and Hutchins’ husband can be seen embracing in a photo published by the New York Post.

___

Flaccus reported from Portland, Oregon. Michelle Eaton in Newport Beach, California, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Democracy advocate Jimmy Lai, center, leaves the Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal in Hong K...
Associated Press

Hong Kong jails pro-democracy media tycoon over fraud

HONG KONG (AP) — A Hong Kong court sentenced a pro-democracy media tycoon to five years and nine months in prison on Saturday over two fraud charges linked to lease violations, the latest of a series of cases against prominent activists that critics say are aimed at crushing dissent in the city. Jimmy Lai, who […]
1 day ago
A man holds an Argentinian flag prior to the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between the Nether...
Associated Press

Soccer writer Grant Wahl dies at World Cup match in Qatar

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Grant Wahl, one of the most well-known soccer writers in the United States, died early Saturday while covering the World Cup match between Argentina and the Netherlands. U.S. media seated near him said Wahl fell back in his seat in the media tribune at Lusail Iconic Stadium during extra time and […]
1 day ago
FILE - Oranges rot on the ground on Oct. 12, 2022, at Roy Petteway's Citrus and Cattle Farm after t...
Associated Press

USDA: Florida orange crop down 36% after twin hurricanes

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Production of oranges in Florida this season is forecast to be down 36% from earlier estimates, in part a reflection of twin hurricanes that battered growing regions, according to U.S. Agriculture Department figures released Friday. The latest forecast calls for about 18 million boxes of oranges to be produced in […]
1 day ago
FILE - A JetBlue Airbus A320 taxis to a gate on Oct. 26, 2016, after landing, as an American Airlin...
Associated Press

American, JetBlue expand deal that US is trying to kill

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are pushing ahead with an expansion of their partnership in the Northeast, even as a federal judge considers the government’s attempt to kill the deal. The airlines said Friday that American will add six new routes from New York City while dropping one. JetBlue will […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Uber rider fatally stabs New Orleans driver, authorities say

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans Police Department employee who was moonlighting as an Uber driver was stabbed to death by a passenger in what a sheriff said was a random act of deadly violence. Yolanda Dillion, 54, was a fiscal analyst with the police department, New Orleans police chief Shaun Ferguson said Friday. […]
1 day ago
FILE - People wait in front of a pharmacy to get a COVID-19 test in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 9, ...
Associated Press

France to make condoms free for anyone under 25, Macron says

PARIS (AP) — France will make condoms free in pharmacies for anyone up to age 25 in the new year, President Emmanuel Macron announced Friday. The move comes as the government says sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among young people, and as this year’s exceptional inflation is cutting especially deeply into the budgets […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Stars stunned by ‘mismanaged set’ in fatal prop-gun shooting