Disaster on “Rust” Set

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By Tyler Norris

What was supposed to be a practice run for an upcoming scene for the new movie “Rust” turned deadly when actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired a loaded prop gun that led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, and left director Joel Souza injured. The gun was handed to Baldwin and was described as a “cold gun,” meaning it did not hold any live rounds. Baldwin was practicing the removal of the revolver and pointing it at the camera when it discharged. Dave Halls was the last to handle the firearm before it was handed over to Baldwin. Halls has had a history with unexpected discharges of firearms. Halls worked on the movie “Freedom’s Path” where a gun unexpectedly discharged, injuring a sound crew member. Halls was immediately let go following the incident. No charges have been currently filed against Halls in regards to the “Rust” incident.

According to the LA Times, camera operator Reid Russell said, “Joel said as far as he knows, no one gets checked for live ammunition on their person prior and after the scenes are being filmed.” The affidavit said: “The only thing checked are the firearms to avoid live ammunition being in them. There should never be live rounds whatsoever, near or around the scene.” Santa Fe County authorities are still trying to determine what kind of projectile was fired that took that life of Hutchins and are hopeful that the ballistics and forensics involved will determine that. Hutchins’ death follows other accidents that have happened on various TV and movie sets. Some from Hollywood and the greater community have called for operational firearms to be removed from filming sets in an effort to avoid such accidents. The set of “Rust” in Santa Fe, New Mexico has been shut down while the investigation is ongoing. 

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