Actor Alec Baldwin was drawing a revolver on his body and pointing it at a camera during a rehearsal on a film set in the United States when he fired with tragic results, legal documents have revealed.
Director of photography Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured while filming Rust on Thursday.
Affidavits containing statements from Souza and camera operator Reid Russell shed more light on what happened.
Baldwin was given a prop pistol and told it was unloaded, according to court documents.
Souza was standing behind Hutchins when they were both shot, according to the affidavit.
“Joel claimed that Alec was sitting on a pew in a church building, practicing a cross draw,” he said.
“Joel said he was looking over the shoulder of [Hutchins], when he heard what sounded like a whip and then a loud crack. “
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The document says that Hutchins, 42, was shot in the chest.
“Joel then vaguely remembers [Hutchins] moaning about her stomach and grabbing her midsection. Joel also said [Hutchins] she began to stagger backwards and was helped to the ground. “
Russell, who was standing next to Hutchins at the time of the shooting, told officials he said he couldn’t feel his legs.
When asked how Baldwin treated firearms on set, Russell said the actor was very careful, citing a case in which the star made sure a child actor wasn’t near him when a gun was unloaded.
On Friday, authorities said Deputy Director Dave Halls handed the weapon to Baldwin and announced “cold gun”, indicating it was safe to use.
Meanwhile, Serge Svetnoy, Rust’s chief electrician, said in a Facebook post Sunday that he held Hutchins in his arms as he was dying and blamed “neglect and unprofessionalism” for his death.
On Sunday, a crew member who worked with Halls on another project said they raised concerns about its safety in 2019.
Disruption of the crew
Maggie Goll, a licensed prop and pyrotechnic manufacturer, told The Associated Press (AP) that she ignored safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics on the set of a TV show and tried to continue filming after the pyrotechnic supervisor has lost consciousness.
Halls did not respond to AP’s requests for comment. Goll added, “This situation isn’t about Dave Halls … It’s not a person’s fault in any way. It’s a broader conversation about safety on set and what we’re trying to achieve with that culture.”
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Both Souza and Russell also described a TV crew strike shortly before last week’s incident in New Mexico.
“Reid stated that the TV crew was having problems with production involving payment and accommodation,” the affidavit said, explaining that six crew members had left.
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into the incident, while the manufacturers are also conducting an internal investigation.
The producers suspended work on the set until “at least until the investigation is complete.”
In a statement read at a candlelight vigil Saturday, Hutchins’ husband Matthew called his wife’s death “a huge loss.”
He also posted photos of the couple with their nine-year-old son.
Baldwin’s co-star Jensen Ackles also paid tribute to Hutchins.
“I’m not even sure where to start,” he wrote. “This was a tragedy of epic proportions that we are still working on.
“There are simply not enough words to express what an immense loss this is. It will be incredibly missed by all of us who have known and admired it.”
Calls for a ban on real firearms on movie sets have increased, with a petition that garnered over 23,000 signatures by Monday. Actor Olivia Wilde was among those a give support.
California Senator Dave Cortese said Saturday it would push a bill banning live ammunition on movie sets in the state.
He said: “There is an urgent need to address alarming workplace abuse and security breaches that occur on the set of theatrical productions, including unnecessary high-risk conditions such as the use of real firearms.”
But some industry professionals said gun use wasn’t the problem.
Cinematic gunsmith SL Huang said he had worked on hundreds of movie sets without incident, thanks to strict security protocols.
The dead cinematographer “was an incredible artist”
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