Crew member: Baldwin careful with guns before fatal shootout

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – A cameraman told authorities that Alec Baldwin had been careful with guns on the set of the movie “Rust” before the actor shot and killed a director of photography with a gun that was shot. had told her she was safe to use, court records released on Sunday show.

Cameraman Reid Russell told a detective that Baldwin was rehearsing a scene Thursday in which he had to pull out his gun while sitting on a church pew and point it at the camera. Russell said he was not sure the gun was checked before it was handed over to Baldwin.

The camera was not rolling when the gun went off, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Russell told a detective according to a search warrant affidavit.

Authorities said Friday deputy director Dave Halls handed the gun to Baldwin and advertised a “cold weapon”, saying it was safe to use. Asked how Baldwin treated guns on set, Russell said the actor was very careful, citing a case where Baldwin made sure a child actor was not near him when a gun was unloaded.

The affidavit released on Sunday also includes statements from director Joel Souza, who stood behind Hutchins and was injured.

He details the moments before the shoot and shows that there was trouble on the set on the day of the shoot. Several members of the film crew left production in a dispute over payment and accommodation, Russell said, and he still had a lot of work to do. Only one camera was available for filming, and it had to be moved because the light had changed and there was a shadow.

Souza said he was focused on how the scene would appear on camera. He said he recalled hearing the term “cold firearm” used before the shooting.

He said the scene they were filming did not call for the use of live ammunition.

Souza described the shot as resembling 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 she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series in 2019 over concerns about Halls’ behavior on the tray. Goll said in a phone interview on Sunday that Halls ignored safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and attempted to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician passed out on set.

Halls did not respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment.

The fatal shooting and previous experiences point to larger safety concerns that need to be addressed, Goll said, adding that the safety and well-being of team members were the main concerns during recent contract negotiations between a union. which represents film and television workers and a large group of producers.

“This situation does not concern Dave Halls. … It is by no means a person’s fault, ”she said. “It’s a larger conversation about safety on set and what we’re trying to achieve with this culture.”

The film’s chief electrician, Serge Svetnoy, blamed the producers for Hutchins’ death in a moving Facebook post on Sunday. Svetnoy said he had worked with Hutchins on several films and criticized the “negligence and unprofessional nature” of those handling guns on set. He said the producers hired an inexperienced gunsmith.

Hollywood professionals say they are baffled by the circumstances and production teams quickly tightened security measures.

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

“I don’t remember ever being handed a weapon that was not cleared in front of me – ie open chamber, barrel shown to me, light flashed in there inside the barrel to make sure it’s clear, ”Wright said. “Obviously, it was a poorly managed package.”

Actor Ray Liotta agreed with Wright that gun controls are generally extensive.

“They – to my knowledge – are still checking it so you can see,” Liotta said. “They give it to whoever you point the gun at, they give it to the producer, they show whoever is there that it doesn’t work.”

A vigil for Cackling took place in Southern California on Sunday, where attendees exchanged tearful hugs and speakers echoed calls for increased safety standards.

Baldwin, 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”, described the murder as a “tragic accident”.

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Flaccus reported from Portland, Oregon. Michelle Eaton in Newport Beach, Calif., Contributed to this report.


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