‘Live’ weapons have been banned from the set of ABC television’s highly rated police drama The Rookie after a cinematographer was fatally shot and a director was wounded during filming of the movie Rust.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project’s showrunner, Alexei Hawley, mandated that the cast and crew would no longer utilize functional arms of any kind while working on the Nathan Fillion-led program.
Instead, cast and crew will handle airsoft guns, which are replica guns with reduced power that typically fire plastic pellets.
The move was made as production of the movie that Alec Baldwin was making when he shot and killed a cinematographer last week has been officially halted, but producers of the Western described the move as ‘a pause rather than an end.’
The camera was not rolling when the gun went off and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, according to investigators.
ABC television is banning ‘live’ weapons and has mandated that airsoft guns be used as props on its hit police drama The Rookie. The image above shows cast members Eric Winter (front) and Melissa O’Neil (left)
Alec Baldwin is pictured sobbing after shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his upcoming movie Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday
The camera was not rolling when the gun went off and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (above) and wounded director Joel Souza, according to investigators
The image above shows airsoft replica guns being displayed during the National Rifle Association annual meeting in Indianapolis in 2019
Souza was standing behind Hutchins when the shooting took place.
Also known as non-powder guns or imitation firearms, airsoft guns are replicas that are normally used for target practice and military-style games similar to paintball guns or BB guns.
Federal law requires that anyone wishing to purchase an airsoft gun be at least 18 years of age. There are no federal regulations as to how old someone must be to use an airsoft gun.
Nationwide, states have put in place varying restrictions on the sale and use of airsoft guns.
New York bars anyone under the age of 16 from possessing an airsoft gun while Minnesota requires anyone under the age of 18 to get their parents’ permission.
Airsoft guns have been used as props in several high-profile television shows and movies, including The Walking Dead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Killjoys, and 28 Weeks Later.
The executive also wrote a memo to the staff of the series that addressed the need for increased firearm safety on set following Thursday’s tragic and fatal accident that occurred during the production of Rust.
Hawley’s message began by expressing that The Rookie’s executives sympathized with the victims of the Rust incident.
‘The tragic events in New Mexico yesterday have shaken us all, and our hearts go out to the friends and family of Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza,’ it read.
Airsoft guns have been used as props in several high-profile television shows and movies, including The Walking Dead (above)
Airsoft guns were also used as props in the filming of the 2007 thriller 28 Weeks Later
Hawley’s message also pointed out that, effective immediately, every firearm that will be used during the production of the series would not take traditional ammunition or blanks of any sort.
‘As of today, it is now policy on The Rookie that all gunfire on set will be Air Soft guns with CG muzzle flashes added in post. There will be no more “live” weapons on the show. The safety our cast and crew is too important. Any risk is too much risk.’
Hawley’s memo concluded by noting that if crew members ‘ever feel unsafe or witness anything that concerns you, please don’t hesitate to report it.’
The crew of The Rookie has previously utilized CGI imagery to mimic muzzle flashes, although ‘live’ weapons have occasionally been used during outdoor filming.
In an email to crew members, the movie’s production team confirmed that work on Rust has been suspended at least until the investigation is complete.
The team said it is working with law enforcement and is conducting its own internal safety review.
The production company is also offering grief counseling.
The sheriff’s investigation continued Monday. The team said that it could not respond to comments made in news reports or on social media.
The email suggested that production could resume at some point.
‘Although our hearts are broken, and it is hard to see beyond the horizon, this is, at the moment, a pause rather than an end,’ the email read.
Gun that went off in Alec Baldwin’s hands and claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins was used for off-set target practice by crew members and live ammo and blanks were stored together, sources say
Alec Baldwin was wielding a vintage Colt pistol when it accidentally went off. It is not known who loaded the weapon and why it went off as a replacement crew was brought in the day of the incident (The gun pictured above is a vintage Colt pistol manufactured between 1873-92. While the exact model of the gun used is unknown, Rust is set in the 1880s)
The gun that killed the cinematographer on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust had been used for target practice by crew members, sources linked to the western film’s production said.
Multiple sources connected to the set of Rust told TMZ that the same Colt pistol that went off in Alec Baldwin’s hands, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, had been used recreationally by crew members.
The sources claim that some crew members would go off for target practice using real bullets, and some believe a live round from those practice sessions found its way onto the set.
Another source told TMZ that live ammo and blanks were being stored in the same area on set, offering another possible explanation as to how a bullet was fired from Baldwin’s Colt.
A search warrant released Friday said that Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had laid out three prop guns on a cart outside the filming location, and first assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the Colt from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds.
‘Cold gun!’ shouted Halls before handing the gun to Baldwin, using the phrase to signal to cast and crew that the gun was safe to fire for the scene, the warrant said.
Seconds later, filming a scene inside an Old West-style church, Baldwin apparently aimed towards the camera and pulled the trigger, accidentally killing Hutchins as she filmed him, and injuring Souza, who stood behind her.
Two production sources who previously worked with Gutierrez-Reed said this was not the first time she was involved in an incident on a movie set.
The two sources told The Daily Beast that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had allegedly given an 11-year-old actress a gun without checking it properly while on the set of the Nicholas Cage film, The Old Way.
‘There were a couple times she was loading the blanks and doing it in a fashion that we thought was unsafe,’ one of the sources said.
Sources on the set of Rust said the incident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins could be tied to the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed
‘She was a bit careless with the guns, waving it around every now and again.’
Sources on the Rust set have said the fatal incident that killed Hutchins, 42, and injured Souza, 48, was a result of production failings from top to bottom.
They added that assistant director Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin and told him it was safe, should have checked the weapon.
‘He’s supposed to be our last line of defense and he failed us,’ one of the sources on set said. ‘He’s the last person that’s supposed to look at that firearm.’
A Rust production source told The Daily Beast that there were at least two previous incidents of guns being accidentally discharged by other crewmember on set before Thursday’s tragic incident.
The source described Gutierrez-Reed as ‘inexperienced and green.’
Moments before the shooting, Baldwin was explaining how he was going to draw the revolver from his holster and where his arm would be positioned, court records show.
The actor had been told that the gun was safe to use for the rehearsal of a scene in which he was supposed to pull out the weapon while sitting in a church pew and point it at the camera, the records said.
Cameraman Reid Russell told a detective that he was unsure whether the weapon was checked before it was handed to Baldwin, and he did not know why the gun was fired.
Authorities said Friday that the assistant director, Dave Halls, had handed the weapon to Baldwin and announced ‘cold gun,’ indicating it was safe.
When asked about how Baldwin treated firearms on the set, Russell said the actor was safe, citing a previous instance when Baldwin made sure a child actor was not near him when a gun was being discharged.
The affidavit released Sunday also included statements by Souza, who was standing behind Hutchins and was wounded.
It detailed the moments before the shooting and showed that there was turmoil on the set the day of the shooting.
Several members of the camera crew walked off the production in a dispute over payment and lodging, Russell said, and he was left with a lot of work to do.
A distraught Alec Baldwin lingers in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film Rust on the outskirts of Santa Fe on Thursday
People attend a vigil for late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in Burbank, California on Sunday
The tragedy on the set of Rust raised fresh questions about workplace safety in Hollywood
Only one camera was available to shoot, and it had to be moved because the light had shifted and there was a shadow.
Souza said he was focused on how the scene would appear on camera.
He said he recalled hearing the phrase ‘cold gun’ before the shooting, the affidavit said.
He said the scene did not call for the use of live rounds.
After a lunch break, Souza said he was not sure if the firearm had been checked again.
Souza was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder when he heard the gunshot, according to the affidavit.
On Sunday, a crew member who worked with Halls on another project said she had raised safety concerns about him in 2019.
Maggie Goll, a prop 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 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.
David Halls is the Assistant Director of Rust, the Western movie Baldwin was acting in and producing when he accidentally killed Hutchins on Thursday and wounded director Joel Souza
Halls was working on the set of Freedom’s Path in 2019 when the gun ‘unexpectedly discharged’. He was fired then replaced. The movie has not been released yet
The fatal shooting and previous experiences point to larger safety issues that need to be addressed, Goll said, adding that crew member safety and well-being were top issues in recent 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.’
The film’s chief electrician, Serge Svetnoy, blamed producers for Hutchins’ death in an emotional Facebook post on Sunday.
Svetnoy said he had worked with Hutchins on multiple films and faulted ‘negligence and unprofessionalism’ among those handling weapons on the set. He said producers hired an inexperienced armorer.
Since the shooting, other production crews have 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 he learned 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.’
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 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.’
‘Kind and loving’ cinematographer killed in Alec Baldwin tragedy: Ukraine-born married mother Halyna Hutchins, 42, was raised on a Soviet military base surrounded by nuclear submarines, trained as a journalist and was tipped as a rising star in Hollywood
Sun streaming from above, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins smiles into the camera as she films herself riding off into the New Mexico desert on horseback.
This was the last Instagram post shared by the married mother-of-one before she was accidentally killed by actor Alec Baldwin when he fired a prop gun while filming a scene for an upcoming Western on a ranch near Santa Fe.
Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base ‘surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines’, Halyna, 42, had trained as a journalist and spent time in Europe working on British documentaries before making the move to Los Angeles, where she had established her career – and started a family.
Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base ‘surrounded by reindeer and submarines’, Halyna had recently wrapped on a project in Ireland and was tipped for a bright future in Hollywood when her life was so tragically cut short. Pictured, in 2018
Her social media profiles also paint a clear image of a free-spirited, much-loved friend, many of whom have been paying tribute. Pictured, a touching post by close friend Stephanie
Remembered by friends as a ‘kind’ and ‘loving soul’, Halyna lived in Venice Beach, California, with her husband Matthew, a lawyer, and their son Andros, known affectionately as her ‘little man’ and thought to be around nine years old.
‘Halyna loved him so much and enjoyed watching him grow into the handsome boy he is today,’ one friend wrote in a moving Instagram tribute. ‘I know she is looking after him and Matt in this horribly scary time.’
Social media photos capture a playfulness and sense of adventure, with Halloween costume parties, road trips with friends and days out exploring all lit up by Halyna’s smile.
She was also highly regarded by her peers and had been tipped as a ‘rising star’ by other cinematographers. ‘She was somebody who was absolutely dedicated to art and integrity,’ director, colleague and friend Adam Mortimer told GMB this morning. ‘I can tell already she was going to be a genius.’
Halya (right) on a visit back to Kiev in December 2018. She was raised on a military base in the country and later attended the National University of Kyiv, studying International Journalism
Baldwin, 62, was filming a scene for new film Rust when the gun went off around 1.50pm, fatally wounding Hutchins and leaving writer-director Joel Souza, 48, injured. The incident took place at Bonanza Creek Ranch.
Hutchins was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in an air ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time after.
Souza was taken by ambulance to the Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center. He has since been released although his exact condition is unclear.
Will Stewart, Daily Mail’s Moscow correspondent, told how Halyna had worked for him in the mid-2000s.
‘This is devastating and incomprehensible news about the death of Halyna Hutchins. She worked for my news agency from Kyiv for several years in the mid-2000s after graduating from a local university in International Journalism.
‘Halyna was involved in many stories for British newspapers and magazines, but she showed a special talent for documentaries, perhaps her first taste of film in which she went on to be so successful in America.
‘At this time while she was with us, in 2006, she was Associate Producer on a documentary for Discovery Channel on Ukrainian icon Leonid Stadnyk called World’s Tallest Man, made by British company Wild Pictures.
‘She was instrumental in Mr Stadnyk feeling at ease taking part in the documentary which focused on the problems of being exceptionally tall.
‘The film, made by leading British director Richard Denton, with former BBC Head of Documentaries Paul Hamann as executive producer, would not have happened without her.
‘Mr Stadnyk, a shy man, trusted Halyna after refusing many other film offers, and thanked her afterwards.
‘Pictures ahead of the film shows him towering over Halyna at his home in the village of Podoliantsy.
‘She later went to the US with her husband Matt and accomplished great things through her huge talent and creativity but also her relentless determination to study and learn.
‘She once told my Russian colleagues that she felt she was a perpetual student in America, but her efforts paid off and she achieved the success she thoroughly deserved.
‘It is tragic that she died in such a cruel and inexplicable way while doing the job she so loved.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Matt and their son, and Halyna’s family in Ukraine.’
Richard Denton, the producer behind Shakespeare Uncovered and many films in the former USSR, said today: ‘Halyna was the most wonderful, vital, lively and positive person to work with.
‘She was friendly and enormously helpful. She handled everything from translating interviews to making Leonid’s horse move in the right direction.
‘She was completely unpretentious and incredibly professional.’
Her death was ‘senseless and stupid.’