As Alec Baldwin defends ‘Rust’ production, armorer from reported on-set strife, discrepancies emerge


As the investigation into the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust” continues, clear discrepancies are emerging among crew members and producers like Alec Baldwin regarding the incident as well as conditions on set prior. 

Baldwin, who was holding the gun that somehow fired a live round that resulted in the death of Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza, hasn’t said much about the shooting. He previously explained to photographers during an impromptu roadside Q&A that he has been asked not to speak about the incident as investigators are still trying to determine what happened and if any criminal charges will be filed. 

However, he has shared a few brief comments on social media in which he seemingly denies culpability on behalf of the production for an allegedly rushed and corner-cutting set. He also seems to join those who believe assistant director Dave Halls is responsible for the incident. Halls was one of very few people, including armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who handled the gun prior to Baldwin discharging a real bullet. 

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said the investigation will focus on the people who held the gun as well as figuring out how live rounds made their way to the set at all. According to a search warrant previously executed by the sheriff’s department, Halls noted during an interview with detectives that he should have checked the rounds in the gun better after being handed the gun by Gutierrez Reed, who also believed it was filled with dummy rounds incapable of discharging. 

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Baldwin broke his Twitter silence shortly after these details came to light to retweet an article that was critical of Halls’ handling of the gun and the fact that he seemingly did not inspect the ammunition that was inside of it properly. 

Alec Baldwin spoke with reporters about the deadly on-set shooting on the movie "Rust."

Alec Baldwin spoke with reporters about the deadly on-set shooting on the movie “Rust.”
(Fox News Digital)

Halls’ attorney, Lisa Torraco, joined Fox News’ Martha MacCallum for an interview on “The Story” where she addressed the inspection of the gun and couldn’t seem to lock down her client’s culpability. 

“This idea my client grabbed the gun and handed it to Baldwin absolutely did not happen,” she said but later backtracked and dodged questions about whether Halls handed the gun to Baldwin, despite McCallum asking whether Halls “doesn’t know if he handed the gun to Alec Baldwin.”

While Halls was allegedly one of the last people to handle the gun before it went off and was indeed tasked with checking it prior to giving it to the actor, some believe that Gutierrez Reed may have dropped the ball as well. Her attorneys noted during an interview on the “Today” show Wednesday that she loaded the gun from a box of ammunition that was supposed to only contain dummy rounds. Somehow, neither she nor Halls realized live rounds had been mixed in.

“Rust” was only the second movie that Gutierrez Reed, 24, had worked on as the sole armorer, thus calling her abilities into question. Her attorneys noted that she was also brought onto the film as an assistant prop master, spreading her even thinner when it came to doing her due diligence on the allegedly rushed production. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, veteran armorer Neal W. Zoromski noted that he turned down the job of armorer on “Rust” because he was asked to do both jobs as well and decided it was not a good idea. 

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On Tuesday evening, Baldwin took to Instagram, where he shared a Facebook comment from costume professional Terese Davis, who worked on the set of “Rust” with him. In it, she defended Gutierrez Reed’s abilities but noted that she was indeed a novice. 

Davis said the armorer “had apprenticed to a well-known armorer and had been in the same position on the same type of movie a few months before.”

Halyna Hutchins was a rising star in the cinematography world when she was hit with a projectile on set that ultimately killed her.

Halyna Hutchins was a rising star in the cinematography world when she was hit with a projectile on set that ultimately killed her.
(Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)

The crew member admitted that Gutierrez-Reed isn’t “the most experienced person” but insisted that her qualifications were “typical” for their production.

“We all had a first and second job at one point or another,” she said. “How do you suggest producers and UPMa sort out the people worth giving that show to from the people who just look good on their resume and have great references? Because Hannah had both.”

She added that “accidental discharges” are “more common thank you think,” seemingly referencing reports of three prior accidental discharges on-set. 

Davis went on to similarly defend Halls amid claims he was flippant about safety protocols. However, she still laid the blame for the incident at his feet. She noted he “screwed up majorly that day” and “made the most horrible call he could make.”

Regardless of whether Halls or Gutierrez Reed are solely responsible for the incident, the fact of the matter is that all these issues on the set fly in the face of Baldwin’s previous statement that they were “a very, very well-oiled crew” prior to the death of Hutchins. 

‘RUST’ MOVIE SHOOTING: DEPUTIES CONFISCATE MORE WEAPONS, AMMUNITION FROM SET

In fact, it seems it was far from it, according to a recent report from the Los Angeles Times. A dispute over hotel rooms and the commute crew members were forced to take to get back to Albuquerque, New Mexico, after reported 12-hour shoot days led to a lot of strife and morale issues on the set. 

It all culminated the morning of the shooting when the camera crew arrived on set to collect their belongings before walking off the job. Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys said on the “Today” show that they’re working on a theory that one of these disgruntled employees was responsible for bringing live rounds to set in an attempt to sabotage a production they believe mistreated them.

Alec Baldwin has defended the production of the movie "Rust."

Alec Baldwin has defended the production of the movie “Rust.”
(Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

“I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, would want to prove a point and want to say that they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,” Jason Bowles alleged. “We know that people walked off the set the day before and they’re unhappy. And the reason they’re unhappy is they’re working 12-14-hour days, they were not given hotel rooms in and around the area so they had to drive back and forth an hour to Albuquerque and they’re unhappy.”

However, in the statement from Davis that Baldwin seemingly endorsed by sharing it with his followers, she disputes claims that the crew was mistreated or not provided proper accommodations. 

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“We had a union rep. He finally told production not to give in to the camera crew because they were not demanding things the union does NOT require and they were trying to renegotiate a contract halfway through shooting…it’s called negotiating in bad faith,” she wrote. “The production was given permission to hire off the union overflow list for some of the camera crew the next day.”

Alec Baldwin was a producer on the movie "Rust."

Alec Baldwin was a producer on the movie “Rust.”
(Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images)

It’s worth noting that Baldwin has a personal stake in throwing blame away from the production on “Rust” as he himself is a producer as well as its star. Legal experts previously told Fox News that, although the district attorney has not ruled anything out, it’s doubtful that Baldwin will face criminal charges related to the incident. However, as a producer, he is certainly open to civil litigation stemming from the death of Hutchins. 

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As a result, Baldwin publicly defending the production and a relatively novice armorer who was stretched too thin by two jobs on a rushed shoot is not surprising. However, given the potential culpability of the assistant director in the incident, it’s possible that it’s also the truth of the matter.



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