Today’s updates on NM movie set shooting

A veteran prop master said he turned down a job on the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” over warning signs on a production where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed last week by a prop gun fired by Baldwin.

“I turned the job opportunity down on ‘Rust’ because I felt it was completely unsafe,” Neal Zoromski told NBC News’ Miguel Almaguer…

Zoromski indicated that one potential issue that stood out to him was that producers combined the positions of assistant prop master and armorer into one job on the film.

“I impressed upon them that there were great concerns about that, and they didn’t really respond to my concerns about that,” Zoromski said.

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Detectives found loose and boxed ammunition, some of it in a fanny pack, at the New Mexico movie set of “Rust” after the fatal shooting of the Western’s cinematographer, according to a police search warrant inventory.

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Three black revolvers and nine spent shell casings also were collected, according to the list filed with the Santa Fe Magistrates Court and released Monday.

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Typically, ammunition would be kept in a single labeled box, veteran professional armorer Mike Tristano told The New York Times. “The fact that there is loose ammunition and casings raises questions about the organization of the armory department,” he said.

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And so it goes…

34 thoughts on “Today’s updates on NM movie set shooting

  1. Plot sickens says:

    ♳ “A lawyer for the armorer who oversaw weapons used on the Rust movie set suggested on Wednesday that someone deliberately put a live round into the gun used by Alec Baldwin when he accidentally shot dead a cinematographer.”
    …Asked who would intentionally place live ammunition with dummy rounds, Bowles said on NBC’s Today show that he believed it could be a person who wanted “to prove a point, to say that they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy”.
    “And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before,” he said. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/03/rust-armorer-laywer-suggests-sabotage-baldwin-live-round
    ♴ Former ‘Rust’ crew member slams armorer lawyers’ gun ‘sabotage’ allegations as ‘irresponsible’ https://www.insider.com/former-rust-crew-member-calls-armorers-sabotage-allegations-irresponsible-2021-11
    https://www.insider.com/former-rust-crew-member-calls-armorers-sabotage-allegations-irresponsible-2021-11
    “…In a statement to CNN, “Rust” producers said (first camera assistant) Luper’s “allegations around budget and safety are patently false.”
    “He had absolutely nothing to [do] with, or knowledge of, safety protocols or budgets,” the statement read. “[S]afety is always the number one priority on our films, and it is truly awful to see some using this tragedy for personal gain.”
    ♵ “Rust’ Update: DA Doesn’t Rule Out Criminal Charges, Producers Hire Outside Lawyers to Investigate” (10/26/21) https://www.thewrap.com/rust-update-da-doesnt-rule-out-criminal-charges-producers-hire-outside-lawyers-to-investigate/
    “…In addition to cooperating with authorities, we hired a legal team from Jenner & Block to conduct an investigation of the events. We have stressed that they will have full discretion about who to interview and any conclusions they draw,” producers said in a message to “Rust” cast and crew. “They may reach out to you over the next week as well. Because we want to reduce the amount of times you are inconvenienced, when allowed, Jenner & Block will join you for the OSHA interview.”

  2. Filmer says:

    “Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shooting: ‘Immature’ gun handling alarmed cast and crew, sources allege” https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/alec-baldwin-rust-shooting-immature-gun-handling
    Unexpectedly comprehensive article includes SCRIBD copies of the Contract Services Administration Trust Fund (CSATF) and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) “Recommendations for safety with firearms and use of ‘blank ammunition'” and the October 27th Santa Fe County Sheriff’s search warrant for the armorer’s white ‘prop truck’. Affidavit for the search warrant includes a description of the investigation and the initial statements of those involved in the incident.
    Meanwhile: “Trump Floats Reckless Claim ‘Troubled’ Alec Baldwin Intentionally Shot ‘Rust’ Cinematographer” https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/trump-floats-reckless-claim-troubled-030101659.html

    • Parade's Gone By says:

      Gun related deaths go back to the dawn of cinema with extra Charles Chandler shot in the head in 1915 while filming the Cecil B. DeMille movie “The Captive”. He died after a bullet was left in a rifle after soldiers shot at a door with live ammunition to give the scene more realism. https://moviessilently.com/2016/09/22/the-captive-1915-a-silent-film-review/ (scroll down to “The Accident” for a lengthy description)
      The film was thought to be lost until it was rediscovered in 1970 in the Paramount Pictures Vault and later donated to the Library of Congress where it is now preserved.
      “The Captive” has been released on DVD and Bluray and is available through Amazon.

  3. Vic Morrow says:

    “NM film crews blame out-of-state leadership” (Albuquerque Journal) https://www.abqjournal.com/2444221/nm-film-crews-blame-outofstate-leadership.html
    “…Two “Rust” crew members laid the blame for some of the issues in the production on certain out-of-state leaders. The production was scheduled for a 21-day shoot.
    “We have a big vision on a small budget, and because of that I will be controlling costs very closely,” an email from a supervisor to the production team said. “Production is available to help in any way possible to help each department achieve their goals while staying within budget. Please utilize us in the creative problem solving process!”
    The email went on to say that departments should understand “all 6th and 7th work days, additional man days, as well as pre-calls must be approved by myself and will be noted in writing in the PRs and with payroll. Pre-call requests should be with the understanding that the department will NDB (Non-Deductible Break) breakfast, so we do not incur meal penalties when we need to save those for actual meal penalty occurrences.”
    Working six and seven days on a production leaves little time for a rest period.
    Crew members are now expressing regret about not raising concerns earlier, saying they feared repercussions.
    The New Mexico Film Office has taken notice and put up a page on set safety on its website, nmfilm.com. It provides information on ways to submit workplace safety complaints to OSHA. [see https://nmfilm.com/set-safety/%5D
    “A duty officer will take the complaint and employees may remain anonymous,” the site says.

  4. Update says:

    “The prosecutor investigating the fatal shooting on the Rust film set in New Mexico last month has rejected conspiracy theories launched by defense attorneys of crew members suggesting that the death of the cinematographer could have been the result of a mysterious sabotage plot.
    “We do not have any proof,” the Santa Fe county district attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies, told ABC News in an interview broadcast on Wednesday morning.
    “Do you believe sabotage is a possibility?” a reporter asked, to which Carmack-Altwies firmly replied: “No.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/10/rust-shooting-conspiracy-theory-sabotage-plot
    ‘Last week, Jason Bowles, attorney of the set’s 24-year-old weapons armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, said someone may have sabotaged the film set, noting: “I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy.”
    Carmack-Altwies also confirmed that she knew the identity of the person who loaded the gun but refused to provide details. Additionally, she contested claims made by Lisa Torraco, attorney for the assistant director, who said that Halls did not take the gun from the prop cart and hand it to Baldwin.’

  5. Update says:

    The attorney for Rust assistant director David Halls said that his client insisted that Alec Baldwin did not pull the trigger on the gun that discharged on the set of the movie, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring the movie’s director.
    On Good Morning America, Halls’ attorney Lisa Torraco said, “Dave has told me since the very first day I met him that Alec did not pull that trigger. His finger was never in the trigger guard.” https://deadline.com/2021/12/alec-baldwin-shooting-rust-didnt-pull-trigger-1234883449/

  6. Update says:

    Rust shooting: Alec Baldwin turns phone over to investigators (BBC) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-60006166
    Aaron Dyer, Mr Baldwin’s attorney, told BBC partner CBS News that his client had voluntarily turned over the phone.
    Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office confirmed the actor had turned over his device to authorities near his home in New York.
    Police had said earlier this week that the actor was not co-operating with the inquiry.
    Santa Fe County Sheriff spokesperson Juan Rios told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that police intend to gather data like text messages and voicemails off the handset as part of their investigation into the incident.

  7. Legal Beagle says:

    “Yet another civil lawsuit filed Monday concerning the fatal shooting which occurred on the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” in New Mexico last year accidentally named the wrong victim.” https://lawandcrime.com/celebrity/civil-lawsuit-involving-fatal-shooting-on-alec-baldwin-film-set-awkwardly-claims-the-armorer-died-she-didnt/
    Lots of new details in article – scroll down for full lawsuit Cherlyn Schaefer v. Rust Movie Productions LCC. [Defendants: Rust Movie Productions, LLC (the movie company); armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed; prop master Sarah Zachry; assistant director David Halls; PDQ Arm & Prop, LLC (the supplier of the film’s ammunition); Seth Kenney (PDQ’s owner); Bonanza Creek Film Locations, LLC; Bonanza Creek Ranch, LLC (the location where the shooting occurred); and Bonanza Creek representative Shannon Hughes.]
    The named plaintiff, Cherlyn Schaefer, identifies herself as the “key medic” on set and says she “suffered tremendous shock, trauma, and severe emotional distress as a result” of the incident; she also said those effects have “prevented her from returning to her chosen profession.”

  8. Lee Sholem says:

    Alec Baldwin & ‘Rust’ Movie Sued For Wrongful Death By Halyna Hutchins Estate; Lawyers Make Case With Animated Re-Enactment – Update https://deadline.com/2022/02/alec-baldwin-lawsuit-wrongful-deathrust-halyna-hutchins-1234933896/
    The 29-page lawsuit is the latest that alleges that the producers and other executives intentionally flouted industry protocols to save money while putting workers in unsafe situations. The complaint states that Baldwin and other higher-ups repeatedly brushed aside concerns from crew members about the dangerous handling of guns, including a text message from a camera operator days before Hutchins died that there had already been three accidental gun discharges.
    “This is super unsafe,” camera operator Lane Luper wrote on Oct. 16.
    The cinematographer’s family is also suing the others involved in the making of the film, including Ryan Smith and Allen Cheney, who have come under scrutiny for how they’ve treated staff on past low-budget productions, as well as Emily Salveson, Nathan Klingher, Ryan Winterstern, Anjul Nigam, and Matthew DelPiano. Also named are Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, prop master Sarah Zachary, assistant director Dave Halls, and the company the live rounds allegedly came from, among others. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks/halyna-hutchins-family-lawsuit-alec-baldwin-rust

  9. Screenplay says:

    “This Cannot Be Right”: How the Gun in Alec Baldwin’s Hands Turned the Rust Set Deadly
    Five errors contributed to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’s death. Inside the investigation into a fatal accident that’s shaken the film industry—and sent the district attorney on a quest for answers. (Vanity Fair) https://apple.news/AIBeS6F9UQ067kT6q1z-vUQ

  10. D.W. says:

    The Directors Guild of America has told its members to stop work on a new horror movie backed by “Rust” producers Thomasville Pictures. https://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/directors-guild-orders-members-off-rust-producers-new-movie/ar-AAVqaCc
    In a recent note to members, the union said it pulled its backing of the project, citing safety concerns. The decision effectively bars directors, assistant directors and unit production managers from working on the Georgia production.
    “Representatives of the DGA informed the producers of specific safety requirements that needed to be satisfied for the film to be covered under a DGA agreement. The producers failed to meet those conditions,” the guild said in a statement.
    The DGA did not specify specific the alleged safety issues on the film.

  11. Ante up says:

    New Mexico workplace safety regulators on Wednesday issued the maximum possible fine against a film production company for firearms safety failures on the set of “Rust” where a cinematographer was fatally shot in October 2021 by actor and producer Alec Baldwin. https://apnews.com/article/alec-baldwin-entertainment-business-new-mexico-shootings-593c19fdb4dd7657aaaeacd85c689456
    New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau said Rust Movie Productions must pay $139,793, and distributed a scathing narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on set prior to the fatal shooting. The bureau also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded and said weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training.
    “What we had, based on our investigators’ findings, was a set of obvious hazards to employees regarding the use of firearms and management’s failure to act upon those obvious hazards,” Bob Genoway, bureau chief for occupational safety, told The Associated Press.

  12. Over2U says:

    The producers of Rust are appealing a New Mexico safety agency’s finding that they knew that firearm safety procedures weren’t being followed on set and demonstrated a “plain indifference” to the welfare of cast and crew.
    According to a notice of contest filed on Tuesday, Rust Movie Productions argued that the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau is out of its depth and unequipped to make determinations of safety violations on movie sets. https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/rust-producers-appeal-mexico-safety-192751100.html

  13. Blame on Mame says:

    “One ‘Rust’ Producer Dodges Some Claims in Suit From Script Supervisor : A Los Angeles judge on Thursday dismissed claims of assault and infliction of emotional distress against producer Anjul Nigam and his loan-out corporation, Brittany House Pictures, because the discharge of the gun was “unexpected.” (Hollywood Reporter) https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/one-rust-producer-dodges-some-claims-in-suit-from-script-supervisor-1235181299/
    Includes SCRIBD of court proceedings: MAMIE MITCHELL, AN INDIVIDUAL vs RUST MOVIE PRODUCTIONS, LLC., A DOMESTIC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, et al.

  14. Yowza says:

    “The fatal film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin last year was an accident, according to a determination made by New Mexico’s Office of the Medical Investigator following the completion of an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports.” https://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/medical-investigator-rules-baldwin-set-shooting-an-accident-1.6028350
    “The medical investigator’s report was made public Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office along with numerous reports from the FBI on the revolver and ammunition that were collected following the shooting.
    Prosecutors have not yet decided if any charges will be filed in the case, saying they would review the latest reports and were awaiting cellphone data from Baldwin’s attorneys.
    …In reaching its conclusion that the shooting was an accident, New Mexico’s medical investigator’s office pointed to “the absence of obvious intent to cause harm or death” and stated that there was said “no compelling demonstration” that the revolver was intentionally loaded with live ammunition on the set.”

  15. Hollywood Bob says:

    US actor Alec Baldwin said he does not believe anyone will be criminally charged over the fatal shooting on the set of Western film “Rust,” telling CNN he has hired a private investigator to assess culpability for the tragedy. https://www.arabnews.com/node/2146401/entertainment
    While insisting he does not want to “condemn” Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film set’s armorer and props assistant, Baldwin pointed the finger of blame at her and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the gun moments before the shooting.
    “Someone put a live bullet in the gun who should have known better,” Baldwin said.
    Baldwin also used the CNN interview to address former US President Donald Trump’s public intimation that he could have killed Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on purpose.
    Trump last year told a podcast that Baldwin — who frequently impersonated and ridiculed the president on “Saturday Night Live” — was a “troubled guy,” suggesting that “maybe he loaded” the gun.
    Baldwin told CNN he was consequently worried that some of Trump’s supporters would “come and kill me.”
    “Here was Trump, who instructed people to commit acts of violence, and he was pointing the finger at me and saying I was responsible for the death,” said Baldwin.
    “There is just this torrent of people attacking me who don’t know the facts.”

    • Movie guy says:

      ‘Rust’ Script Supervisor Drops Some Claims Against Producer
      The move comes after Rust Movie Production stated that it wasn’t the employer responsible for supervising the film set in contesting a fine from a New Mexico safety agency. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/rust-script-supervisor-drops-some-claims-against-producer-1235211404/
      “The law properly permits producers to delegate such critical functions as firearm safety to experts in that field and does not place such responsibility on producers whose expertise is in arranging financing and contracting for the logistics of filming,” the Company’s filing reads. https://www.scribd.com/document/591162047/Mitchell-v-Rust-Movie-Productions#download&from_embed

      On July 23, 1982, Vic Morrow and two child actors, Renee Shinn Chen and Myca Dinh Le, are killed in an accident involving a helicopter during filming on the California set of Twilight Zone: The Movie.
      Twilight Zone co-director John Landis (Blues Brothers, Trading Places, National Lampoon’s Animal House) and four other men working on the film, including the special-effects coordinator and the helicopter pilot, were charged with involuntary manslaughter.
      During the subsequent trial, the defense maintained the crash was an accident that could not have been predicted while the prosecution claimed Landis and his crew had been reckless and violated laws regarding child actors, including regulations about their working conditions and hours. Following the emotional 10-month trial, a jury acquitted all five defendants in 1987. The families of the three victims filed lawsuits against Landis, Warner Brothers and Twilight Zone co-director and producer Steven Spielberg that were settled for undisclosed amounts.

      • Glamorous says:

        In April, New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau found that the Rust Movie Productions company demonstrated a “plain indifference” to the welfare of cast and crew, pointing to the introduction of live ammunition and a failure to train crew on how to properly handle firearms.
        On Tuesday the production company moved to appeal the decision, which led to the filing of an administrative complaint after failed settlement discussions to resolve the citation. In its answer, the company emphasized that its responsibilities were limited to financing and contracting with crew and talent to make the movie.
        “The crew contracted by RMP were independent contractors,” states the filing from the producer. “Where applicable, the head of each independent contractor was responsible for the individuals within his or her department (e.g., special effects, stunts, or animal wranglers).”
        https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-news/rust-producer-denies-liability-shooting-1235213459/
        The move is a clear decision to create distance from armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who supervised gun safety on the Rust set. It also comes just as the Santa Fe County district attorney’s office prepares whether or not to file criminal charges over the incident.
        The standard over whether Gutierrez-Reed qualifies as an independent contractor varies in civil court and proceedings before the safety agency.

  16. Arbuckle says:

    SANTA FE, N.M. — (AP) — New Mexico has granted funds to pay for possible prosecutions connected to last year’s fatal film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Thursday.
    The state Board of Finance greenlit more than $317,000 to cover the cost of investigating potential charges in the shooting on the set of “Rust” outside Santa Fe.
    First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies made an emergency request for the funds to go toward a special prosecutor, special investigator, several experts and other personnel.
    As many as four people could face charges, according to a copy of the request obtained by the newspaper, though Carmack-Altwies did not say anyone definitely would.
    “One of the possible defendants is well known movie actor Alec Baldwin,” she stated.
    When reached for comment by the newspaper, she declined to say which crew members or cast could face charges. The possible charges her office is looking at range from homicide to violations of state gun statutes.

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