Authorities in New Mexico are investigating the incident, which also injured the movie’s director, Joel Souza. The International Cinematographers’ Guild, of which Hutchins was a member, called for “a full investigation into this tragic event.”
Hutchins also belonged to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the guild that represents many TV and movie crew members. HuffPost received a statement from IATSE Local 44 on Friday. It represents prop masters and said that no members of the organization were involved. A representative for IATSE Local 480, which represents the film’s New Mexico crew members, declined to comment.
The Los Angeles Times reported that hours before the fatal incident on Thursday, some members of the camera crew — all of whom are part of IATSE — had walked off the set, protesting unsafe working conditions. Hutchins was not among them but had tried to promote better conditions.
According to one source, production managers replaced nonunion employees with the staff.
“Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting,” the source said.
Because prop guns, television and other weapons are often used in films and TV shows, these kinds of tragic events are very rare. Security proceduresExperts develop and administer training courses. The LA Times was told by a source that the prop gun had misfired multiple times in recent days and there were “a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”
Dave BrownCanadian firearms specialist, Mr.. He has been developing safety trainings for TV and film for more than 25 years and has collaborated with stars like Robin Williams and Keanu Reeves. He stated Friday that he didn’t want to speculate about the incident as there are still many details. He stressed the importance of safety, and that an expert should be on-site.
“From my perspective, my only comment would be that firearms are as safe as any other prop when used responsibly. But they require the undivided attention of an experienced expert at all times,” he told HuffPost in an email. “My heart goes out to the families, friends and colleagues of all involved. Halyna was an amazing person who we worked with on a Winnipeg film. This is a great loss and the effect will be felt for years.”
A American Cinematographer Magazine 2019 Article, Brown wrote about how firearms specialists collaborate with a film’s director, actors, cinematographer and camera operators to ensure a safe environment when using real or fake guns. This includes advising clients on safest distances and angles.
Prop guns use “blanks:” cartridges that contain no bullets but have gunpowder “to create a bright flash at the end of the barrel, thereby convincing the audience that the gun has been fired.” But blanks can be dangerous when fired too close, he wrote.
In 1984, Jon-Erik Hexum, star of the CBS show “Cover Up: Golden Opportunity,” died after firing a prop gun containing blanks directly at his head. The actor, annoyed at delays in filming, “held the gun to his head, reportedly joking, ‘Can you believe this crap?’ and pulled the trigger,” Entertainment Weekly
Because the blank was so close to his head, “The impact from the blast fractured his skull, driving a bone fragment the size of a quarter into his brain and causing massive hemorrhaging.”
Social media users recalled many of their friends on Thursday Brandon Lee, actor and suicide in 1993Bruce Lee, the legendary actor’s son. While filming the movie “The Crow,” Brandon Lee died after his co-star Michael Massee fired a gun that was supposed to have blanks, but actually had a bullet lodged in the barrel.
“Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust,’” Lee’s sister Shannon Tweeted early Friday” “No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set.”
Some productions digitally insert gunshots and gunfire in post-production, but it can depend on the project’s budget and how the visual effects look on screen. As Brown wrote in 2019, “CGI may be used for close-range gunshots that could not be safely achieved otherwise.” But there can be benefits to using guns with blanks, “even with all the advancements in visual effects and computer-generated imagery” — as long as it’s done safely.
“The reason is simple: We want the scene to look as real as possible. We want the story and characters to be believable,” he wrote. “Blanks help contribute to the authenticity of a scene in ways that cannot be achieved in any other manner. If the cinematographer is there to paint a story with light and framing, firearms experts are there to enhance a story with drama and excitement.”