Prop Gun Goes off On Film Set


Alec Baldwin speaking at the 2016 Comic Con

John Taylor, Reporter

Three weeks ago, Alec Baldwin shot and killed Rust cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, by a prop gun accidently going off.

The horrible incident occurred on a New Mexico set in Bonanza Creek Ranch on October 21st while filming for the now cancelled film, Rust. Baldwin fired a live round from a Colt .45 during rehearsal for a scene for the movie, killing Hutchins on the scene as well as injuring director, Joel Souza.

When asked what Tyler Lyon, Grandin Film Lab coordinator, though of this tragedy he responded, “I think the death of Halyna Hutchins was an easily avoidable tragedy given the very low percentage of incidents like these on film sets. Whether or not the cause of the accident was negligence, sabotage, or both remains to be seen. The emphasis on trying to speed up production and extend shoot days while simultaneously trying to reduce budgets is what is really dangerous.”

Lyon continued, “If widely accepted safety guidelines for working with firearms on set had been followed during the scene in question on Rust, I don’t see how Halyna Hutchins could have been killed. A gun that can fire rounds should be inspected and cleared by a trained firearms professional between every take of every shot in which it is used, and blank rounds should only be used when the camera actually needs to see the discharge. There is absolutely no place for live ammunition on a film set.”

When this story first released, people instantly called back to a case very similar, the death of Brandon Lee.

Brandon Lee was an actor and son of martial artist Bruce Lee. In 1993, Lee was shot and killed after a co-star fired a prop gun at him that contained real live bullets.

The shooting sparked a worldwide debate over firearm safety on set.

The question if real guns should be used as opposed to prop guns goes farther than the death of Lee and Hutchins and has been asked since the dawn of filmmaking.

But in the wake of Hutchins death, that question has been called upon towards the film industry again being, “Should real guns be used on movie sets?”

When asked that question to Tyler Lyon, he states, “While it’s fairly easy to use fake guns and simulate muzzle flash with VFX now, some folks believe the weight and feel of a real firearm combined with the recoil of firing a blank create a more realistic and believable performance. Regardless of whether or not I think real guns should continue to be used, I do think we will see more productions forsaking real guns in light of Hutchins being killed, but I doubt firearms that shoot blanks will disappear completely from the film industry – at least not in the short term.”

Halyna Hutchins was a Ukrainian cinematographer and a talent in the industry. She will be missed.

Who is to blame for her wrongful death?

The situation was an accident. As Baldwin stated in his first interview since the shooting, the incident was a “one-in-a-trillion event.”

Some people believe Baldwin should be convicted due to the fact that he was the one who fired the gun. As others say that the prop team is to blame since the gun was falsely loaded. But this story is far from over as lawsuits are being prepared towards Baldwin and producers.

Overall, the horrific incident is tragic and heartbreaking but reminds us the safety needed on set.