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World: Alec Baldwin’s role as producer on ‘Rust’ could play a key role in shooting investigation: former filmmaker

Alec Baldwin's 'Rust' movie conducting 'internal review' after reported complaints of set conditions

  Alec Baldwin's 'Rust' movie conducting 'internal review' after reported complaints of set conditions Rust Movie Productions, the company behind the movie "Rust," has launched an "internal review" after an on-set accident left one dead and another wounded after Alec Baldwin accidentally discharged a prop gun.On Thursday, the 63-year-old actor discharged a prop gun during a rehearsal, resulting in the death of Halyna Hutchins, who was working as the film's director of photography.

Alec Baldwin’s role as a producer in the Western "Rust" has become a subject of growing scrutiny.

On Oct. 21, the star pulled the trigger on a prop gun while filming in New Mexico and unwittingly killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured Joel Souza. While it’s likely Baldwin the actor won’t be held criminally or civilly liable for the tragedy, Baldwin the producer might be, along with several others in leadership positions.

Carew Papritz, a former Hollywood filmmaker and an award-winning author, told Fox News "it depends on your key players" when it comes to the 63-year-old's involvement in the hiring process for the movie.

Assistant director who gave Alec Baldwin gun was subject of complaints dating back to 2019

  Assistant director who gave Alec Baldwin gun was subject of complaints dating back to 2019 A crew member says she has raised safety concerns in the past about the assistant director who authorities say unwittingly handed actor Alec Baldwin the prop gun that killed a cinematographer on a film set. 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 assistant director Dave Halls' behaviourMaggie 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 assistant director Dave Halls' behaviour on set.

Alec Baldwin serves as both producer and actor in the Western film 'Rust. © Jim Spellman/Getty Images Alec Baldwin serves as both producer and actor in the Western film 'Rust." Jim Spellman/Getty Images

"I would guess that the production designer, maybe your camera operators, some of your line people, you’ll secure," Papritz explained. "You’ll probably secure your production manager. And if they’ve been in the industry long enough, they’ll bring in their crews. So when you hire your key people, that’s important. So my guess is he would be responsible for knowing the experience of those positions. But knowing that it was a low-budget project, he was probably a much more hands-off producer."

SHERIFF INVESTIGATING ALEC BALDWIN SHOOTING INCIDENT SAYS ARMORER'S STATEMENT WAS 'NOT ACCURATE'

It’s known that Baldwin and Souza, 48, worked together on the 2019 police drama "Crown Vic." And with a budget of a reported $6 million to $7 million, "Rust" was likely a passion project for Baldwin.

Rust crew member says he held Halyna Hutchins 'while she was dying' after prop gun shooting

  Rust crew member says he held Halyna Hutchins 'while she was dying' after prop gun shooting Halyna Hutchins' colleague has shared his account of the on-set shooting that claimed the cinematographer's life last week, saying he "held her" as she was dying. Hutchins, 42, was accidentally shot and killed by actor Alec Baldwin on Thursday while the actor was rehearsing a scene for the film Rust that involved him pointing a revolver in the direction of a camera lens. Serge Svetnoy, the film's 'gaffer' or chief electrician, wrote in a Facebook post titled "My vision of the RUST tragedy" that he was standing next to Hutchins when she was killed.

"This is a total low budget," said Papritz, who has worked on film and TV sets with actors like Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando, among others. "That makes me think it was one of those vanity projects. You can make your money back on $6 million without blinking. But that type of script may not have sold to producers. We just don’t know. Yes, he’s got power and all that, but the script and the fact that it was likely a vanity project may not have sold. How do you guarantee a significant return [of money] after it comes out? You can’t when it’s a low-budget project."

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is survived by her husband and their son Sonia Recchia/Getty Images) © Sonia Recchia/Getty Images) Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is survived by her husband and their son Sonia Recchia/Getty Images)

"And the other issue when it’s a low budget project is you won’t excite the top people to get involved even with Alec Baldwin being a part of it," Papritz continued. "Someone may go, ‘If I get involved, I’ll have to take my rate down.’ Someone may go, ‘You know, I don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere. I want to stay in a nice hotel.’ If you’ve been around this business long enough, right from the get-go, there’s going to be some penny pinching because the top dogs are just not going to bite… But one of those streaming services can go, ‘If you shoot this by x-amount of days, you’ll get a certain amount of money in return.’"

Timeline of events: How the fatal Rust shooting unfolded, moment by moment

  Timeline of events: How the fatal Rust shooting unfolded, moment by moment The cast and crew of Rust had just returned from lunch when it happened. One minute, producer-star Alec Baldwin and a handful of others were rehearsing a scene in a wooden church on a dusty Old West movie set meant to look like 1880s Kansas. The next minute, two people were bleeding from gunshot wounds — one of which would prove to be fatal — and everyone was reeling from confusion and shock. Here, based on a search warrant affidavit and 911 calls, is a moment-by-moment account of what happened that day.

Experts predict a tremendous legal fallout from the tragedy, definitely in civil lawsuits and potentially in criminal charges. In addition to Baldwin, a call sheet for the day of the shooting obtained by The Associated Press lists five producers, four executive producers, a line producer and a co-producer. They, as well as assistant director Dave Halls and armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, could all face some sort of liability even if they weren’t on location.

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The payouts – which could be covered in part by insurance held by the production company, Rust Movie Productions – would likely be in the "millions and millions" of dollars, experts predict.

Director Joel Souza has since been released from the hospital. Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images © Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images Director Joel Souza has since been released from the hospital. Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images

However, Santa Fe-based District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies revealed that the investigation remains in the preliminary phase and her office was far from making any decisions about whether any charges would be filed. She added that those involved in the production were cooperating with law enforcement.

‘Rust’ armorer breaks silence on Alec Baldwin shooting incident, blames producers for unsafe conditions

  ‘Rust’ armorer breaks silence on Alec Baldwin shooting incident, blames producers for unsafe conditions Hannah Gutierrez Reed spoke out to deny certain rumors about the on-set shooting involving Alec Baldwin that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead. Gutierrez Reed, the armorer on the set of "Rust" who was responsible for the safety and handling of firearms on the set, is currently a main focus of the investigation into the death of Hutchins, according to Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza. She was one of the very few people who handled the gun prior to Baldwin discharging it on set last Thursday.

Before the tragedy, problems were brewing behind the scenes. Hours before Baldwin fired the fatal gunshot, a camera crew for the movie walked out to protest conditions and production issues that included safety concerns.

Disputes began almost from the start in early October and culminated with seven crew members walking off several hours before Hutchins was killed. The crew members had expressed their discontent with matters that ranged from safety procedures to their housing accommodations, according to one of those who left.

ALEC BALDWIN ‘RUST’ SHOOTING: POLICE ‘NOT EXACTLY SURE’ OF ACTOR’S ‘WHEREABOUTS’ BUT SAYS HE’S COOPERATING

New Mexico workplace safety investigators are examining if film industry standards for gun safety were followed during the production. The Los Angeles Times, citing two crew members it did not name, reported that five days before the shooting, Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two live rounds after being told the gun didn’t have any ammunition.

A crew member who was alarmed by the misfires told a unit production manager in a text message, "We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe," according to a copy of the message reviewed by the newspaper. The New York Times also reported that there were at least two earlier accidental gun discharges; it cited three former crew members.

Alec Baldwin appears distraught during dinner with wife Hilaria

  Alec Baldwin appears distraught during dinner with wife Hilaria Hilaria Baldwin, 37, was seen Friday night comforting her grieving husband, actor Alec Baldwin, 63, at a private bar in Manchester. Vermont.The couple were photographed eating multiple plates of food at the venue in Manchester, Vermont, on Friday night after it was closed-off to members of the public.

During rehearsal at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe, the gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist, or "armorer," had set on a cart outside the building, according to the court records.

© Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours," Alec Baldwin tweeted. "I'm fully co-operating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred." Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic

Court records indicate that Halls grabbed a firearm off a cart and handed it to Baldwin, indicating incorrectly that the weapon didn’t carry live rounds by yelling "cold gun."

ALEC BALDWIN RETWEETS STORY FOCUSING ON NEW WARRANT RELEASED IN FATAL 'RUST' SHOOTING

Reed gave an interview in September to the "Voices of the West" podcast in which she said she had just finished her first movie in the role of head armorer, a project in Montana starring Nicolas Cage titled "The Old Way." As for Halls, he was fired from a separate project in 2019 after a crew member on "Freedom's Path" incurred an injury from a prop gun.

According to the affidavit, Halls told an investigator that he didn’t check all the rounds in the gun he handed to Baldwin, as he should have.

Problems were brewing on the ‘Rust’ set before the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins. Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie © Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie Problems were brewing on the ‘Rust’ set before the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins. Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 44 Chapter, a union that represents crew workers in Hollywood, sent an email, which was obtained by Deadline, to members stating there was no union prop master on set the night Hutchins was killed.

Checking Alec Baldwin's gun was not the assistant director's responsibility, lawyer says

  Checking Alec Baldwin's gun was not the assistant director's responsibility, lawyer says A lawyer representing David Halls, an assistant director on the set of the film Rust, said it was not Halls' responsibility to confirm whether the gun handed to Alec Baldwin was loaded, despite Halls previously acknowledging to investigators that he should have checked all the rounds before declaring the firearm safe. "He's not responsible for checking it," lawyer Lisa Torraco said in an interview on Fox News on Monday. "That's not the assistant"He's not responsible for checking it," lawyer Lisa Torraco said in an interview on Fox News on Monday.

"When the camera crew walked out, that should have been the end of it until everything was resolved," said Papritz. "But what do they do? They bring in non-union people. And that just shows you where their heads were at. It was money over safety."

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"I suspect this is a union/non-union issue," he shared. "To get in the union, you have to work hard. You have to make your bones in the industry. You start at the bottom and work your way up. And the differences are extreme. You have to follow the rules of safety at all times and you have to make sure you’re properly compensated and get paid on time. There are penalties for the producer or production manager if they don’t follow the union rules. The rules can’t be made up as you go along. And a camera crew walking off a shoot is just unheard of. That’s beyond a red flag. That’s a bonfire."

Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for Halyna Hutchins at IATSE West Coast Office on Oct. 24, 2021 in Burbank, California. Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images © Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for Halyna Hutchins at IATSE West Coast Office on Oct. 24, 2021 in Burbank, California. Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

As the investigation continues, Papritz stressed this is a tragedy for everyone involved.

"We can go in circles on this, but ultimately, no one should ever get hurt on a film production," he said. "It’s a world of make-believe and it should remain that way."

Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ shooting: ‘Immature’ gun handling alarmed cast and crew, sources allege .
Gun handling on Alec Baldwin’s “Rust” set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, appeared alarmingly “green,” “immature” and “lackadaisical,” according to sources close to the set who told Fox News Digital they were horrified at times by some of what they saw. They observed the conduct before a fatal on-set shooting accident that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and wounded director Joel Souza. One image taken behind the scenes on the halted film’s set, shown to Fox News Digital, shows 24-year-old armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and two other women standing in a circle with a pair of Old West rifles and a revolver.

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