Concerns had previously been raised about the 24-year-old gunsmith who was hired on Alec Baldwin’s film Rust, with two production sources telling The Daily Beast that filming on the set of her latest movie was briefly halted after she allegedly gave an 11-year-old actress a gun without verifying it properly.
“She was a bit careless with the guns, waving it every now and then,” said a source, who worked alongside gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on Nicolas Cage’s upcoming film, The Old Way. “There were a few times she would charge the whites and do it in a way that we thought was dangerous.”
Gutierrez-Reed was identified in a search warrant affidavit from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office as the gunsmith on the set when Baldwin received a propeller pistol he believed to be safe. Baldwin discharged the gun, fatally striking cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injuring director Joel Souza, 48. No charges have been laid, but the Sheriff’s Office investigation is ongoing.
Sources on the Rust set insisted that the fatal accident was the result of top-down failures, starting with cost reduction measures and production costs.
Gutierrez-Reed has been described as “inexperienced and green” by a Rust production source, who told The Daily Beast that there had been at least two previous incidents of firearms accidentally discharged by other crew members before Thursday’s tragic incident.
According to the guidelines of the Actors’ Equity Association, firearms should be tested offstage before each use. “Any loading of firearms must be carried out by the owner of the property, the gunsmith or experienced persons working under their direct supervision,” advises the association.
Of them Rust production sources, both of whom have worked in the industry for decades, say deputy manager Dave Halls, who is named in the search warrant affidavit as the person who handed the gun to Baldwin and a said she was sure, should also have checked the weapons.
“He’s supposed to be our last line of defense and he’s let us down,” the first source said. “He’s the last person that’s supposed to look at this gun.”
According to the affidavit, Gutierrez-Reed had placed three propeller pistols on a cart outside where the scene was being filmed, before Halls grabbed a revolver from the cart and gave it to Baldwin. Halls shouted “cold gun!” On the set, according to the affidavit.
The second production source told The Daily Beast that the first assistant director should personally check whether a gun is “hot” or “cold.” (A “cold pistol” indicates that there are no cartridges, including blank cartridges, inside the firearm. A “hot pistol” indicates that the weapon is loaded with cartridges. whether it was live ammunition or blank cartridges.) “That check alone should have prevented this incident,” the person said.
In a heartbreaking 911 call, scenario supervisor Mamie Mitchell also appeared to refer to Halls as she urgently asked a dispatcher to send an ambulance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch plateau on the outskirts of Santa Fe. .
Mitchell can be heard saying to someone nearby, “that fucking AD who yelled at me at lunch asking for revisions, that motherfucker. Did you see him lean over my desk and yell at me? “He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.”
Rust’s crew members’ allegations appear mirror the claims of two production sources who worked with Gutierrez-Reed on The Old Way, where she was hired as a chief gunsmith.
Gutierrez-Reed did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Saturday. The Daily Beast also contacted Rust Movie Productions LLC and Halls. for comment. In a statement to The New York Times, the company said it had not been made aware of any “official complaints regarding the safety of weapons or props on set,” noting that it would conduct an internal review and cooperate with law enforcement .
A newcomer to the gunsmith profession, Gutierrez-Reed was trained by his father, veteran Hollywood gun consultant Thell Reed. The Old Way This was Gutierrez-Reed’s first time working as a chief gunsmith, admitting on the “Voices of the West” podcast that she almost didn’t take the job because she wasn’t sure she was “ready” and she thought loading blank cartridges into guns was “the scariest thing.”
“But in doing it, everything went really well,” she said.
However, this is not how the sources of The Old Way described their experience working with Gutierrez-Reed. “There were several issues that I brought to the attention of production,” said one. “I have been around firearms all my life and have noticed things that were wrong, even with loaded blank firearms.”
Another source said that compared to the other sets they had been on, there was much less attention to gun safety under Gutierrez-Reed’s watch.
The most disturbing incident happened when Gutierrez-Reed allegedly loaded a gun on the ground where the area was filled with pebbles and then, without properly checking the gun, handed it to child actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong , the two sources told the Daily Beast.
Concerned crew members intervened, demanding a stop to filming until Gutierrez-Reed had properly checked the gun, the two sources said.
“She reloaded the gun on the ground, where there were rocks and stuff. We didn’t see her check it, we didn’t know if something went into the barrel or not, ”said a source, explaining that the crew waited until they rechecked the barrel for an obstruction. of the cannon.
Detectives are still investigating the circumstances that led to the tragic accident. However, in the days leading up to there were some brewing issues on the set of Rust.
Numerous complaints were lodged with production, with at least six weary crew members reportedly leaving the set hours before Baldwin received the propeller pistol.
The production source said crew members complained directly to Halls about previous accidental gun discharges. over the weekend, demanding to make sure they were documented. “We all shouted at him, ‘Better if it was on the production report, these guys are irresponsible and shouldn’t be here,’” the source explained.
“It should be an automatic reason for dismissal on a union film set, you should be gone. The first time this weapon went off without telling anyone, this whole department should have been replaced immediately. It is clear that the production thought better, decided to roll the dice and pay the ultimate price. “
Sources have claimed that the film’s production company will do anything to save money. For example, they promised to accommodate the crew in a hotel in Santa Fe to be close to the shoot.
However, when filming began, the crew were reportedly told that there would be no such accommodations and instead they would have to travel to and from Albuquerque, about 50 miles away. Many have expressed concerns about working up to 13 hours a day and then driving home for an hour in the dark, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Others were also annoyed by the Wednesday-Sunday filming schedule, which had been adapted from Baldwin’s program so he could record his podcast, “Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin,” which airs on Mondays.
While Gutierrez-Reed has yet to comment on the tragedy, gun experts told The Daily Beast that the gunsmith is generally ultimately responsible for the guns on set.
“It’s up to this gunsmith company to get the guns ready a day or two before and test them, make sure everything’s okay and the blank cartridges are good,” said Richard Howell, of Foxtrot Productions, a gunsmith with 30 years of experience. “In movies and on television it’s a very controlled environment, you have to do risk assessments.”
On Friday morning, Baldwin expressed his condolences to the Hutchins family, including her husband and nine-year-old son, attending a private memorial in his honor later that night, according to Showbiz 411.
He also backed reports that he was told the propeller gun was safe to use, enjoying a post on Twitter that said he was told it was cold.
“There are no words to express my shock and sadness over the tragic accident which claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins, a deeply admired wife, mother and colleague,” Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “I am fully cooperating with the police investigation to determine how this tragedy occurred.”