Alex Proyas, the director who suffered through a tragic shooting on the set of his movie The Crow nearly three decades ago, was pictured for the first time on Tuesday in Australia since a cinematographer was shot dead on the set of an Alec Baldwin film last week.
Proyas, 58, was helming a film with actor Brandon Lee in 1994 that was supposed to be the breakout role for the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee when the young star suffered the same tragic fate as Halyna Hutchins.
Just a week before The Crow was scheduled to wrap up, the 28-year-old actor was fatally shot in the stomach by a dummy bullet lodged in a .44-caliber handgun and fired by his co-star, Michael Masse, at close range.
He went on to direct a number of other movies like Dark City in 1998, I Robot in 2004, and Gods of Egypt in 2016.
When asked about his thoughts on the fatal shooting of Hutchins on the set of Rust last week, Proyas initially asked: ‘Why would I have anything to say about it.’
But when pressed on the issue as he returned to his car after running errands in Sydney on Tuesday, Proyas said the issue proves movie producers and directors should ‘stop using guns on sets.’
‘There is no reason to use real guns on sets,’ he said, noting: ‘They should have stopped using them a long time ago.’
Crow director Alex Proyas was seen for the first time since an accidental shooting on a movie set last week killed an up and coming cinematographer
Proyas was seen running errands in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday
He directed late actor Brandon Lee on Crow, the 1994 film that was supposed to be the breakout role for the young star when he was fatally shot on set
When asked his thoughts on the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust last week, Proyas initially asked: ‘Why would I have anything to say about it?’
But when pressed, he said: ‘There is no reason to use real guns on sets’
His words echo those of Eliza Hutton, Lee’s fiancee when he was killed in 1993, and Shannon Lee, Brendon’s sister.
Brandon and Eliza were set to wed on April 17, 1993, in Ensenada, Mexico a week after Brandon was supposed to wrap filming for The Crow.
However on March 31, 1993 Brandon died at age 28 after he was accidently killed while filming a scene for the movie.
She told People that Halyna Hutchins’ accidental death last week on Rust was an ‘avoidable tragedy and urged those with the power to make the changes to ‘consider alternatives to real guns on set.’
Shannon, meanwhile, told The Hollywood Reporter: ‘I have been in contact with my mom and with my brother’s fiancée. A lot of people have been reaching out. It’s stirring up a lot of emotions — and frustration.
‘I think that in this day and age with all the special effects that are possible and all of the technology, there is no reason to have a prop gun or a gun on a set that can fire a projectile of any sort. It is not necessary, and I would love to see some changes made industry-wide.
‘My brother’s fiancée and I have been talking about it. I think we wish we had thought to do more 28 years ago, and we would love to do that now.’
Actor Brandon Lee was fatally shot in the stomach by a dummy bullet lodged in a .44 caliber handgun and fired by his co-star, Michael Masse, in close range on the set of Crow in 1993
Brandon Lee’s fiancee Eliza Hutton said that cinematographer Haylna Hutchins’ accidental death last week on Rust was an ‘avoidable tragedy’ she told People; Eliza Hutton is seen here with Brandon Lee at the Little Man Tate Hollywood premiere on October 6, 1991
Brandon, the son of Bruce Lee, and Eliza were set to wet on April 17, 1993 in Ensenada, Mexico a week after Brandon was supposed to wrap filming for The Crow
Alec Baldwin, Rust star and producer, discharged the gun that killed Halyna and injured director Joel Souza last Thursday while filming a scene.
Prior to the incident, first assistant director David Halls told crew members that the revolver being handled by Baldwin, the film’s lead actor and producer, was a ‘cold gun,’ a term used by filmmakers to indicate that a prop gun is safe to handle and not loaded with live ammunition.
The weapon was one of three prop guns that the film’s rookie armorer, Hanna Gutierrez Reed, 24, had set up outside the set location on a gray cart, in the desert near the city of Santa Fe.
According to search warrant executed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office last week, Gutierrez Reed was the last person to handle the gun, leaving it along with the two other revolvers unattended on the cart in the early hours of October 21.
It is at this point, an insider told The Wrap, that a group of crew members took the weapons without the director and first director’s knowledge, and forgot to unload the firearm in question.
Halls, meanwhile, had been fired from another film, Freedom’s Path, in 2019 after a crew member was injured following the unexpected discharge of a weapon on set, a producer who spoke on the condition on anonymity told The Washington Post on Monday.
‘Halls was removed from set immediately after the prop gun was discharged,’ the producer said, adding: ‘Production did not resume filming until Dave was off-site,’ and ‘an incident report was taken and filed at that time.’
Representatives for the production of Rust did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment on the matter, but in a previous statement issued to multiple outlets, Rust Movie Productions said: ‘The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company.
‘Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down.
‘We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.’
Halyna Hutchins, 42, a Ukranian filmmaker and journalist and cinematographer on the film, succumbed to her injuries after the accidental shooting on the set of Rust last week
Hutchins was considered an up and coming cinematographer at the time of her death
The shooting occurred in the desert near Santa Fe, New Mexico
However, an actor on the film’s set directly contradicted the company’s statement, revealing to TMZ Tuesday that filming often felt ‘life-threatening’ – a sentiment that was then echoed by other members of the production.
The actor, Ian A. Hudson, told to the outlet that he felt particularly terrified filming a scene where his character was gunned down by a crowd of other actors using nearly a dozen guns – all of which were real.
‘I actually did feel the blanks hitting my face and my body. I could feel the wind from the shotgun being discharged,’ the actor said, ‘It was heavy. It was strong … It was life-threatening. It felt too surreal.’
Hudson then noted and some of the other actors would often double and triple-check their weapons regardless of whether they were given the OK from the film’s armorer and staff.
Hudson also revealed that the production on a ‘rushed schedule’ – a sentiment that was echoed by both the newly released search warrant and the insider’s revelation to The Wrap.
And he told of how cameras and crew were protected by plastic shields – but that cast members were left without any sort of barrier.
The warrant confirmed that six members of the film’s camera crew, members of the protesting IATSE, had walked off the set the day of the incident – citing qualms about housing, payment and working conditions – forcing producers to scramble to find replacements.
Ian Hudson, pictured on the set of Rust, said he and his fellow actors grew worried over gun safety on stage as they often checked their weapons multiple times
An inconsolable Baldwin is shown outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office after accidentally shooting and killing the cinematographer
What’s more, according to The Wrap’s insider, instead of shutting down production once they found themselves suddenly shorthanded, producers elected to hire replacements outside of the union in order to continue the shoot.
This monkey wrench in the film’s operations – on the day of the accidental shooting -caused shooting Thursday to start late, Souza told an investigator after the incident, according to the warrant.
But even with the crew in disarray and the fact that one of the set’s prop guns was placed out in the open and was at some point loaded before a scene, experts have attested that there are systems in place on the set of any film, to ensure prop guns are inspected before they even enter an active set.
For that reason alone, Gutierrez Reed, Halls and Baldwin could face a series of legal – or even criminal – ramifications.
According to the warrant, Souza revealed that the cast and crew prepared the scene before lunch and then had their meal away from the shooting location around 12:30 pm.
The director then told investigators that he was not sure if the gun was checked again when everyone returned from lunch.
He did, however, state that protocol dictates that props are supposed to be checked by the armorer, Gutierrez Reed, and then the assistant director, Halls, before finally handing them over to the actor.
He also specified to Santa Fe sheriffs that he could not recall if people were checked for live ammunition while on set – but stated that live ammunition should not have been anywhere near the scene that day, or any other for that matter.
An investigation concerning the incident is still ongoing.
No criminal charges have been filed.
Why WAS a gun on Alec Baldwin movie set loaded with live ammo? Mystery over events that led to actor killing cinematographer
The deadly chain of events on set that led to Alec Baldwin being handed a gun with live ammunition and accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins have become clearer after it emerged last night the actor fired a live round, believing it to be a blank.
Experts yesterday told DailyMail.com safety on set is usually extremely tight with live bullets never used in filming and it remains unclear why a firearm loaded with live ammunition was on the Rust set at all.
Baldwin was handed a gun loaded with live ammunition
First assistant director Dave Halls picked up one of the firearms – a vintage-style Colt revolver laid out by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed – unaware it was loaded with live bullets.
‘Cold gun!’ shouted Halls before handing the gun to Baldwin, using the phrase to signal to cast and crew that the gun was safe to fire for the scene, a search warrant released on Friday said.
Baldwin, filming a scene inside an Old West-style church, then fired a live round towards the camera, accidentally killing Hutchins as she filmed him.
Hutchins was airlifted to the hospital but was pronounced dead. Souza was taken to the hospital by ambulance but was released on Thursday evening.
Why was live ammunition used on set in the first place?
Live ammunition is never usually used on film sets and Baldwin’s shooting and killing of a cinematographer a ‘total mystery’, a Hollywood armorer has said.
Mike Tristan, 60, who has provided guns for movie sets for over 30 years, said the injuries sustained by Hutchins should not have been possible.
Tristan, who has worked with Baldwin before, said any professional armorer would have checked the weapon, which he believes was a Western, before handing it to the 63-year-old.
‘There should have been blanks in the gun, the on-set armorer’s job is to check that before handing the weapon over,’ Tristan told Dailymail.com.
‘They then make sure that the actor stands on a mark and never points the gun at the crew or cast, you give them an aim to point at and the editing makes it seem like they were pointing at their co-actor.
‘That’s why everyone in the industry is very confused, how this happened is a total mystery at the moment.’
Union members had walked off set hours earlier over safety concerns
Unionized members walked off set on Wednesday, hours before the tragedy, complaining of safety concerns.
They complained about long hours, shoddy conditions and another safety incident days earlier involving ‘two misfires’ of a prop weapon.
Deadline cites an unnamed source who said a gun had gone off ‘in a cabin’ while someone was holding it, days prior to the shooting that killed Hutchins.
‘A gun had two misfires in a closed cabin. They just fired loud pops – a person was just holding it in their hands and it went off,’ they said, apparently referring to unintentional discharges.
Baldwin’s stunt double also accidentally fired two rounds after being told the firearm was ‘cold’.
When they turned up to set to clear their things on Thursday, they found they’d been replaced by locals.
It begs the question of who those local workers were, what their training was and to what extent did they check the weapon before it was handed to Baldwin.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk