George Clooney has said it was ‘insane’ and ‘infuriating’ that live bullets were on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust, which resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The Hollywood star, 60, added he has never heard the term ‘cold gun’ used to describe a firearm that is safe to use on set, after the phrase was supposedly used by the film’s assistant director before handing the revolver to Baldwin.
Clooney said the fatal shooting, which also wounded director Joel Souza, was a ‘terrible accident’ but claimed AD David Halls should never have been near the prop gun and was in disbelief that it occurred after rigorous safety measures implemented following the on-set deaths of Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum.
George Clooney has said it was ‘insane’ and ‘infuriating’ that live bullets were on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust (pictured on set hours before the fatal shooting)
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured) was struck in the chest as Baldwin rehearsed a scene
Speaking to the WTF podcast with Marc Maron, Clooney said: ‘I don’t know Alec that well. I’ve been watching the news and I have to say, they’ve got the bad guy, which is going to be the first AD.
‘He may be a d**k, I don’t know the guy at all, but I’ve been on sets for 40 years and the person that hands you the gun, the person that is responsible for the gun is either the prop person or the armourer. Period.
‘Every single time I’m handed a gun on set, I look at it, I open it, I show it to the person I’m pointing it to, we show it to the crew, every single take you hand it back to the armourer when you’re done, and you do it again.
‘Part of it is because of what happened to Brandon. Everyone does it. Everyone knows.
‘Maybe Alec did that, I hope he did, but the problem is, dummies are tricky. Because they look like real bullets. They’ve got a tiny hole at the back where someone has taken the gunpowder out.’
Since the fatal shooting in New Mexico, concerns have been raised about the safety on set amid allegations of inexperienced armourers using the gun for target practice.
Alec Baldwin and his family were spotted out and about in New York City on Sunday
The family gathered around Alec as he sat on a park bench to take a rest
Clooney said the fatal shooting, which killed Halyna (pictured) and wounded director Joel Souza, was a ‘terrible accident’
Assistant director David Halls was given the gun by armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, and he declared it a ‘cold gun’ before passing it over to Baldwin, court documents state.
Clooney added fuel to the fire, saying: ‘And why for the life of me this low-budget film, with producers who haven’t produced anything, wouldn’t have hired, for the armourer, someone with experience.
‘Maybe they weren’t even using that gun to do target practice, but they had live ammo with dummies in her pack. That is insane, it’s insane and it’s infuriating.
‘We need to be better at making the heads of department experienced and know what they’re doing. Because this is just infuriating. Every time I get handed a six gun, you point it at the ground and you fire. You squeeze it six times. Always.’
He added: ‘I’ve never heard of the term ‘cold gun’, they’re just talking about stuff I’ve never heard of. It’s infuriating.’
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department has said in court documents prop master Sarah Zachary took the gun from a locked props truck and gave it to armorer Hannah Guttierez-Reed.
She loaded it with rounds from a box of dummies but apparently one of them was live ammunition.
Halls has admitted he did not inspect the gun thoroughly enough before he gave it to Baldwin who then discharged it while rehearsing for a scene in a church pew (pictured, the church on the film set)
Guttierez-Reed said she showed the gun to Halls who has admitted he did not inspect it thoroughly enough before he gave it to Baldwin who then discharged it while rehearsing for a scene in a church pew.
Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, told the Today Show that ‘She’s heartbroken, and she’s just devastated by what’s happened. ‘
Bowles previously told NBC News that the young armorer had ‘no idea where the live rounds came from’ and never witnessed anyone shooting live ammunition on set.
Gutierrez-Reed was set to receive less than $8,000 for her job on the set, compared to $650,000 the producers set aside for themselves and a $350,000 contingency fee in case anything went wrong.
Baldwin was also slated to earn $150,000 as the lead actor, and his production company, El Dorado, was taking a $100,000 fee, while Hutchins was budgeted to earn $48,945.
The independent movie had a modest overall budget of just $7,279,305, according to a draft of the production budget dated September 8, which was revealed by the Hollywood Reporter.
The head of lighting on the film filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, alleging negligence that caused him ‘severe emotional distress’ that will haunt him forever.
Serge Svetnoy said in the suit that the bullet that killed his close friend Hutchins, narrowly missed him, and he held her head as she died.
Last week, legal action was taken in connection with the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins on the Santa Fe, New Mexico set on October 21. Serge Svetnoy (right) said in the suit that the bullet that killed his close friend Hutchins (left), narrowly missed him, and he held her head as she died
The fatal shooting took place during rehearsals on October 21 for the filming of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Svetnoy (left), held dying Halyna Hutchins (right) in his arms after she was shot
Attorney Gary Dordick (left) speaks alongside his client Serge Svetnoy (right), chief of lighting on the Rust film set, after announcing a lawsuit against Baldwin and others on Wednesday in Beverly Hills, California
‘They should never, ever, have had live rounds on this set,’ Svetnoy’s attorney Gary A. Dordick said at a news conference Wednesday.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court names nearly two dozen defendants associated with the film including Baldwin, who was both star and a producer; David Halls, the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun; and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the set.
It is the first known lawsuit of what could be many stemming from the October 21 shooting.
It was the ninth film that Svetnoy and Hutchins had worked on together, and he had taken the job at low pay because she asked him to.
‘She was my friend,’ Svetnoy said at the news conference.
He said he had seen guns sitting unattended in the dirt a few days earlier in the shoot, and had warned the people responsible about them.
On the day of the shooting, he was setting up lighting within 6 or 7 feet of Baldwin, the suit says.
‘What happened next will haunt Plaintiff forever,’ the suit says.
‘He felt a strange and terrifying whoosh of what felt like pressurized air from his right. He felt what he believed was gunpowder and other residual materials directly strike the right side of his face.’
Then, with his glasses scratched and his hearing muffled, he knelt to help Hutchins, the suit said.
The lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages to be determined later. It was filed in Los Angeles County because the plaintiff and most of the defendants are based there.
Attorneys and representatives for the defendants did not immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment on the suit.
The experienced crew member also sued 24-year-old armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (left) and the movie’s assistant director David Hall (right), who told Baldwin that the gun was cold
Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles said in a statement Wednesday that ‘we are convinced this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed. We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived.’
Bowles said his client has provided authorities with a full interview and continues to assist them. The statement did not address the lawsuit.
‘We are asking for a full and complete investigation of all of the facts, including the live rounds themselves, how they ended up in the “dummies” box, and who put them in there,’ the statement said.
Gutierrez Reed said last week that she had inspected the gun Baldwin shot but doesn’t know how a live bullet ended up inside.
Santa Fe-area District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said investigators have encountered no proof of sabotage.
Her comments, first made on Good Morning America, were confirmed Wednesday by agency spokeswoman Sascha Guinn Anderson.
Carmack-Altwies says that investigators know who loaded the gun, though it remains unclear how the deadly round of ammunition got on the movie set. The district attorney said she is concerned that there were so many levels of safety failures.
Dordick said at the news conference that it was ‘far-fetched’ to suggest there was sabotage, but that Gutierrez Reed still had the same responsibility to know what was in the gun and who had handled it.
Svetnoy shared the final photo of Halyna Hutchins (pictured holding the camera) on set in the church just moments before she was shot dead
Hutchins’ October 19, 2021 Instagram post showed cast members and staffers, including Baldwin alongside Hutchins herself and armorer Gutierrez-Reed (circled left to right) on the set of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured) on October 21 when he was handed prop gun with live ammunition
Halls said last week that he hoped the tragedy prompted the film industry to ‘reevaluate its values and practices’ to ensure no one is harmed again, but did not provide details.
Baldwin said on video on October 30 that the shooting was a ‘one-in-a-trillion event’ saying, ‘We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened.’
The director Souza told detectives that Baldwin was rehearsing a scene in which he drew a revolver from his holster and pointed it toward the camera, which Hutchins and Souza were behind, according to court records in New Mexico.
Souza said the scene did not call for the use of live rounds, and Gutierrez Reed said real ammo should never have been present, according to the court records.
The Los Angeles lawsuit alleges that the scene did not call for Baldwin to fire the gun at all, only to point it.
Hollywood professionals have been baffled by the circumstances of the movie-set shooting. It already has led to other production crews stepping up safety measures.