The gun that Rust actor Alec Baldwin used to accidentally kill cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was reportedly used by crew members hours before the incident to shoot at beer cans, an insider with knowledge of the set has revealed.
The individual, who spoke under the condition of anonymity to The Wrap, divulged to the outlet that several crew members on the film’s Santa Fe set had taken several prop guns out the morning of the incident to go ‘plinking’ – a hobby in which people shoot at beer cans with live ammunition to pass the time.
According to the insider, the round of unsanctioned target practice occurred last Thursday, just hours before Baldwin discharged one of the weapons again, this time while filming a scene, accidentally shooting director Joel Souza and Hutchins.
Actor Alec Baldwin unknowingly fired the gun that killed a cinematographer on the set of his new film in Santa Fe, after being told by the film’s assistant director that the gun wasn’t loaded
Halyna Hutchins, 42, a Ukranian filmmaker and journalist and cinematographer on the film, succumbed to her injuries after the accidental shooting
While Souza was hit in the shoulder and was not critically wounded, Hutchins, 42, succumbed to her injuries later that day.
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, the insider reveals, 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.
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.
According to search warrant executed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office last week, armorer Hanna 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
Rookie armorer Gutierrez Reed, 24, was the last person to handle the firearm, before it was swiped by crew members for a round of unsanctioned target practice
‘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.’
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.
Prior to the incident, first assistant director David Halls told crew members that the revolver being handled by Baldwin (not pictured), the film’s lead actor and producer, was a ‘cold gun’
‘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.
The incident took place on set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in the desert just outside Santa Fe
Alec Baldwin is pictured sobbing after shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his upcoming movie Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday
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.