November 28, 2021

Alec Baldwin’s fatal shot: the track of the privileged assistant-director? – Cinema News

After the death of the director of photography Halyna Hutchins, reached by an accidental shot on the set of Rust, the investigation begins to reveal some leads. They turn in particular to the assistant-director of the film.

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Last Thursday, Alec Baldwin accidentally killed Halyna Hutchins, director of photography, on the set of the western Rust. Almost a week later, new elements begin to appear, gradually revealing the course of the events of this fatal day.

Dave Halls, the film’s first assistant director, now finds himself in the midst of the turmoil. Responsible for security on the set, it is he who handed the incriminated weapon to Alec Baldwin, assuring the actor that it was “cold”, that is to say not loaded.

In addition, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, a 24-year-old chief gunsmith, is also at the center of the Santa Fe police investigation. According to a preliminary investigation report cited by the local press, she was the one who prepared the gun with which Baldwin fired. She had placed the revolver on a cart with two other pistols.

So this is one of them that Dave Halls took to give to the actor. His lack of experience for the position of chief gunsmith is highlighted by the investigation. Note that the latter is the daughter of Thell Reed, a seasoned Hollywood gunsmith, who has already worked on Django Unchained or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Tarantino.

“I am very amazed that someone of this age, with only two films under his belt, could be the chief gunsmith on a film that has to contain a lot of gun fight scenes.”, underlined Guillaume Delouche, gunsmith in Hollywood for 3 decades.


However, it seems that the responsibility of Dave Halls in this drama is slowly emerging. When calling for help after Alec Baldwin’s fatal shot, a stage assistant named Halls responsible for the accident. This is not the first time that the assistant director has been talked about for his negligence. He was notably fired from the set of Freedom’s Path in 2019 for security concerns.

Dave Halls was fired from filming Freedom’s Path in 2019 after a crew member sustained minor injuries when a gun was accidentally triggered. Halls was kicked off the set immediately after the shot was fired by the prop. The production did not resume filming until Dave left the premises. “, said one of the producers of the film, ensuring that a report had been drawn up.

Producer Maggie Goll, who collaborated with the technician on the series Into the Dark, also critiques his work. “At first he seemed like an experienced and affable first assistant, but that facade quickly disappeared. He did not maintain a safe working environment. The sets were almost always doomed to become dangerous, no established fire routes. , exits blocked. Security meetings were non-existent “, she told the microphone of NBC News.

On the Rust plateau, this lack of professionalism resulted, according to members of the team, in serious breaches of safety. Thus, the assistant director would have let technicians have fun shooting beer cans during the break, just before the drama. It could be that the revolver handled for this “game” was placed by mistake on the cart containing the weapons prepared by Hannah Reed, according to an insider quoted by The Wrap. It is this gun that would have been used by Alec Baldwin.

However, the regulations are very strict: live bullets are strictly prohibited on film sets. According to sources cited by the Los Angeles Times, a cameraman had also denounced security concerns related to firearms the weekend before the tragedy, pointing the finger at Dave Halls.


Paradoxically, the latter is an experienced technician having worked on large productions such as Matrix Reloaded. Ironically, he also worked on The Crow 3 – Salvation, a sequel to the film that claimed Brandon Lee’s life after an accidental shooting in 1993. In addition, according to the LA Times, six members of the film crew left the ship just hours before the fatal gunshot. They were protesting against their working conditions. Tensions were therefore rather high on the set.

By compiling the various testimonies, the investigators thus begin to weave the circumstances which led to the fatal shot fired by Alec Baldwin. According to witness statements, the actor was rehearsing a scene in a church setting. He was practicing drawing in front of the camera, following the instructions of director Joel Souza. The latter was just behind Halyna Hutchins, who was busy holding the camera.

After Baldwin fired, the operator was shot in the abdomen. She collapsed in front of Joel Souza, himself hit in the shoulder by a shard from the projectile. “She said she couldn’t feel her legs anymore and started to stagger back”, said the filmmaker. According to Agent Joel Cano of the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Dave Halls said he was unaware that live ammunition was in the gun.


This tragedy generated a real earthquake in Hollywood. The world of cinema has stood up to demand better team safety and even stricter new rules on the use of firearms. A petition, which has already collected more than 30,000 signatures, calls in particular for the total ban of real weapons on the sets.

At this time, Dave Halls and Hannah Reed are not subject to legal action. The investigation is ongoing. Mary Carmack-Altwies, prosecutor in charge of the case, said in a statement “It was not known at this stage of the investigation whether a prosecution would be brought.”