New details are starting to emerge about the tragic accident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel Souza, 48, on the set of his Western film “Rust.”
While shooting a scene, actor Alec Baldwin fired a gun handed to him by an assistant director Dave Halls, who had told that it was safe to use. However, the Prop Masters Union confirmed that the gun that Baldwin had fired actually contained a live round, which struck and killed Hutchins.
In an ABC News exclusive, former “Rust” first camera assistant Lane Luper decided to speak out about the gun safety concerns he witnessed on set, which ultimately led him to resign his position a day before the fatal shooting.
What Gun Safety Concerns Existed On The ‘Rust’ Set?
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 3, 2021
In a candid interview, Luper recalled the details that led him to quit working on set.
“Well, what I put in my resignation letter was lax COVID policies, the housing situation driving to and from Albuquerque, and specifically gun safety, a lack of rehearsal, a lack of preparing the crew for what we were doing that day.”
When Luper was asked about what safety meetings took place, Luper said, “I personally only remember two safety meetings that took place with the entire crew.”
Producers have claimed that he is “using this tragedy for personal gain,” to which Luper replied that he was “sticking his neck out” by coming forward with his story, saying, “I don’t want to be on camera.” He continued to say that, as head of the camera department, it was important for him to be involved with safety, such as protecting the camera, the camera operatives, and knowing what the shot is.
“It is very important that I play a role in safety,” he concluded.
Alec Baldwin Disputes Luper’s Claims
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“Rust” costume designer Terese Magpale Davies disputes claims that the “Rust” set was an unsafe work environment. Baldwin has also come forward to dispute Luper’s allegations and defend the working conditions that he experienced on set by sharing Davies’ lengthy statement to a series of posts on his Instagram page.
“I’m so sick of this narrative,” Davis wrote. “I worked on this movie. The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bulls—.”
“The day Halyna died we had come off of a 12-hour turnaround after an 11 hour shoot day. We had (including camera) gotten off by 6:30 pm,” she added, saying, “We had just had a 56 hour weekend right before that. No one was too tired to do their jobs.”
She mentioned that all of her statements can be proven by timesheets collected on set.
She also added that assistant director Dave Halls “never seemed flipped about safety.”
“Am I angry with him? Yes,” she admitted. “But I won’t jump on the bandwagon and pretend he was uncaring about our safety the whole way through.”