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'Rust' Investigation Describes Chaotic Production, Skipped Safety Meetings On Set Where Alec Baldwin Fatally Shot Cinematographer

A man in uniform speaks at a lectern with media mics mounted and colleagues standing nearby.
Santa Fe County authorities speak to the news media about the "Rust" movie set investigation on Oct. 27, 2021.
(Nick Layman
AFP via Getty Images)
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The final police report on Alec Baldwin’s fatal shooting of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins describes a disorganized movie set where one crew member said the film’s armorer was considered “not qualified or certified.”

Do the stories that Hollywood tells about itself really reflect what's going on?

Given to New Mexico prosecutors two weeks ago and made public on Friday, the 551-page Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office document recounts not only the chain of events that led to Baldwin killing Hutchins last October, but also of a production rushing to cut corners and skipping typically mandatory safety meetings.

No one yet has been held criminally liable in the case, but prosecutors have said as many as four people, including Baldwin, could possibly face charges. A week ago, Baldwin filed a civil lawsuit against the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and its first assistant director, Dave Halls, saying they and others were negligent in giving Baldwin the loaded gun that killed Hutchins and wounded Rust director Joel Souza on Oct. 21.

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Resignations The Day After The Shooting

The Sheriff’s Office report offers new details of the set chaos both before and after Hutchins was killed. Half a dozen members of the film’s camera crew resigned the morning of the fatal shooting.

In a letter to the film’s producers describing why he and his colleagues were quitting, camera assistant Lane Looper said there were no safety meetings after earlier on-set gun discharges, and that scenes involving gun fights were “often played very fast and loose.”

Even Souza, the film’s director, suggested to save time that some stand-alone safety meetings should be replaced with actor briefings while they were putting on makeup and costumes to “push this stuff to move faster,” according to the report.

Rust lighting technician Matthew Hemmer told investigators that Reed was not qualified or certified, as she was a non-union employee, and previously had asked him for assistance when she was “having issues” with a gun.

Other Key Outtakes

Baldwin worries in text messages about being charged criminally and says the investigation is putting a "strain" on his work.

Emails from Rust crew attack Halls, the first assistant director. Halls has previously acknowledged he failed to inspect Baldwin's gun closely.

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Seth Kenny, who supplied guns and ammunition to the Rust production, tells investigators that armorer Gutierrez-Reed shipped guns loaded with ammunition.

Zack Stills, a production assistant, complains that Hall was "constantly rushing things."

Read The Full File

What questions do you have about film, TV, music, or arts and entertainment?
John Horn, entertainment reporter and host of our weekly podcast Retake, explores whether the stories that Hollywood tells about itself really reflect what's going on?