Actor Michael Shannon, who is experienced handling guns on the set of his own films, has spoken out about the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust.’ Questions have swirled about why a live round was on set and over Baldwin’s repeated claim that he never pulled the trigger. The Santa Fe County, New Mexico, District Attorney’s Office ended up charging Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed with two counts of involuntary manslaughter last week.
Michael Shannon spoke with Chicago Tribune about the shooting and said, “This is what happens when you lowball and cut corners and hire people that may not be qualified, and pay them next to nothing, and make the movie on the cheap.” Multiple reports say that on-set safety protocols had been a repeated concern and even led to some people leaving the production all together.
“‘Rust’ is an example of a problem I see in filmmaking more and more these days. On smaller productions, independent productions, the producers keep wanting more and more for less and less. They don’t want to give you enough money. They cut corners, ridiculously, every which way. And they get away with it,” added Shannon. He also stressed that armorer is no place to cut corners and that Hollywood needs to enhance gun safety on-set.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists recently released a statement placing most of the blame in the ‘Rust’ shooting on the armorer, “The prosecutor’s contention that an actor has a duty to ensure the functional and mechanical operation of a firearm on a production set is wrong and uninformed. An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert.”
When asked about the statement, Shannon replied, “Being an armorer is a hard job, a demanding job, and I have nothing but respect for them. But, in this instance, it was going into the ER and finding out your doctor isn’t a real doctor.”
“I’m not condemning Alec. I feel horrible for the guy. It’s a nightmare. I feel terrible for everyone on that production. But this is what happens when you lowball and cut corners and hire people that may not be qualified, and pay them next to nothing, and make the movie on the cheap.People get jobs in this business because they’re willing to work for a low enough fee. I see it all the time,” Shannon concluded.