On Thursday, a fatal accident on a movie set left one dead and one injured after a prop gun misfired.
While working on set for the movie Rust in New Mexico, actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun killing director of photographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin said via Twitter. “I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Halyna Hutchins was 42 and was named a rising star by American Cinematographer magazine in 2019. According to IMBD Halyna worked on 49 projects during her career in the film industry.
No charges have been made but the investigation is ongoing.
Prop guns don’t just refer to non-functional weapons but also include real guns loaded with blanks. Directors will often opt to use real guns to add to the authenticity and believability of a scene. Although rare, prop guns can be lethal as shown in the case of Halyna Hutchins.
Steve Wolf, a theatrical firearms safety expert told CNN, “there is no excuse for something like this to happen”.
In order to use prop guns and weapons on set certain safety procedures need to be met as wells as training administered by experts.
A source told the LA Times that the prop gun used on the Rust set had misfired multiple times in recent days and there were “a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”
“Blanks aren’t toys,” firearms dealer Bob Lesmeister told Newsweek. “You have to remember that the force of the exploding gas is great enough to fire a bullet.”