Having already this past weekend called the Rust production “well-oiled” despite weapons discharges and crew resignations before the October 21 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Alec Baldwin is now advocating that claims of “unsafe, chaotic conditions are bullsh*t.”
Interviewed by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office for pulling the trigger on the weapon that killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, the Rust star and producer on Tuesday reposted on Instagram costume designer Terese Magpale Davis’ lengthy October 30 Facebook defense of the making of the indie Western.
Attacking the camera crew members who resigned over safety and financial issues mere hours before the supposed “cold gun” shot Hutchins and Souza as “not heroes” and “jerks,” Davis lathers up Rust’s producers as “some of the most approachable and warm I have ever worked with.”
Read what Baldwin just reposted from Davis here:
Reps for Baldwin had no comment on the repostings when contacted by Deadline.
As the police probe continues with three search warrants already executed and the local District Attorney exclaiming that “no one has been ruled out,” the Rust producers shuttered the film October 26 and hired a high-profile law firm. In a clearly defensive move, lawyers from Jenner & Block will run “an investigation of the events” for the producers, who have also hired a crisis PR team, and sit with crew members for interviews with OSHA.
Though no one has been charged or arrested, First Assistant Director David Halls and armorer Hannah Gutierrez have emerged at the center of the tragedy.
Fired from a previous film in 2019 for safety issues and not rehired on another project due to complaints about personal conduct, industry veteran Halls was the one who has said he handed Baldwin the 1880s-era weapon and told the Emmy winner it was a “cold gun.” In an October 27-filed affidavit from Sheriff’s Office Detective Joel Cano, Halls admitted that he did not check the weapon properly when Gutierrez gave it to him just before Baldwin attempted a “quick draw” move during a rehearsal inside a church on location at Santa Fe’s Bonanza Creek Ranch.
In her post above, Davis defends Halls and Gutierrez, saying the former held “several safety meetings” on set and was never “flippant” about it, while the “misfires were accidental discharges, which are more common than you think.”
“And the guns were checked immediately afterwards and the discharges were announced on set and apologized for (I was right there),” the costume designer claims.
Gutierrez’s attorneys Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence said in a statement late Thursday night saying “the whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings.”
Halls, like Gutierrez, also retained New Mexico criminal defense lawyers last week. Both the first AD and new-ish armorer’s statements of regret about the death of Hutchins and the shooting of Souza have varying degrees of blame for others.
On Saturday, Baldwin faced off with the paparazzi in Manchester, VT in an interview that was taped along the side of the road, exclaiming, “I’m not allowed to make any comments because it’s an ongoing investigation. I’ve been ordered by the Sheriff’s department in Santa Fe, I can’t answer any questions about the investigation.”
“She was my friend! The day I arrived in Santa Fe to start shooting, I took her to dinner with Joel the director,” the Oscar nominee continued. During his conversation with the press roadside, Baldwin was interrupted by his wife Hilaria who reminded him “You know what, no details.”
“We were a very, very well oiled crew shooting a film together and this horrible event happened,” the actor said.
Baldwin also called the on-set shooting “one in a trillion,” and called for “new measures” to enforce set safety. “How many bullets have been fired in films and TV shows in the last 75 years?” he said. “This is America. Probably billions. And nearly all of them without incident.”
District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told NBC News last week that she hasn’t ruled out Baldwin as a person of interest in her probe “He’s very important. He’s the one that pulled the trigger. He’s the one that was holding the gun. And so he’s very important. Does that mean that charges will be filed? Not necessarily. It also doesn’t mean that they won’t be filed,” she said.
On Friday, Santa Fe deputies seized at least one .45 caliber round from a prop truck along with several guns, real and fake, and boxes of other “miscellaneous” ammunition per a search warrant filed with the Santa Fe Magistrate Court, according to the Albuquerque Journal. This was in the wake of Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza telling press last Wednesday that investigators found 500 rounds of ammunition, a mix of dummy, blanks and possibly live rounds.
Gutierrez’s attorneys also disputed rumors about after-hours target practice with weapons on set, and also confirmed that two weapons were accidentally discharged before the October 21 accident. They also said that Gutierrez “has no idea where the live rounds came from.”
“Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer,” Bowles and Gorence said. “She fought for training days to maintain weapons and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department.”
The attorneys didn’t specify what Gutierrez’s second role was; it is believed to be assistant prop master.
Halls said in a statement to the New York Post on Monday, “It’s my hope that this tragedy prompts the industry to reevaluate its values and practices to ensure no one is harmed through the creative process again.”
Watch the Santa Fe Sheriff & First Judicial DA’s Wednesday news conference below.