“We packed our gear and left that morning,” the crew member said of the Thursday walkout.
Gutierrez, the film’s armorer, is the daughter of a longtime Hollywood firearms expert. She gave an interview in September to the Voices of the West podcast in which she said she had learned how to handle guns from her father since she was a teenager.
During the podcast interview. Gutierrez shared that she just finished her first movie in the role of head armorer, a project in Montana starring Nicholas Cage titled “The Old Way.”
“I was really nervous about it at first and I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready but doing it, like, it went really smoothly,” she said.
In another on-set gun death from 1993, Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, was killed by a bullet left in a prop gun after a previous scene. Similar shootings have occurred involving stage weapons that were loaded with live rounds during historical re-enactments.
Gun-safety protocol on sets in the United States has improved since then, said Steven Hall, a veteran director of photography in Britain. But he said one of the riskiest positions to be in is behind the camera because that person is in the line of fire in scenes where an actor appears to point a gun at the audience.
The shooting death of director of photography Halyna Hutchins on a film set in Santa Fe, N.M., is a stark reminder to the filmmaking community that, though they work in fantasy, actions on set can have real world consequences.
On Thursday, while filming the Western Rust, the movie’s star Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun that killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.
An Associated Press report from 2016 determined that from 1990 until the time of publication, at least 43 people died on sets in the U.S. and more than 150 had been left with life-altering injuries.
On-set deaths from prop guns
Though Hutchins’ death is tragic and distressing, film and television prop experts told NPR that injuries or death from prop firearms specifically are exceedingly rare.
He said the industry standard is to abide by strict safety rules.
“We go through the utmost caution and care when putting any sorts of weapons in the hands of actors,” he said.
Hutchins’ shocking on-set death immediately drew comparisons to the untimely 1993 death of Brandon Lee.
Lee, who was 28 at the time, was the son of the late martial-arts star Bruce Lee. He was killed after being hit by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for the movie The Crow. The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.
Lee’s death in 1993 was the last recorded accidental death by a prop gun on a movie set.
Before that, in 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum was killed on the set of the TV series Cover Up. Hexum accidentally shot himself in the head with a gun loaded with blanks.
Shannon Lee, who runs a Twitter account in her deceased brother’s name, tweeted, “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust.’ No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”
For prop masters, safety is supposed to come first
Prop masters are in charge of a production’s props before, during and shortly after filming. Along with armorers — the crew members who work with the guns on set — and stunt coordinators, prop masters coordinate with actors, producers and the director during filming.
“When I’m doing a training session with a performer, my main guideline, the heartbeat of the conversation, is to make sure that they are treating any weapon — whether it’s a bladed weapon or a firearm — as if it could potentially kill somebody. And those are usually the words I use,” said UCLA’s Williams. “It’s a serious situation and everyone’s got to be on their game.”
Hollywood adheres to Safety Bulletins, written and distributed by the Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee, for standards on weapon and prop safety, as well as other rules.
In the first bulletin addressing firearms and the use of blank ammunition, the document notes prominently: “TREAT ALL FIREARMS AS THOUGH THEY ARE LOADED.” It goes on to say live ammunition is to never be used nor brought onto a set.
However, these are recommendations and not binding law.
“There are a lot of working pieces when it comes to firing guns on set,” said Karl Weschta, the vice president of weapons for Independent Studio Services in Los Angeles. ISS provides props and weapons for television and movie productions.
In addition to safety lessons and practice sessions, actors are told to keep a safe distance from other crew members when handling a prop gun. Filmmakers often use movie magic so it looks as if an actor is pointing a gun directly at another character — when they’re actually pointing the weapon at an angle or off-center.
“It’s really rare when a gun is actually directly pointed at someone,” Weschta said.
Those weapons also are usually empty or loaded with blank cartridges. But a blank cartridge shot at close range can still cause serious damage.
In the case of Hexum’s death, a gun loaded with a blank cartridge caused enough damage to kill the young actor. We have articles on other sites, I hope you can visit them: Baby Boss 2 – Affari di Famiglia streaming ITA , Deep Water streaming ITA , Avatar 2 streaming ITA
Hexum was struck in the right temple by a blank charge from the prop gun he was handling. The force of the bullet fractured his skull, according to a New York Times report from the time of the incident. This caused serious brain hemorrhaging and irreversible damage.
Still, details are sometimes too hard to control on set
Even with all of the planning and safety measures in place, accidents can happen.
Weschta and Williams said there’s still a lot that is unknown about how Hutchins was killed and Souza injured. Our articles elsewhere following search terms on google: Avatar 2 streaming , Morbius streaming ITA
The type of gun, how it was altered, how it was handled, the positions of both cast and crew, even down to the direction and strength of the wind all could have played a factor in the shooting, they said.
On-set pressure can also be a factor, sometimes causing even experienced professionals to let safety standards slide, Williams said.