Filmmakers call for an end to using firearm blanks after 'Rust' cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' death by prop gun

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Filmmakers call for an end to using firearm blanks after 'Rust' cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' death by prop gun
© Provided by INSIDER The actor Alec Baldwin at the Hamptons International Film Festival in East Hampton, New York, on October 7, 2021. Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic

  • Hollywood filmmakers are calling for an end to using firearm blanks in movies.
  • This follows the death of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins who was killed by a prop gun.
  • “Mare of Easttown” director Craig Zobel says using blanks is “an unnecessary risk.”

Hollywood filmmakers are calling for future movies to stop using firearm blanks after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died after being shot on the set of “Rust” by a prop gun.

Alec Baldwin, who stars in the movie, discharged a “prop firearm” that killed Hutchins and injured the director Joel Souza on Thursday, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said. A production spokesperson told Deadline Thursday: “There was an accident today on the New Mexico set of ‘Rust’ involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.”

On Friday, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 44 told its members that the gun discharged by Baldwin contained a “live round,” calling the incident an “accidental weapons discharge.”

Many filmmakers and actors are paying tribute to Hutchins after her tragic death, however, some directors and cinematographers, including “Mare of Easttown” director Craig Zobel are criticizing the use of firearm blanks, which they say are no longer necessary for films.

Zobel tweeted: “There’s no reason to have guns loaded with blanks or anything on set anymore. Should just be fully outlawed. There’s computers now. The gunshots on Mare of Easttown are all digital. You can probably tell, but who cares? It’s an unnecessary risk.”

-craig zobel (@craigzobel) October 22, 2021

Following a response from fans defending the use of firearm blanks, “The Hunt” director tweeted: “I concede live rounds have a role on set: I do think there are protocols to doing it safely, and I’ve had live rounds on sets for years. Always made me nervous, though. So this last project we didn’t. I think it took a level of anxiety away.”

Lachlan Milne, the cinematographer for the Oscar award-winning movie “Minari,” and Rachel Morrison, the cinematographer for “Black Panther,” both wrote on their Instagram stories that Hutchins’ death could have been “preventable” in their tributes to her.

Morrison wrote: “Also I just want to vent for a second that there is no fathomable reason to use blanks anymore when it costs like 50c to add gunfire in post and even less reason to use them during a day scene where there is little to no interactive light. I am so mad at this needless and completely preventable loss.”

“Also if you don’t have enough funding to make a film safely, you shouldn’t be making it,” she added. “No shot, no scene, and no movie is worth the loss of life.”

-Ben Rockula (@Neptunesalad) October 22, 2021

Ben Rock, “The Blair Witch Project” production designer, and David Slack, the producer of “Person of Interest,” wrote Twitter threads explaining further how films can simulate gun violence more safely by using airsoft guns and adding visual effects.

“From a filmmaking perspective, blanks SUCK. They’re extremely dangerous and under the best of circumstances they eat time,” Rock wrote. “Yes, we would lose that absolute realism in exchange for a single frame of composited flash. It’s not impossible to spot the fake stuff. But the muzzle flash from a blank also doesn’t look exactly like a real bullet either. So pick your lack of realism. I side with safety.”

In Slack’s thread, he mentioned Hollywood’s crewmember labor union, The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), which Hutchins supported, that recently made a deal with Hollywood’s main studios after threatening to strike.

-David Slack (@slack2thefuture) October 22, 2021

“And remember how IATSE crew members have been demanding reasonable rest and longer turnarounds? Stuff like this is one of the big reasons why,” he wrote.

The official account of Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, run by Brandon’s sister Shannon also tweeted: “No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”

Brandon Lee was killed on the set of “The Crow” in 1993 after a bullet that was lodged in the barrel of a prop gun was propelled out by a blank round.

-Brandon Bruce Lee (@brandonblee) October 22, 2021

Read the original article on Insider

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