Back in October 2021, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed after a prop gun was discharged during a scene with a live round while filming Rust. The producers of the film have since denied that this was due to safety failures on their part.
An official report was issued saying that they failed to adhere to proper gun safety practices which led to Alec Baldwin discharging a live round, but the production company has since argued that they were “not responsible for supervising the film set.”
Baldwin has stated in court that he was informed the gun was “cold” – an industry term for not loaded or only loaded with blanks – by the assistant director and the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department continue to investigate the tragedy.
The film’s production company has stated that they “enforced all applicable safety protocols,” and that they were ultimately not responsible for ensuring these were applied properly by those on set, adding, “much less for supervising specific protocols such as the maintenance and loading of weapons”.
A statement from the producers said: “The law properly permits producers to delegate such critical functions as firearm safety to experts in that field and does not place such responsibility on producers whose expertise is in arranging financing and contracting for the logistics of filming.”
The legality of this point is currently being debated as the court investigation continues. Further details are likely to emerge in the following days.