Rust crew 'warned producers of previous film about assistant director'

‘That man is a liability’: Crew member on ‘Rust’ says he warned producers about assistant director Dave Halls’ cavalier attitude toward safety on set of film with Machine Gun Kelly

  • Dave Halls was the assistant director on Rust, the Western starring Alec Baldwin where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot on October 21
  • Halls handed Baldwin the gun he was using in the scene, telling him it was a ‘cold gun’ – not containing live ammunition
  • Detectives are investigating the shooting but focus is increasingly on Halls and on the novice armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24 
  • The script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who called 911, immediately blamed Halls for not paying attention to the guns
  • Halls has admitted to investigators that he did not check every bullet in the chamber when he handed the gun to Baldwin
  • Now people who worked with Halls previously have said they were concerned about his actions
  • Halls was also fired from the set of Freedom’s Path after a firearm discharged accidentally, wounding a crew member 

Crew members who worked on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Western film Rust have claimed they expressed concern about the assistant director’s cavalier attitude towards safety when he worked on a previous film.

Dave Halls, who had worked on films such as The Matrix Reloaded and Fargo, was the person who handed Baldwin the gun on October 21.

He told Baldwin the gun was ‘cold’ – not loaded with live ammunition – and Baldwin pulled the trigger, fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42.

The film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, immediately blamed Halls, saying on the 911 call that he was responsible.

‘This f****** AD that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherf*****,’ Mitchell appears to be saying to someone else. 

‘He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.’ 

Halls has since admitted to investigators that he did not check every bullet in the chamber. Questions are also being asked about the actions of the inexperienced armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24.

Dave Halls (pictured) was working on the set of Rust as the assistant director, and handed Alec Baldwin the gun that then killed camerawoman Halyna Hutchins

Halls, an experienced assistant director, is pictured on the set of Rust, outside Santa Fe in New Mexico

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot with a prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the movie set in New Mexico on October 21

An aerial view of the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, where the movie was being filmed


Now people who worked with Halls on previous projects have claimed that he had a lax attitude towards safety.

A search warrant released Friday said that armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (pictured) laid out three prop guns on a cart outside the filming location

Baldwin is seen in Vermont on Thursday, having escaped to the New England countryside with his wife Hilaria and their children following the tragedy on set 

One crew member who worked with Halls on the set of One Way, which was filmed in Georgia in February, starring Machine Gun Kelly, said that Halls had sparked alarm during a scene involving cars.

The cars were being driven, in a field, by local people who were not stunt drivers.

The crew member told Variety that the move was risky and unprofessional.

‘That man is a liability,’ the crew member recalled saying. 

‘He’s going to f****** kill someone someday, and you’re going to be responsible.’

A second crew member on the film also said there were safety problems involving Halls and vehicles on set. 

This person said there was a scene with a ‘car hit’ that had inadequate crew, and that background actors were driving cars, instead of stunt drivers.

‘They put me in a position of danger,’ the second crew member told Variety. 

‘They’re getting the bottom-of-the-barrel people.’

A third crew member confirmed that he had heard about safety issues involving Halls and vehicles from a fourth person on set. 

Hutchins, 42, was pronounced dead in hospital in New Mexico following the October 21 accident

One Way, starring Machine Gun Kelly, Travis Fimmel and Kevin Bacon, is expected to be released next year. The film was shot in Georgia in February, with Halls as assistant director

This crew member also said he witnessed Halls losing his temper on set.

But Molly Mayeux, the line producer on One Way, denied there were safety issues on the set.

‘I can attest with 100 per cent certainty that One Way was extremely safety-conscious, and all safety protocols were followed during the shoot,’ Mayeux said. 

‘I am sickened by these ‘sources’ trying to capitalize on such a horrific accident.’

Mayeux also denied that the crew member issued the warning about Halls being a ‘liability’.

Yet another crew member, Lisa Long, who worked with Halls as first assistant camera on One Way, told The New York Times that she complained to her superiors several times about safety concerns.

‘Normally I’d go to the first A.D. with safety concerns,’ Long said.

‘But the safety concerns were about the first A.D.’ 

Long said that the crew shot a scene on an active highway without the proper preparation, and two of the vehicles narrowly avoided a crash.

‘I don’t ever recall having a proper safety meeting,’ she said.

Halls was fired from another film, Freedom’s Path, after a gun discharged accidentally, injuring a woman.

The assistant camera operator, Quinton Rodriguez, told Rolling Stone that said that the scene involved Civil War-era firearms loaded with enough gunpowder to make a visible blast when fired, and that it was Halls’ responsibility to ensure that the guns were completely empty when filming closeup scenes.

‘We started out in a wide shot, and we ended up doing it a couple times, and then we had to cut in the middle of the take, before the gun would have been fired in the shot,’ he said. 

‘Then we moved into the close-up on the shot, and the gun obviously had not been cleared to become a ‘cold’ weapon. 

‘We went in for the take, and to literally everybody’s surprise, all eight people within a 10-foot range, the gun ended up firing right in our boom operator’s face.’

The boom operator was not seriously injured, but Rodriguez said he ‘threw his headphones off to the ground, dropped the boom mic and essentially ran from the set.’ 

Halls was fired from the production that day.

‘A lot of his mentality was just, ‘Get the shot. And get the shot on time.” Rodriguez said. 

‘He seemed willing to cut whatever corners were necessary to make that happen.’ 

Halls has not commented publicly either on the October 21 tragedy, or on the previous incidents. 

No charges have been filed, and investigators in New Mexico – where Rust was filmed – are continuing their inquiries. 

‘He’s supposed to check the guns, he’s responsible’: Panicked 911 calls from Alec Baldwin tragedy reveal how script supervisor blamed assistant director for death of cinematographer – but why did ANY of the guns have live ammo? 

The audio recordings of 911 calls made by the crew of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust have revealed desperate attempts to save their colleague, and allegations of negligence.

Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor of the film, made the call after Baldwin accidentally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and director Joel Souza, 48.

The group were filming the Western film in the desert outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday when the tragedy happened.

In her call, Mitchell, a veteran script supervisor with credits dating back to 1974, points the finger at the assistant director, accusing him of negligence.

Mitchell calls 911 and tells the woman answering: ‘We need an ambulance out at Bonanza Creek Ranch right now. We have had two people accidentally shot on a movie set accidentally.’

While she is on the phone, Mitchell is instructing another person to ‘clear the road’ to allow the ambulance easy access to the site.

Mitchell is then transferred to the Santa Fe fire and EMS, and, sounding panicked, urges a swift response.

‘Bonanza Creek ranch. We have had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun.

‘We need help immediately. Bonanza Creek ranch. Come on.’

David Halls is the Assistant Director of Rust, the Western movie Baldwin was acting in and producing when he accidentally killed Hutchins on Thursday and wounded director Joel Souza

The 911 operators then asks Mitchell for her details.

Mitchell, who has worked on films including No Country For Old Men, Sicario and 3:10 to Yuma, can be heard saying: ‘It sounds like somebody else is calling for ambulances.

‘Everybody should be. We need some help.

‘Our director and our camerawoman has been shot.’

She then asks someone on set: ‘Are they going to take him to the road?’

The 911 operator asks: ‘So, was it loaded with a real bullet or what?’

Mitchell replies: ‘I don’t, I cannot tell you that. We have two injuries from a movie gunshot.’

While the phone operator is inputting the details, Mitchell can be heard telling someone else: ‘OK, this f****** AD that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherf*****.

‘Did you see him lean over my desk and yell at me? He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.’ 

According to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court, the gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted. 

Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.

It is not known whether Mitchell was referring Halls in the audio. 

It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.

On the call, the 911 operator tries to ask Mitchell how many people were injured and, confused, Mitchell replies: ‘No, no, I’m a script supervisor.’

The operator asks again, and Mitchell says: ‘Two that I know of. I was sitting there rehearsing and it went off and I ran out. We all went out there, but doubled over the camerawoman and the director.’

She tells another person: ‘They are clearing the road, can you go back – back in the town, back in the Western camp.’

The operator asks if there is any serious bleeding, and Mitchell, flustered, hands the phone over to a man.

‘Hello?’ the man says.

‘Hi, I have a protocol of questions I need to ask. If you could answer them as best you can,’ the 911 operator says. ‘Are they completely alert?’

The man replies: ‘Yes, they are alert.’

The operator asks if the bleeding is controlled, and the man replies: ‘Let’s see if I’m allowed to get closer… No.’

It is unclear if he is saying that the bleeding is not controlled, or that he is not able to get closer.

‘We’ve got one laying down,’ he tells the operator, adding that they are near gate one and have a van ready to escort the ambulances quickly to the precise spot.

A devastated Baldwin is pictured bent over outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office on Thursday after speaking to investigators

A woman then calls back saying: ‘Hi, I am calling back from Bonanza Creek Ranch. We actually need two ambulances not one.’

The operator replies: ‘OK, so we’re doing a call now for somebody else and we’ll get two up to you.’

The woman, her voice showing the strain, replies: ‘OK. And that’s 10 to 15 minutes?’

‘I don’t know – we’re getting them right now, to you now,’ the operator replies.

‘What? What?’ the woman says, sounding panicked as she speaks to someone else.

‘We have two ambulances heading your way.’

‘What?’ the woman says, then returns speaking to the operator: ‘OK, thank you.’

The operator replies: ‘You’re welcome, bye.’ 

Mitchell later said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.

‘I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’ Mitchell told The Associated Press. 

‘This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.’

Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.

Baldwin described the killing as a ‘tragic accident.’

‘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. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,’ Baldwin wrote on Twitter. 

‘My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.’

No immediate charges were filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was permitted to travel.

‘He’s a free man,’ Rios said. 

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