The cameramen and their assistants were frustrated with the conditions surrounding the low-budget film, including complaints of long hours and getting their paychecks, according to three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.
The film crew showed up for work as scheduled at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and began assembling their gear and belongings to leave, a knowledgeable crew member told the Los Angeles Times.
Labor issues had been brewing for days on the dusty plateau of Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe.
Filming began on October 6, and members of the production said they were promised the production would pay for their hotel rooms in Santa Fe.
But after filming began, crews were told they would be required to drive 80 kilometers each day from Albuquerque, rather than spending the night in nearby Santa Fe.
The director of photography who was accidentally killed, Halyna Hutchins, had advocated for safer conditions for her team, said a member of the team who was on set.
While the film crew – members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees – spent about an hour assembling their equipment at Bonanza Creek Ranch, several non-union crew members showed up to replace them. , said the knowledgeable person.
A member of the producer’s staff then ordered the union members to leave the set. She said if they didn’t leave, the producers would call security to remove them.
“The corners were cut – and they brought in non-union people so they could keep shooting,” the knowledgeable person said.
There were two misfires on the propeller pistol on Saturday and one the week before, the person said, adding “there was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”
“The safety of our cast and crew is a top priority for Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company,” Rust Movie Productions LLC said in a statement. “Although we have not been made aware of any official complaints regarding the safety of weapons or accessories on set,” we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and to provide mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time. “
The shooting took place about six hours after the union’s film crew left.
Baldwin, the star of the film who also served as a producer on the film, was apparently rehearsing a scene outside the Bonzana Creek Ranch setting church, according to two knowledgeable people.
The scene involved a shootout that started in the church and then Baldwin’s character was supposed to withdraw from the church, according to production notes obtained by The Times. It was day 12 of a 21-day shoot.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were sent to the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set, where filming was underway for the western “Rust,” after 911 calls at 1:50 p.m. producers.
No charges have been filed, but the sheriff’s office said “witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”
Baldwin said on Friday he was “fully cooperating with the police investigation” into the incident.
“There are no words to express my shock and sadness over the tragic accident which claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins, a deeply admired wife, mother and colleague,” Baldwin wrote in a series of tweets on Friday.
Production has been halted on the low-budget film, which began filming this month.
In an email to its members, Local 44 of the International Alliance of Theater Workers, a union that represents prop masters, said the gunshot that killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on Thursday was “one shot live”.
“As many of us have heard before, there was an accidental gun discharge on a production called Rust being filmed in New Mexico,” the North Hollywood-based local said. “Only one live bullet was accidentally fired onto set by the lead actor, hitting both cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a member of Local 600, and director Joel Souza. Both were rushed to hospital, ”the email said.
A source close to the union said Local 44 did not know what projectile was in the gun and clarified that “alive” is an industry term that refers to a gun loaded with material such as this. than a blank ready to be filmed.
Bonanza Creek Ranch has been a popular filming location for over 60 years. The first film to be shot there was “The Man From Laramie”, starring Jimmy Stewart. It was also the setting for the classic “Blazing Saddles”, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and the popular TV show “Longmire”.
Editors Wendy Lee, Anousha Sakoui and Richard Winton contributed to this report.