Oct. 22 (Reuters) – A gunshot death on set has rekindled concern over the use of firearms as arms actor Alec Baldwin unleashed in the murder of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins at the filming in New Mexico.
Some propeller pistols are facsimile weapons that don’t fire, but many are real pistols, loaded with blank cartridges instead of bullets.
While the exact type of weapon used in the shooting on the set of “Rust” was not clear, an affidavit filed by New Mexico authorities on Friday indicated that the film’s assistant director had seized the one of three pistols placed on a table by the gunsmith.
The assistant director brought the gun to Baldwin, handed it to the actor and shouted “cold weapon”, indicating that “the gun had no live ammunition”, states affidavit .
Propeller guns have long been used on sets for the realistic visual effect of flash and recoil after an actor pulls the trigger. Firearms with blank cartridges, which do not have a bullet but use gunpowder, can be lethal at close range.
Productions using accessory pistols have appointed weapon handlers or gunsmiths responsible for monitoring the weapons on the set, regularly checking that they are loaded only when needed and with the equipment provided, and ” ensure that actors use them safely, in accordance with industry rules and experts.
“All the gunsmiths I have worked with take this job extremely seriously,” Ben Rock, a film and television director, told Reuters.
Rock said he had repudiated the use of blank bullets for years, arguing that the “gritty realism” he lends can be replaced by the use of airsoft guns and the addition of visual effects in post. -production.
“Why is it worth taking a risk?” Said Roche. “We also pretend everything else, I don’t see why we can’t pretend about that too. “
According to the Santa Fe, New Mexico Sheriff’s Department, no charges were laid in Thursday’s fatal Hutchins shooting and Souza’s injury, and the investigation remains open. The sheriff’s office said Baldwin had discharged a propeller gun.
Baldwin is a co-producer and actor in “Rust”, a western set in the 1880s in Kansas.
Rick Pallaziol, owner of the “Weapons of Choice” company, which has rented accessory weapons to television, film and theater customers for about three decades, said he had stopped renting firearms that could shoot. shells on film productions over 20 years ago because he was worried. on the risks associated with blank cartridges. Even with rules in place, a brief lack of vigilance after a long day of filming can be fatal, he said.
“Protocols are not enough,” Pallaziol told Reuters. “Someone must be really scared every moment the gun explodes, and when they see it’s pointed the wrong direction, cry murder before something happens.” “
Ken Sonkin, a performing arts professor at the University of San Francisco and a specialist in stage combat, said the sensory effects of blank shots are difficult to reproduce with sound effects. But he added that Hutchins’ death might give directors pause.
“I think it will require those of us who work in the industry to reinvest in our security protocols and maybe reconsider them,” Sonkin said.
Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Donna Bryson, David Gregorio and Daniel Wallis
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