George Clooney calls 'Rust' set shooting death 'infuriating'

Published By Alexandra Heilbron on Nov 18, 2021

George Clooney George Clooney has spoken out about the shooting on the set of the film Rust that involved Alec Baldwin firing a gun that killed the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injured the director, Joel Souza. Hutchins was standing at a monitor lining up the next shot when she was fatally shot. Souza was standing behind her when the bullet went through Hutchins, then struck him.

During an episode of the podcast WTF With Marc Maron on Monday, Clooney said, "Why, for the life of me, this low-budget film with producers who haven't produced anything wouldn't have hired for the armorer someone with experience."

Although Alec Baldin was not only the star but one of the producers, Clooney said he didn't know him well, but he doesn't believe there was "any intent by anybody to do anything wrong," calling the shooting "a terrible accident."

The armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, is the daughter of veteran armorer Thell Reed. Rust was her second film -- she had recently completed work as the head armorer on her first film, The Old Way, starring Nicolas Cage. However, Reed wasn't the person who handed the gun to Baldwin. That was first assistant director David Halls, who  confirmed the gun did not have any live rounds in it by shouting “cold gun.”

Before filming began that day, it was later revealed that guns for use in the film were taken by crew members who used them for live-ammunition target practice, shooting beer cans to pass the time.

Clooney added, "Maybe they weren't even using that gun to do target practice, but they had live ammo with dummies in her pack and that is insane."

He said that since his friend Brandon Lee was accidentally shot and killed on the set of The Crow in 1993, protocols have been in place in the film industry. "After Brandon died, it really became a very clear thing, Clooney said. "Open the gun, look down the barrel, look in the cylinder, make sure.

"Every single time I'm handed a gun on set, I look at it, I open it, I show it to the person I'm pointing it to, we show it to the crew," he said. "Every single take you hand it back to the armorer when you're done, and you do it again. I’ve been on sets for 40 years and the person that hands you the gun, the person that is responsible for the gun, is either the prop person or the armorer, period.

"We need to be better at making the heads of department experienced and know what they're doing. Because this is just infuriating," he said. "Every time I get handed a six gun, you point it at the ground and you fire. You squeeze it six times. Always."

Rust was being filmed at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. While authorities continue to investigate the incident, production on the film has been shut down indefinitely. ~Alexandra Heilbron

Comments & Discussion

  1. JOE • 11/18/2021 9:40:29 AM

    IT HAPPENED! IT WAS A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT THAT WE ALL CAN LEARN FROM. My heart is with Alex Baldwin. My prayers are with all the people who were involved. JOE

  2. James • 11/18/2021 10:07:56 AM

    As the person holding the gun, Alec Baldwin should have opened it and looked to see if there were any rounds inside. Because of his negligence, he's now a murderer. The guy who called cold gun is only an accessory. If people who kill other people through careless driving can be imprisoned for murder, then Alec Baldwin and this assistant director should be tried in court and if found negligent, they should spend time in jail. This is so much worse than bribing someone to let your kids go to college. If Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin did prison time and are now ex-cons, then Baldwin and whoever else is responsible for this woman's death should be tried and sentenced. The only reason he hasn't been charged so far is because he's rich and famous.

  3. Russ Maude • 11/18/2021 10:11:05 AM

    George Clooney is almost right...never shoot 6 rounds into the ground, because of possible ricochet. Empty all bullets out of the chamber, is safest bet George.

  4. Sheri Anderson • 11/18/2021 10:16:48 AM

    What happened with that gun was a horrible tragedy. It wasn't Alec Balldwin's fault. Someone should have made sure that the gun didn't have any bullets in it whoever this person is should be held responsible not Alec Baldwin.

  5. Leo • 11/18/2021 10:24:36 AM

    My heart ❤️ is with the victim’s family, and friends also with the crew members!!! I also want to make clear that Alex Baldwin is a seasoned actor with many years behind him, and he knows the protocols for gun control & Handling with his Director experience. Since the death of past Actors on set strict rules & protocols are set in place for safety precautions of ALL!! My question why wasn’t any of these measure followed by Alex as he was one of the Directors? Surely he could have simply checked the gun himself!! But this is Hollywood others will fall from grace for this horrible tragedy leaving children without a parent, a person without a spouse, a family without a daughter, sister, etc You would think 🤔 after one tragedy these accidents wouldn’t happen again? Please explain why this one did!!

  6. Paul • 11/18/2021 10:49:04 AM

    Why were the crew allowed to use the gun for fun? Wow! That was a dangerous film set. Truly a sad tragedy. None of it should have happened. Guns on a set should only be handled by the people who need to handle them and checked every time.

  7. Terry • 11/18/2021 4:24:12 PM

    Sheri Anderson --- Baldwin is indeed just as responsible for the bullets being in that gun as anyone else who handled it!! What about YOU??? Do you check your tools before you use them to do a job or is it the person's fault who handed you the pen if it has no ink in it?? You want to use a can opener. You make sure it works properly before you use it. If it doesn't work you are going to blame the cashier who handed it to you, right?? Do you make sure the brakes work before you take a car for a drive??? If not, whose fault is it that made the car run over six people? Get a grip!! THINK!!!

  8. Joy • 11/19/2021 12:44:23 PM

    This was a horrible tragedy and in no way was it Alec Baldwin's fault. The young, inexperienced armorer had the ultimate responsibility of keeping the weapons safe for everyone on the set. The biggest mistake, in my belief, was letting cast and crew use them for target practice during breaks. This was absolutely ridiculous and what ultimately caused this tradgedy when obviously, she neglected to check the guns after the break and before they were again used for the movie. She should be held responsible for the death and the injury of the victims, and should never, ever be allowed to work in any capacity involving weapons or explosives again.

  9. Walter • 11/20/2021 3:48:19 PM

    I’m wondering how long it will be before DA brings charges against the involved persons. If she follows the example set in the Brandon Lee tragedy there will be no manslaughter or murder indictments. It’s just a chain of criminal negligence of those involved. Following basic gun safety would have preserved the life of the lady and prevented injuries to Mr Souza. It’s just so very unfortunate this had to happen. Handling a gun is a cognitive action. So should be gun safety. Gun safety: Never assume a gun is unloaded when handed to you and treat all weapons as if they’re loaded. Last person handling the weapon is responsible for its status.

  10. Calamity Jane • 11/23/2021 1:00:07 AM

    Who cares what George Clooney thinks of the incident? He's just stating the obvious. It's terrible what happened, but wait til it happens again!

  11. rick meade • 12/3/2021 10:24:51 AM

    mr cloonie is right it was an accident iam praying for all god be with mr boldwin and the womans family

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