Alec Baldwin kills camerawoman, injures director on set Oct 22, 2021 12:26:53 GMT -5
Post by jdv on Oct 22, 2021 12:26:53 GMT -5
Lot's to unpack here, but let's start with a true bombshell of a headline:
“Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a set in New Mexico on Thursday, accidentally killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza,” reported Variety."
He did so after reportedly 'joking' with the director and director of photography after they requested another take by saying:
"Another take? How about I just fucking shoot the both of ya?" before actually pulling the trigger.
Baldwin, it should be noted, is a producer of the film, which has now (obviously) shut down production and will likely never see the light of day.
In the over 30 years I've been in the movie business, I've never heard such a wildly irresponsible tale of stupid. Even the Vic Morrow and Brandon Lee tragedies were less stupid. Let's break down all the reasons why:
First, the gun is almost certainly NOT a prop gun - this is a Western, meaning single shooter revolver. Which means a real gun that in theory would only be loaded with blanks. Indeed, most guns you see firing in movies are real guns, merely firing blanks (for example, Brandon Lee was killed by a real gun).
No true prop gun could ever fire a bullet. This either because the weapon has no firing pin, or is made of rubber or plastic. It is this feature which makes them a prop gun in the first place. Any "prop" which can fire a round is by definition a firearm, both legally and per Hollywood tradition.
While prop gun tech has advanced since Lee was killed (primarily thanks to CG and CO2 powered BB guns), that hasn't translated to older, antique weapons. So right off the bat, the media is spinning the story.
Second, and far more important, the very first thing an actor in theater or film is taught by weapon masters and directors and producers and stunt coordinators is to NEVER actually aim a firearm at another person. Ever.
And that includes rubber or plastic guns; even guns obviously unfireable because you always want to condition people on a set NOT to ever point guns, of any kind, at someone.
And certainly never point a gun at someone unless absolutely necessary for the story, something shooting a gun at a cameraman & director clearly falls outside the lines of.
Baldwin, who's been in dozens of movies featuring weapons surely has been told this fact a thousand times or more. Anyone who's ever been on a single show with guns would have been told non-stop to never fuck with prop guns (or real ones).
Third, unless modified or otherwise a rare piece, most western era guns are single shooters, meaning a person has to pull back the hammer himself each time a shot is to be fired. It's unclear at this point exactly what sort of gun was used, but if it was a single shooter style gun, it makes this even worse if multiple shots were fired. It's not being reported yet if he fired one shot or more (it's entirely possible that the first bullet could have gone through one person and hit the other).
Forth, there should never be live rounds on sets. Ever. It's always been a rule on modern sets, but one that was doubly so after the Brandon Lee incident. As a producer, Baldwin is directly responsible for insisting on this rule... and perhaps directly responsible for it being broken.
Fifth, an actor - particularly one as experienced as Baldwin - ought to be able to tell from the weight of gun (which would be vastly heavier with real, live, lead rounds) that something was amiss. It's still an actor's responsibility to inspect his prop, and if a gun, inspect the rounds in that gun. If also a producer, this responsibility is doubled. And that includes inspecting the primer cap in the rounds - the second you see an un-punctured primer in the back of a bullet, you must assume it's a live round.
Either Baldwin did not do this, or he knew the rounds were live. There simply is no alternative.
Sixth, Baldwin has a long a storied history of threats and violence, including against his own family. He has assaulted multiple reporters over the years and has threatened many more. Meaning that it is completely consistent with his personality to angrily do something stupid.
Seventh, Baldwin once wondered on twitter what it would feel like to accidentally shoot someone. A bizarre comment even without what happened today.
Eighth, assuming this was at least a 2nd take (again, assuming his "joke" about shooting them is accurate), the camera crew would check the gate (if it was a film camera), video would be replayed, lights, hair, makeup, and wardrobe would typically all be re-checked, as well as continuity checks by the script supervisor (all part of why Hollywood movies take so long to make). All of which tends to rule out an accidental firing, but certainly supports the idea Baldwin - unplanned - aimed the gun at the people he killed/injured.
I say that because people are already trying to say it was a planned shot aiming the gun at camera. All the above tends to exclude that possibility. More so, because any gun with live blanks aimed at a camera (which typically cost $20,000-50,000; lenses even more) would certainly have a sheet of Gorilla glass (or something similar) put up in front of the camera. Incredibly difficult to fire through that glass, the lens's glass (most lenses typically have 8 separate glass elements or more), the camera itself, and still have enough force to kill someone, then pass through them, and them injure another.
Possible, but highly unlikely.
While it is possible for gross negligence on the part of the weapons master, given the above, Baldwin still played a part it the shooting beyond the mere pulling of the trigger. As producer and biggest star attached the show (meaning the show likely never made without his presence, even if he didn't actually put money up himself), it was his responsibility to make sure to hire good people. Any way you slice it, Baldwin is, at least in some way, responsible for the accident even if he didn't intentionally aim the gun in an unplanned manner at the crew. But is it likely that that's his only part in this tale?
Or is it far more likely is that he acted like a tough guy, grab assing around in ways he's been taught for 40 years not to do, and without permission fired a gun at unsuspecting people?
Lastly, the arrogant ironic hypocrisy of Baldwin's act given his well known desire to enforce vastly stricter gun control can hardly be ignored. Multitudes of Hollywood stars are gun control advocates - obviously including Baldwin - despite many either owning guns themselves, or using armed guards. This also despite being in Hollywood films which not only feature incredible amounts of gun violence, but massively unrealistic uses of guns to glorify that violence.
Yet they - and specifically Baldwin - continue to use guns in the films that make them rich & famous.
It's almost certain Baldwin will never be charged with a crime - the rich & famous already held to a different standard, and he's a prominent democrat backer to boot - he's potentially guilty of gross negligence, both as an actor and a producer for all the reasons above. While the production likely had insurance, the company will likely be able to succeed in arguing that Baldwin's actions went far beyond the normal, reasonably expected, behavior of an experienced professional actor & producer.
While it won't be the last we hear of him - he's already tweeted something out today, so vast is his need for attention - but any sort of moral authority he had on gun control (which was little) is now irrevocably gone... hopefully along with his career.
killed by an arrogant jackass who would tell you what to do