George Clooney says having live bullets on the set of fatal Alec Baldwin movie ‘Rust’ is ‘insane’

George Clooney has said it was ‘insane’ and ‘infuriating’ that live bullets were on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust, which resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The Hollywood star, 60, added he has never heard the term ‘cold gun’ used to describe a firearm that is safe to use on set, after the phrase was supposedly used by the film’s assistant director before handing the revolver to Baldwin.

Clooney said the fatal shooting, which also wounded director Joel Souza, was a ‘terrible accident’ but claimed AD David Halls should never have been near the prop gun and was in disbelief that it occurred after rigorous safety measures implemented following the on-set deaths of Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum.

He said whenever he is handed a gun on set, he opens it, shows it to the person he’s pointing it at and the crew, fires it six times into the ground before handing it back to the armorer after each scene.

Speaking on the WTF podcast with Marc Maron, the actor also accused Rust of ‘skimping’ on costs which led to the hiring of inexperienced armorers in a veiled dig at Baldwin who was a producer on the film. 

Baldwin is being sued for his alleged role in the horrific incident and has been named along with other producers in a lawsuit by the film’s head of lighting Serge Svetnoy, accusing him of negligence.

The Hollywood star (pictured last month), 60, added he has never heard the term 'cold gun' used to describe a firearm that is safe to use on set

George Clooney (right, pictured last month) has said it was ‘insane’ and ‘infuriating’ that live bullets were on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust (pictured left on set hours before the fatal shooting)

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured) was struck in the chest as Baldwin rehearsed a scene

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured) was struck in the chest as Baldwin rehearsed a scene

Clooney (pictured in The American) said he is always rigorous with gun safety on set and the person responsible should be the prop person or the armorer

Clooney (pictured in The American) said he is always rigorous with gun safety on set and the person responsible should be the prop person or the armorer

Speaking to the WTF podcast with Marc Maron, Clooney said: ‘I don’t know Alec that well. I’ve been watching the news and I have to say, they’ve got the bad guy, which is going to be the first AD.

‘He may be a d**k, I don’t know the guy at all, but 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.

‘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, every single take you hand it back to the armorer when you’re done, and you do it again. 

‘Part of it is because of what happened to Brandon. Everyone does it. Everyone knows. 

‘Maybe Alec did that, I hope he did, but the problem is, dummies are tricky. Because they look like real bullets. They’ve got a tiny hole at the back where someone has taken the gunpowder out.’

Since the fatal shooting in New Mexico, concerns have been raised about the safety on set amid allegations of inexperienced armorers using the gun for target practice.

Alec Baldwin and his family were spotted out and about in New York City on Sunday

Hilaria Baldwin is seen above with her daughter in New York City on Sunday

Alec Baldwin and his family were spotted out and about in New York City on Sunday

The family gathered around Alec as he sat on a park bench to take a rest

The family gathered around Alec as he sat on a park bench to take a rest

Clooney said the fatal shooting, which killed Halyna (pictured) and wounded director Joel Souza, was a 'terrible accident'

Clooney said the fatal shooting, which killed Halyna (pictured) and wounded director Joel Souza, was a ‘terrible accident’

Assistant director David Halls was given the gun by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, and he declared it a ‘cold gun’ before passing it over to Baldwin, court documents state. 

Clooney added fuel to the fire, saying: ‘And 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…

‘Maybe they weren’t even using that gun to do target practice, but they had live ammo with dummies in her pack. That is insane, it’s insane and it’s infuriating.

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

He added: ‘I’ve never heard of the term “cold gun”, they’re just talking about stuff I’ve never heard of. It’s infuriating.’

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department has said in court documents prop master Sarah Zachary took the gun from a locked props truck and gave it to armorer Hannah Guttierez-Reed.

She loaded it with rounds from a box of dummies but apparently one of them was live ammunition.

Halls has admitted he did not inspect the gun thoroughly enough before he gave it to Baldwin who then discharged it while rehearsing for a scene in a church pew (pictured, the church on the film set)

Halls has admitted he did not inspect the gun thoroughly enough before he gave it to Baldwin who then discharged it while rehearsing for a scene in a church pew (pictured, the church on the film set)

Brandon Lee

Jon-Erik Hexum

Clooney was in disbelief that the shooting occurred after rigorous safety measures implemented following the on-set deaths of Brandon Lee (left) and Jon-Erik Hexum (right)

Guttierez-Reed said she showed the gun to Halls who has admitted he did not inspect it thoroughly enough before he gave it to Baldwin who then discharged it while rehearsing for a scene in a church pew. 

Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, told the Today Show that ‘She’s heartbroken, and she’s just devastated by what’s happened. ‘ 

Bowles previously told NBC News that the young armorer had ‘no idea where the live rounds came from’ and never witnessed anyone shooting live ammunition on set. 

Gutierrez-Reed was set to receive less than $8,000 for her job on the set, compared to $650,000 the producers set aside for themselves and a $350,000 contingency fee in case anything went wrong.

Baldwin was also slated to earn $150,000 as the lead actor, and his production company, El Dorado, was taking a $100,000 fee, while Hutchins was budgeted to earn $48,945.

The independent movie had a modest overall budget of just $7,279,305, according to a draft of the production budget dated September 8, which was revealed by the Hollywood Reporter.     

The head of lighting on the film filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, alleging negligence that caused him ‘severe emotional distress’ that will haunt him forever.

Serge Svetnoy said in the suit that the bullet that killed his close friend Hutchins, narrowly missed him, and he held her head as she died.

Last week, legal action was taken in connection with the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins on the Santa Fe, New Mexico set on October 21. Serge Svetnoy (right) said in the suit that the bullet that killed his close friend Hutchins (left), narrowly missed him, and he held her head as she died

Last week, legal action was taken in connection with the shooting that killed Halyna Hutchins on the Santa Fe, New Mexico set on October 21. Serge Svetnoy (right) said in the suit that the bullet that killed his close friend Hutchins (left), narrowly missed him, and he held her head as she died

The fatal shooting took place during rehearsals on October 21 for the filming of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The fatal shooting took place during rehearsals on October 21 for the filming of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Attorney Gary Dordick (left) speaks alongside his client Serge Svetnoy (right), chief of lighting on the Rust film set, after announcing a lawsuit against Baldwin and others on Wednesday in Beverly Hills, California

Attorney Gary Dordick (left) speaks alongside his client Serge Svetnoy (right), chief of lighting on the Rust film set, after announcing a lawsuit against Baldwin and others on Wednesday in Beverly Hills, California

‘They should never, ever, have had live rounds on this set,’ Svetnoy’s attorney Gary A. Dordick said at a news conference Wednesday.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court names nearly two dozen defendants associated with the film including Baldwin, who was both star and a producer; David Halls, the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun; and Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was in charge of weapons on the set.

It is the first known lawsuit of what could be many stemming from the October 21 shooting.

It was the ninth film that Svetnoy and Hutchins had worked on together, and he had taken the job at low pay because she asked him to.

‘She was my friend,’ Svetnoy said at the news conference.

He said he had seen guns sitting unattended in the dirt a few days earlier in the shoot, and had warned the people responsible about them.

On the day of the shooting, he was setting up lighting within 6 or 7 feet of Baldwin, the suit says.

‘What happened next will haunt Plaintiff forever,’ the suit says. 

Svetnoy (left), held dying Halyna Hutchins (right) in his arms after she was shot

Svetnoy (left), held dying Halyna Hutchins (right) in his arms after she was shot 

‘He felt a strange and terrifying whoosh of what felt like pressurized air from his right. He felt what he believed was gunpowder and other residual materials directly strike the right side of his face.’

Then, with his glasses scratched and his hearing muffled, he knelt to help Hutchins, the suit said.

The lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages to be determined later. It was filed in Los Angeles County because the plaintiff and most of the defendants are based there.

Svetnoy told TMZ that he’s suing Baldwin because he ‘owed a duty to the Plaintiff and other crew members and actors on the “Rust” set to handle the Colt Revolver provided to him by Defendant Halls with reasonable care and diligence for the safety of “Rust” cast and crew.’ 

‘This duty called for Defendant Baldwin to double-check the Colt Revolver with Halls upon being handled to ensure that it did not contain live ammonization,’ he added in the court documents.

Svetnoy went on to claim that if Baldwin knew the gun was loaded with a real bullet, he had another duty to ‘refrain from pointing it at anyone’.

In a bombshell line, the lawsuit also revealed that the scene Baldwin was doing did not call for him to pull the trigger. The script supposedly directed the actor to draw the gun and point it in the general direction of the camera.

However, ‘the scene did not call for Defendant Baldwin to shoot the Colt Revolver,’ the document stated.

Besides his alleged negligence as an actor Svetnoy also pointed to the 63-year-old’s negligence as a producer of the movie. 

He wrote: ‘They attempted to save money by hiring an insufficient number of crew members to safely handle the props and firearms.’

According to TMZ the suit went on to claim that there were other failings on set, including violating ‘industry norms, declining requests for weapons training days, failing to allow proper time to allow for gunfire, failing to send out safety bulletins and spreading the staff too thin’.

Svetnoy, who asked for damages and a jury trial, also called the target practice that took place before the fatal accident ‘outrageous’.

Attorneys and representatives for the defendants did not immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment on the suit.

The gun Baldwin used to shoot Hutchins supplied by the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (pictured), 24

Rust assistant director David Halls (pictured) is also being sued and told Baldwin that the gun was cold

The experienced crew member also sued 24-year-old armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed (left) and the movie’s assistant director David Hall (right), who told Baldwin that the gun was cold

Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles said in a statement Wednesday that ‘we are convinced this was sabotage and Hannah is being framed. We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived.’

Bowles said his client has provided authorities with a full interview and continues to assist them. The statement did not address the lawsuit.

‘We are asking for a full and complete investigation of all of the facts, including the live rounds themselves, how they ended up in the “dummies” box, and who put them in there,’ the statement said.

Gutierrez Reed said last week that she had inspected the gun Baldwin shot but doesn’t know how a live bullet ended up inside.

Santa Fe-area District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said investigators have encountered no proof of sabotage. 

Her comments, first made on Good Morning America, were confirmed Wednesday by agency spokeswoman Sascha Guinn Anderson.

Carmack-Altwies says that investigators know who loaded the gun, though it remains unclear how the deadly round of ammunition got on the movie set. The district attorney said she is concerned that there were so many levels of safety failures.

Dordick said at the news conference that it was ‘far-fetched’ to suggest there was sabotage, but that Gutierrez Reed still had the same responsibility to know what was in the gun and who had handled it.

Svetnoy shared the final photo of Halyna Hutchins (pictured holding the camera) on set in the church just moments before she was shot dead

Svetnoy shared the final photo of Halyna Hutchins (pictured holding the camera) on set in the church just moments before she was shot dead

Hutchins' October 19, 2021 Instagram post showed cast members and staffers, including Baldwin alongside Hutchins herself and armorer Gutierrez-Reed (circled left to right) on the set of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Hutchins’ October 19, 2021 Instagram post showed cast members and staffers, including Baldwin alongside Hutchins herself and armorer Gutierrez-Reed (circled left to right) on the set of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured) on October 21 when he was handed prop gun with live ammunition

Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (pictured) on October 21 when he was handed prop gun with live ammunition

Halls said last week that he hoped the tragedy prompted the film industry to ‘reevaluate its values and practices’ to ensure no one is harmed again, but did not provide details.

Baldwin said on video on October 30 that the shooting was a ‘one-in-a-trillion event’ saying, ‘We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened.’

The director Souza told detectives that Baldwin was rehearsing a scene in which he drew a revolver from his holster and pointed it toward the camera, which Hutchins and Souza were behind, according to court records in New Mexico.

Souza said the scene did not call for the use of live rounds, and Gutierrez Reed said real ammo should never have been present, according to the court records.

The Los Angeles lawsuit alleges that the scene did not call for Baldwin to fire the gun at all, only to point it.

Hollywood professionals have been baffled by the circumstances of the movie-set shooting. It already has led to other production crews stepping up safety measures.

The investigation remains ongoing but in the most recent development in the case, the District Attorney (DA) in charge of looking into the shooting has said she knows who loaded the gun.

Mary Carmack-Altwies told Good Morning America that there were ‘so many levels of failures’ on the set before Hutchins was accidentally shot and killed by Baldwin on October 21.

Authorities have been probing how a suspected live round came to be in the firearm, which had been declared safe by an assistant director. When asked if she knew who had loaded the fatal shot, Carmack-Altwies said ‘yes’.

The DA added that investigators found additional live rounds on set but could not specify how many because the investigation was ongoing.

‘We still don’t know how they got on the set and how they got there I think will be one of the most important factors going into a charging decision,’ Carmack-Altwies said.

‘It’s probably more important to focus on what led up to the shooting because the moment of the shooting, we know that at least Mr Baldwin had no idea that the gun was loaded, so it’s more how did that gun get loaded, what levels of failure happened and were those levels of failure criminal?’

She also refuted claims made by the attorney of the film’s armorer who suggested the weapon could have been intentionally loaded with live ammo.

‘Defense attorneys have come up with conspiracy theories and used the word “sabotage”. We do not have proof,’ Carmack-Atlwies added.

Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles has claimed that the incident could have been caused by sabotage by a third party who intentionally placed live ammo in a box of blanks, but Carmack-Altwies said that was unlikely.

Mary Carmack-Altwies (pictured), the District Attorney in charge of the investigation, said there were 'so many levels of failures' on the set before Hutchins' death

Mary Carmack-Altwies (pictured), the District Attorney in charge of the investigation, said there were ‘so many levels of failures’ on the set before Hutchins’ death

The Santa Fe county sheriff said there had been ‘some complacency’ in how weapons were handled and the set has been shut down since that day in October as authorities probe the scene of the incident. 

Baldwin himself has said it is unlikely the low-budget movie will ever be completed. 

In the weeks since the shooting, several former crew members have spoken out about the unsafe environment on the set.

Lane Luper, who served as the film’s A-camera first assistant, said he quit one day before the fatal shooting because employees were being overworked, Covid safety was not being enforced properly and gun safety was poor.

‘I think with Rust, it was the perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing. It was everything,’ he told Good Morning America when asked about the events that led up to the fatal shooting.

‘It wasn’t just one individual. Everything had to fall into place for this one-in-a-trillion thing to happen.’

He then disputed the producers’ claim that safety was a top priority on set, saying: ‘I only personally remember two safety meetings that involved the entire crew.’

Luper ultimately accused the film’s production of breaking the cardinal rule of having guns on set. ‘There shall never be live rounds anywhere on a studio lot, or stage or set,’ he added.

He then choked up when describing the late Hutchins, saying: ‘She genuinely was something special.’

In his letter of resignation, Luper said there had been two accidental weapon discharges on set and one accidental sound-effects explosion that went off around the crew.

‘There have been NO explanations as to what to expect for these shots. When anyone from production is asked we are usually met with the same answers about not having enough time to complete the day if we rehearse or that “this is a 21 day shoot,”‘ Luper wrote in the letter.

He added that the crew grew exhausted of long commutes from the set to their lodging, which for some was more than two hours away.

‘In my 10 years as a camera assistant I’ve never worked on a show that cares so little for the safety of its crew,’ Luper said. 

Baldwin recently fired back at the claims that the working conditions on the set were unsafe, though, sharing a social media post from one crew member slamming her coworkers for painting a ‘blatantly false’ picture of the set as ‘chaotic and unsafe’.

Baldwin shared a screenshot of the post written by costume designer Terese Magpale Davis to his Instagram account with the caption: ‘Read this.’

‘I am so sick of this narrative,’ Davis wrote in her post. ‘I worked on this movie. The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bull***t.’

Davis’ post refuted many of the complaints of crew members – including that they routinely worked more than 12-hour days.

‘We never worked more than a 12.5-hour shoot day. That was once,’ Davis wrote.

‘Most days were under 12. The day Halyna died we had come off of a 12 hour turnaround after an 11 hour shoot day. We had (including camera) gotten off by 6.30pm.’

Davis continued, sharing that the fatal shooting that occurred on set will haunt her for a long time. She noted that she is angry at Dave Hall, the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun, but would not accuse him of not caring about safety.

‘I am heartbroken and furious,’ she wrote. ‘I will never get the sound of that gunshot or my director’s screams out of my head as a result.’

‘My friend is dead. Am I angry at him? Yes. But I won’t jump on the bandwagon and pretend that he was uncaring about our safety the whole way through.’

Baldwin had remained silent about the incident on Rust prior to sharing the post.

Gun that went off in Alec Baldwin’s hands and claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins was used for off-set target practice by crew members and live ammo and blanks were stored together, sources say 

Alec Baldwin was wielding a vintage Colt pistol (pictured)

Alec Baldwin was wielding a vintage Colt pistol (pictured)

The gun that killed the cinematographer on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust had been used for target practice by crew members, sources linked to the western film’s production said. 

Multiple sources connected to the set of Rust told TMZ that the same Colt pistol that went off in Alec Baldwin’s hands, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, had been used recreationally by crew members. 

The sources claim that some crew members would go off for target practice using real bullets, and some believe a live round from those practice sessions found its way onto the set. 

Another source told TMZ that live ammo and blanks were being stored in the same area on set, offering another possible explanation as to how a bullet was fired from Baldwin’s Colt.  

A search warrant released Friday said that Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had laid out three prop guns on a cart outside the filming location, and first assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the Colt from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds. 

‘Cold gun!’ shouted Halls before handing the gun to Baldwin, using the phrase to signal to cast and crew that the gun was safe to fire for the scene, the warrant said. 

Seconds later, filming a scene inside an Old West-style church, Baldwin apparently aimed towards the camera and pulled the trigger, accidentally killing Hutchins as she filmed him, and injuring Souza, who stood behind her. 

Two production sources who previously worked with Gutierrez-Reed said this was not the first time she was involved in an incident on a movie set. 

The two sources told The Daily Beast that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had allegedly given an 11-year-old actress a gun without checking it properly while on the set of the Nicholas Cage film, The Old Way. 

‘There were a couple times she was loading the blanks and doing it in a fashion that we thought was unsafe,’ one of the sources said.

‘She was a bit careless with the guns, waving it around every now and again.’  

Sources on the Rust set have said the fatal incident that killed Hutchins, 42, and injured Souza, 48, was a result of production failings from top to bottom. 

They added that assistant director Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin and told him it was safe, should have checked the weapon. 

‘He’s supposed to be our last line of defense and he failed us,’ one of the sources on set said. ‘He’s the last person that’s supposed to look at that firearm.’

A Rust production source told The Daily Beast that there were at least two previous incidents of guns being accidentally discharged by other crewmember on set before Thursday’s tragic incident. 

The source described Gutierrez-Reed as ‘inexperienced and green’.

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