Saturday, October 23, 2021

Toldja So


(CNN) An assistant director handed Alec Baldwin a prop firearm and yelled "cold gun" before the actor fired and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, according to a court document.

The "cold gun" remark was meant to indicate that the weapon did not have live rounds, according to an affidavit for a search warrant for the movie set filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office and obtained by CNN affiliate KOAT.
According to the affidavit, Baldwin was handed one of three prop guns by assistant director David Halls that were set up in a cart by an armorer.
    Halls did not know there were live rounds in the gun, the affidavit said.

     But when the actor fired the gun, a live round hit Hutchins, 42, in the chest and wounded Souza, 48, who was nearby, according to the affidavit.

      Hutchins was pronounced dead at the hospital after being airlifted, the affidavit says.
      Before Thursday's shooting, some crew members quit the production over concerns related to safety -- including gun inspections, according to the Los Angeles Times and other media reports.
        Three crew members who were on the set last weekend told the Times there were two accidental prop gun discharges before Thursday.
        The rounds were accidentally fired October 16 by Baldwin's stunt double after he was told the gun was "cold," two of the crew members, who witnessed the discharges, told the newspaper.

         "Cold guns" aren't supposed to be loaded, particularly during rehearsals, a weapons expert told CNN on Friday.

        "You have to make sure that the weapon is truly cold, which means there should have been no rounds in there, period. And especially if it's a rehearsal," Bryan Carpenter, an armorer and weapons master in the film industry, told CNN.
        Carpenter added that while it's acceptable for some actors to want to get a feel of a weapon during rehearsals, it's crucial to ensure the prop guns are not filled with any rounds. He noted that weapons on sets should be confirmed "cold" by two people to avoid such tragic incidents.

        Prop department weapons handler fucked up. She'd better be retaining counsel, because she'll likely be tried for involuntary manslaughter and looking at 18 months in prison, under NM criminal statutes.

        And she's going to die on welfare after losing everything she owns, for life, in the civil suit.

        Incident details:

        (L.A. SlimesThree crew members who were present at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set on Saturday said they were particularly concerned about two accidental prop gun discharges.

        Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was “cold” — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks — two crew members who witnessed the episode told the Los Angeles Times.

        “There should have been an investigation into what happened,” a crew member said. “There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”

        A colleague was so alarmed by the prop gun misfires that he sent a text message to the unit production manager. “We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” according to a copy of the message reviewed by The Times.

        Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was huddled around a monitor lining up her next camera shot when she was accidentally killed by the prop gun fired by Baldwin.

        The actor was preparing to film a scene in which he pulls a gun out of a holster, according to a source close to the production. Crew members had already shouted “cold gun” on the set. The filmmaking team was lining up its camera angles and had yet to retreat to the video village, an on-set area where the crew gathers to watch filming from a distance via a monitor.

        Instead, the B-camera operator was on a dolly with a monitor, checking out the potential shots. Hutchins was also looking at the monitor from over the operator’s shoulder, as was the movie’s director, Joel Souza, who was crouching just behind her.

        Baldwin removed the gun from its holster once without incident, but the second time he did so, ammunition flew toward the trio around the monitor. The projectile whizzed by the camera operator but penetrated Hutchins near her shoulder, then continued through to Souza. Hutchins immediately fell to the ground as crew members applied pressure to her wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

        The person in charge of overseeing the gun props, known as the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, could not be reached for comment. The 24-year-old is the daughter of veteran armorer Thell Reed and had recently completed her first film as the head armorer for the movie “The Old Way,” with Clint Howard and Nicolas Cage.

        One and a half movies, followed by one and a half years in prison for manslaughter.

        So when she gets out of prison she'll only be about 27, and can still get a job at Starbucks. But she'll never work in Hollywood, and she'll never handle another weapon legally for the rest of her life. Getting somebody killed because you were careless is a tough way to learn weapon safety. Bummer for her, but life is tougher when you're stupid.

         In talking about her training, Reed told the podcast hosts loading blanks in prop guns was "the scariest" thing to her, because she didn't know how to do it ... but it was something her dad had helped her work through.

        There ya go: prop fuck-up during a rehearsal, on a low-budget shoot, with an inexperienced weapons handler.

        (Thell Reed, BTW, is 78 years old, and worked in Hollywood since at least the 1950s, starting with Gunsmoke. When he was a teenager. Obviously, some skills aren't hereditary.)

        Unless some fantastical new angle comes out, kids, what say let's just assume that if I blog something, I probably know exactly WTF I'm talking about until proven otherwise?

        It's fun for me, but peeling your face off the brick wall has got to be painful for some folks out there eager to jump on the "Punk Baldwin" bandwagon.

        He's a producer on the movie, so though not morally nor legally culpable personally, he's going to be ass-raped in civil court by the victims/families of. He's effectively done. At his age, you don't bounce back from this, and 50/50 this movie never gets finished.



        a posse ad esse said...

        Honest question...
        Years of accident free movies notwithstanding, why isn't the actor one of those two people (or just the last person of three) to verify that the gun is cold, either by physically checking it themselves or by observing the prop master as he checks it? They are, after all, the one with their finger on the trigger and God knows they learn all sorts of for other skills for the roles they play so it isn't like that would be hard. It seems like the least they could do if taking a role that requires handling real weapons is to learn how to make sure the weapon is safe before you fire it.
        Also, perhaps a more relevant question: does the excuse "these two experts told me it wasn't loaded" fly in any other profession? I don't think cops or gun store owners or professional hunters (or even your average Joe) get that luxury, so why do actors?

        Anonymous said...

        I was taught to check every weapon ever handed to me, myself. never take anyone word on it.
        and in the army we always checked our weapons as we got them and before turning them back in.
        only a fool takes someone else word about any weapon.

        Welcome Black Carter said...

        Bottom line, someone pulled the trigger when they were not supposed to. But it's Baldwin, so they will call it "accidental discharge". I doubt what they are repeatedly calling "live round" is an actual lead projectile bullet.

        Anonymous said...

        So the "armorer" was a twofer - female AND a legacy. What could possibly go wrong?

        I think we know the answer to that question.

        Divemedic said...

        Exactly. "I thought it wasn't loaded" is NEVER a valid excuse. If the act or job you are doing requires you to violate some of the 4 rules, it is up to you, the person handling the weapon, to verify that it isn't loaded. If you don't, then you shouldn't point it at people and especially shouldn't touch the trigger.

        Wayne said...

        Baldwin is morally and legally culpable. Go to and read Attorney Andrew Branca’s analysis. He was certainly negligent, not enough info yet to say whether he was legally reckless.

        Aesop said...

        Did you read the prior two posts?
        Did you think I was exaggerating when I said "Actors are idiots"?
        Do you still?

        You keep trying to drag reality into fantasy.

        Can you really not conceive that literally nothing on a set is intended to be real, and only becomes so when there's a massive series of cock-ups, like this?

        Do you really think no one depends on everybody else when they do their job?
        When was the last time you saw an airline pilot pulling an engine?
        Which Indy, NASCAR, or F1 driver checked the torque on the lug nuts during a pit stop? Which ones do the tune ups between races?
        How many surgeons load the instrument trays into the sterilizer, and sharpen the blades?
        How many times, do you suppose, the admiral has crawled around the bilge, or catapult machinery, or the reactor spaces, on his carriers?
        Which pitchers count stitches on the baseballs? Which manager supervises the grounds crew chalking the lines?
        Hint: None of that ever happens.
        Everybody of any import depends on other people to do their job, so they can do their own.
        Actors have that literally rubbed into their faces, every minute of every day, from the minute they climb into the makeup chair, to when the driver drops them off at the end of the day.

        You depend on someone to maintain the elevators at work; you don't climb behind and check the cables. You expect the lights and plumbing and AC to work, but you don't change the bulbs or change the filters, or plunge out the clogged toilet, unless you work in a one-person office. Even then, you don't climb cell phone and telephone towers to check the lines. You probably don't vacuum the carpets, stock the vending machines, or empty the trash. You might pump your own gas, but you don't fix the pumps, or drive the truck, or change your own transmission, for about 98.9% of any value of "you".

        And if something goes wrong, that doesn't make it your fault.

        For what went wrong
        1) Someone had to jackassically criminally LOAD a live round.
        2) No one double-checked it.
        3) Then it was placed on a prop cart, misloaded and unchecked.
        4) Then it was handed out as "cold", when it was actually "hot".
        Anywhere in that chain, the link could've been broken, and would have resulted in nothing but a dumbass "Oops!" look.

        Instead, someone is dead, and someone is wounded, and literally the lives of the entire crew, and the victims' families, will be changed forever.

        An "accident" is when something happens that would be unexpected.
        this sort of royal clusterfuck is exactly what I would expect to happen, when someone so incompetent and inexperienced is put in charge of what literally turned out to be other people's lives.
        I hope she gets charged, tried, and convicted, and does every day of that 18 months. It's about 50 years too little for the crime that occurred, but it's a start.

        Hollywood is the only industry where CEO is an entry-level job, but the crafts - when it's a union shop, which this was not - overwhelmingly weed out the biggest fuckups, because that's what saves lives.

        There's a reason firearms were the first safety bulletin to be written and codified: because every jasper on the planet thinks he's Billy The Fucking Kid and Annie Oakley when it comes to weapons and safe handling.

        That's why Hollywood demands that you do checks, and double checks.
        When you don't do that, people die.

        bachelorguy said...

        Here's a guy teaching gun safety.

        Aesop said...

        @Welcome Black Carter,

        Wrong. And the round penetrated one person fatally, and then wounded a second. Sounds like a pretty live round to me.
        Wrong. Neither practical, nor possible. You might as well make passengers responsible for pre-flighting the 767, and require every sailor to detail-check the entire cruiser or submarine or carrier before every cruise. Tell me how that's going to work for, say, the Abraham Lincoln or the Alabama. You keep trying to apply real-world requirements to Disneyland. I have been on the Jungle Cruise many times in my life, yet never once was I required to ascertain the seaworthiness of the boat, nor detail-strip the animatronic machinery on the elephants. But that's the level of diligence you're suggesting. Go back and look at the clips in the previous post, and tell me how that would work on, say, the Saving Private Ryan Normandy beachhead scene, or the Heat bank robbery shootout. Bearing in mind most of your extras would be 18-25 years old, with a GED or high school diploma, and with absolutely no firearms training nor experience themselves, and highly unlikely that even 1% of them had ever held a functioning weapon in their lives before that moment. Movie productions don't get boot camp, three phases of BUD/S, and a year on the Teams to gear up for a shoot day. They get a 10 minute safety briefing, because every minute you're standing around jaw-jacking, it's costing somebody $100K/hr, to $100K/minute. It would be nice if everyone on every 767 was a qualified CATP and everyone on the cruise ship was an able seamen or qualified merchant marine deck officer, but it just isn't practical.
        Wrong. Andrew Branca is talking out his ass on this one, and in court, it would be sliced off and handed to him, after which he'd permanently sit a foot lower in his chair for the rest of his life. When he makes a movie, he should try coming at this again. Anything he's said on the topic absent that perspective is something movie people would flush down the honeywagon lavatory, and about as valuable.

        a posse ad esse said...

        Since you mention pilots, yes they are required to do a walk around on the plane to look for obvious issues in a myriad of systems before every single departure precisely because they know they are the last line of defense against stupid mistakes and oversights.

        In the same vein, no one is saying the actor has to disassemble the gun to look for unusual wear or damaged parts, or check the blanks for damage, but we are saying that, just like pilots they should have to check for obvious issues...such as the presence of a live round instead of a blank...before putting the finger on the trigger.

        "... the most important things to have in mind as a Pilot during the walk around of the entire aircraft is to ensure you don't spot any sort of dents/damages, Hydraulic or fuel leaks, Ice build up, Slats and flaps condition, Tail plane, lighting, wheels and gear bay including tyres, engines and sensor probes. If all appears satisfactory and normal, then pilots continue on to do their primary work in the flight deck and the commander of the aircraft can sign the walk around off in the technical log. Without this signature it is not legal to depart. Signing this means the commander accepts the aircraft based on what's already in the log book and checked by engineers and the exterior inspection adds no further remarks in it. "

        Nick Flandrey said...

        Welcome Black Carter said...

        Bottom line, someone pulled the trigger when they were not supposed to.

        --you are still missing something crucial. It was a movie set. He is the actor. He is SUPPOSED to pull the freaking trigger, and he is supposed to pull it when and where he's told, in whatever manner he's directed to do so. (assuming an event during normal scene shooting or rehearsal.)

        If he was showboating or screwing around, that's different as Aesop has pointed out many times.

        The actors HAVE to trust that people are doing their jobs, because the scene requires them to break the rules, and it's those other people's jobs to be SURE that they can be broken safely. This is true from the stunts, to gun safety, to the sets not collapsing, to physical security at the hotel, to the limos not being driven by kidnappers, to the freaking caterers keeping the food at the right temperature.

        As a Producer, when crew walks off because of safety issues, he should have been concerned, reviewed the issues, and decided if 'those other people' were in fact competent to be TRUSTED to do their jobs. He had evidence that they were NOT competent and should have acted on that. But when he's in dancing monkey mode, he does what he's told to do. ie Draw, point gun at camera, pull trigger, say line.

        More information will undoubtedly come out about whether he was rehearsing, messing around, or acting stupidly, ESPECIALLY if people want to avoid blame themselves. Notwithstanding any additional revelations, if he was told the gun was cold he should have been able to, and TRUSTED that he could, do anything with it and it would be as safe as holding a banana.


        a posse ad esse said...

        Do you doublecheck the label on the drugs you administer in the ER to make sure you're giving the right drug or do you take your equally professionally trained coworkers word for it?
        Because that's a far more apt comparison than anything you've presented thus far.

        Mike Hendrix said...

        Actors ARE dopes usually, I've known quite a few. Which, far as I know, stupidity is still not an admissible defense in court. And removing a jet engine is a mite different project in scale from pulling a slide back and taking a look yourself, just to be sure. No sane, responsible adult would find that standard onerous. But then we're right back around to the "stupid" problem again.

        Aesop said...


        Checking labels is my JOB. It's not the EMT's job, nor even my charge nurse's job, nor the unit secretary's.

        That's the difference.

        A pilot flies the plane. All he's looking for on a walkaround is fuel or fluids spurting out, or a missing wing.
        He's not the mechanic, and anything beyond cursory isn't his lookout.

        In exactly the same measure, the actor's only job with regards to firearms is to hold them correctly, i.e. by the handle, not the barrel. If it's not acting, he's not supposed to be doing that. If the scene calls for falling off a roof, he falls off a roof. If it calls for slashing at someone's throat, he does that. So you can't say "Hey, look, I *never* slash at someone's throat in real life, so an actor should never do that." It's asinine.

        Fishing and grasping at straws to make inapt comparisons won't cut it.

        Anonymous said...

        OK, but can some splain something to me? Why would there be ANY live ammo on a movie set? I can’t see where there would be a purpose for it. Especially when the stooges were handling firearms. And how the fuk could you mix the two? They look completely different?

        Jest wandering

        a posse ad esse said...

        So it's apparently a culture thing then. Like everything else they do, Hollywood culture has decided that what is good for us peasants who work outside of Hollywood is unduly tedious and expensive for them; thus checking guns is someone other than the trigger man's job.
        That this is accepted (for now) and has been thus far largely inconsequential doesn't change the fact that it goes against all standard firearm training and wisdom.
        Point being, as far as I'm concerned they should either change the culture to require that actors show the respect that firearms deserve or they should use fake guns and CGI for the actors too dumb to get it. At the very leadt, they should stop their anti gun screeching while clearly profiting off the time saved by mishandling them

        Aesop said...

        What part of "point guns at other people and pull the trigger" doesn't strike you as something you don't get to do except under unusually circumspect restrictions, and which goes against "all standard firearm training and wisdom"?

        You get that shooting an intruder in your house threatening great bodily harm also violates all of the Four Rules until you add some serious 'splainin', right?

        There should never have been ANY live ammo on set.
        Look at the weapon, pictured at the bottom of the next post.
        Without pointing it your face, there's no way to tell what's in the cylinders; it's a Civil War-era legacy cap-and-ball muzzle-loader, not a cartridge firearm. All you could see would be the caps, or lack thereof.

        a posse ad esse said...

        I suppose if Baldwin et al feel comfortable putting said gun against their own head and pulling the trigger without supervising the process of loading it, then I'll concede the point. I'd be curious to see if their trust truly extends that far but I'd be gleeful if one of the fuckers found out the hard way that it shouldn't.

        Shitz Popinoff said...

        The weapon was undoubtedly a single action colt 45, and whether is was to be loaded with blanks(crimped tip very obvious as to what they are) or dummy rounds so as to appear loaded(while one of these may have caused the untimely demise of Brandon Lee, I find it a stretch that a round left in the barrel projected by a blank would carry enough velocity and energy to fatally kill one, then pass through into another person) there would be absolutely no reason for any 45LC rounds to be present on set. All that aside, the fact of the matter is AB is a tool, and as Aesop has so succinctly(sic) stated, an actor is there to act exactly as directed, while trusting in his support crew to follow they're procedures exactly. Whoever brought live 45LC to the set, and then put it in that gun may as well have pulled the trigger themselves.

        Old NFO said...

        FWIW, the two actual armorers I know that have worked in movies never let the guns out of their sight once they left the armory. They personally loaded the correct powder load 5 in 1s, if required, handed them to the actor just prior to the scene, and took them back immediately after the scene, unloading the guns at that time. At no time was ANY actual ammo allowed on/near any set, including in any gunbelts/etc. Those shells were always primer punched to make sure they were unfirable. The guns were never handed to a third party to 'pass' to the actors.

        Joe in PNG said...

        If one considers the fact that Hollywood is an industry where some of the dumbest, most arrogant people ever have to point deadly weapons at other humans, multiple, multiple times without accidentally killing people- and that they have a very impressive safety record- just maybe they know what they are doing.

        Aesop said...

        See the Epiphany post. It's worse than that.
        It was reportedly a muzzle-loading cap-and-ball black powder revolver, not a cartridge revolver.
        That would require leaving a live powder and ball load in one chamber, and then capping it.

        Aesop said...

        @Old NFO:
        That's exactly how you did it, if we're talking correctly.