The media is zeroing in on Assistant Director Dave Halls as the villain in the shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. However, no matter what the media says, as the Executive Producer and the person who handled the gun, Alec Baldwin was ultimately responsible.
Baldwin should also have hired better. Halls and the armorer might bear some responsibility, but Baldwin should have checked the gun.
Given that, it sounds like Dave Halls was lacking, but it also feels like the media is looking to take the blame away from Baldwin.
The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun loaded with live ammunition that he used to accidentally kill cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was previously fired from the production of Freedom’s Path in 2019 after another accident involving a gun.
Dave Halls was on set when the weapon in that production fired unexpectedly, injuring a sound crew member who recoiled from the blast and had to seek treatment.
Freedom’s Path is still in production and is expected to be released next year. Rock Soul Studios, the company that produced the movie, fired him as a result.
The company told CNN about the incident on Monday as others in the industry lined up to trash Halls, calling him unprofessional, ‘barbaric’ and negligent.
Halls is the person named in police reports as giving Baldwin the gun loaded with real bullets or at least one live round instead of blanks.
He had allegedly picked it off of a tray which had three guns on it. Another person in charge of the weapons was Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s 24-year-old armorer whose experience has been called into question.
Halls passed Baldwin the revolver, declaring it a ‘cold gun’. The gun then fired after a ‘pop’ and Hutchins was shot in the abdomen.
Baldwin was practicing a cross draw when it went off, fatally wounding Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
It’s clear the staff didn’t like Halls and thought him abusive so it’s hard to know how much of this is gossip, but they said he yelled, drank a gallon of Vodka each day, and belittled staff.
Maggie Goll, a pyrotechnician who worked with Halls in 2019 for a Hulu series Into The Dark, told DailyMail.com that she complained to the Directors Guild of America about him after he tried to push on with filming despite a crew member having a diabetic fit.
On that same shoot, she says he “neglected to hold safety meetings.”
“Dave neglected to hold safety meetings or make announcements prior to the appearance of a firearm on set on a daily basis.”
“The only reason the crew was made aware of a weapon’s presence was because the Assistant Prop Master demanded Dave acknowledge and announce the situation each day.
“This Asst Prop Master would announce each day when a gun would be required on camera, the disposition of that weapon – whether it was a rubber/plastic replica, a non-firing option, or a “cold” functional but unloaded option, allowing anyone to inspect said weapon prior to bringing it to set and presenting it to the talent.
“The Prop Master also was extremely vigilant in reclaiming any distributed weapons prior to the talent leaving set.
“The Prop Master frequently admonished Dave for dismissing the talent without returning props, weapon included, or failing to make safety announcements.”
After the shoot, she says she filed multiple complaints with a safety line and tried to contact the Directors Guild of America but “nothing was done.”
Baldwin issued a statement on Twitter on Friday to say he was fully cooperating with the police.
Halls has not yet commented.
Alec Baldwin and the Armorer need to spend the rest of their lives in adjoining cells, but I doubt it will happen.
There is so much wrong with how “props” were handled on this movie set. Anyone who has been in the military, holds a Concealed Carry Weapons permit, and spent a lifetime learning how to fire multiple weapons (me on all three counts) knows that gun safety is paramount to everything else. None of these idiots should have been allowed anywhere near weapons of any kind. They didn’t have a clue. There were so many “near misses,” that something like this was bound to happen. And did.