Friday, October 22, 2021

Alec Baldwin

(Updated x4, last update, 10/25/2021)

Oh ... my ... God.

While filming the movie "Rust" in New Mexico, Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun that killed the cinematographer (Halyna Hutchins) ...

...  and injured the director, (Joel Souza).  

I'm guessing they were filming a tight shot of him shooting, meaning he would be aiming directly towards the camera as if the other person -  which is why those two were hit, rather than whomever he was supposed to be shooting at in the film?

Okay, so though Alec is hilarious (especially when impersonating Trump on SNL), he's also known to be a bit of a loose cannon with a violent temper -  but he's not THAT crazy, right?

Because keep in mind that the actor never loads the prop gun, and typically doesn't even check it - they trust the prop person to have loaded it correctly, with blanks.

So did the person in charge of props load that gun with real bullets - and was that an accident or-?

The articles don't say, only that it's being investigated.

The situation immediately reminded me of what happened with Brandon Lee in 1993 - Bruce Lee's son, who was shot and killed with real bullets from a prop gun while filming The Crow.  

Neither the actor, nor the person who loaded the prop gun, were charged, and Brandon's  death was ruled an accident, but many people believe otherwise.


Update: 2:24 p.m.
- International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 44 - the union for prop masters, set decorators, special effects, and set construction have announced that the prop gun Alec Baldwin fired had been loaded with live rounds - but that that prop person responsible was not a member of the union.

In fact, there were no members of Local 44 on the set/registered to the product - the production hired outside of the union.

That's never a good idea, for starters.  It's cheaper, yes, but this is an instance of where unions come in handy, you can track and trace.  Otherwise, just anyone off the street, it becomes more difficult.  


Update - 10/23/2021- 10:12

So the assistant director, Dave Halls, handed the gun - one of three on a tray - and shouted "cold gun" (which is the typical shout before blank gun is fired, because there's still an discharge/explosion that can injure if too close) -  to Baldwin - but claims that's what he was told by the armament director.

The only other things we do know is that it was low budget, and that some of the crew walked off the set earlier in the week due to working conditions - which were rumored to have been reported to the union, even though, as stated above, they did not use union members, to save money.

There are also rumors of gun safety concerns by the crew, but they have not been substantiated - and it's unclear if these concerns were actually documented somewhere before the shooting, because as stated, they were not union.

Otherwise, most of the things being complained about were typical even with union members, though now against the law - 14-hour days, extreme working conditions, etc. - it's just that it's rarely reported for fear of retaliation.  
 As mentioned in the Val Kilmer post, the director is king, even if a total asshole - and if you tell, you'll never work again.

So ... some lingering questions ...

First - was someone seriously  that unhinged and  that disgruntled with the director that they actually wanted to murder him?

Okay, that's a possibility - BUT -  just because the crew walked off the set earlier that week doesn't mean they were targeting him for murder and hit the cinematographer instead.

But there's a pretty big chink in that theory chain.

Because IF it's true that one of the crew's concerns was with gun safety - it would mean they were actually trying to warn the director, who ignored the warnings - not target him. 

But we don't know if that rumor is true, it could just be hindsight cover story - so it would take a documented grievance of lack of gun safety somewhere, dated before the shooting, to clear the crew of responsibility - which would be unlikely, since as already stated, they weren't union members. 

(**See update on this below with link - there was a report filed on October 16th of gun safety concerns**)

Also, why Alec Baldwin's gun in particular?

Because even though the scene being filmed at that moment was a tight shot of just Alec, I'm sure the overall scene didn't have his character shooting a gun at nothing - the scene likely involved gunfire between him and at least one other person, maybe more.

Now - whomever the script had him shooting at likely had their tight shots filmed at another time, maybe even be on the set, especially during COVID. 

Because what people don't know is that movies aren't filmed in order of the script.  Often, they'll film all of the scenes involving certain actors in the first six weeks, then let some finish their scenes and go home, keep some, and bring in the other actors. 

In other words, Actor A and Actor B film all of their scenes together in the first six weeks, regardless of order in the script; then Actor B and Actor C film all of their scenes together in the next six weeks and so on.  In fact, sometimes actors in the same film never even see each other if they don't have scenes together.   It's a matter of coordinating schedules - especially during COVID, this is true, to have minimal amount of actors working closely together, and for too long, on set. 

Regardless, my question is, why Alec's gun, during his tight shot VS. one of the other actors, during their tight shots, with their guns? 

Now - it's possible that Alec's scenes were just scheduled and filmed first, versus the other actors with guns in the shooting scene - and they were only a week in - and thus it just happened to be the first scene with a shot fired and thus just coincidence it was Alec's gun.

Or not - because typically, the lead actor's scenes aren't the very first scenes filmed -  the cheapest scenes which are either without actors at all, with scenery, or cheapest actors are typically filmed first  -  but as mentioned, it  does also depend on schedule coordination, especially with COVID, and the film did seem to break norms out of budget concerns.

The plot thickens and we shall see ... 

I love it how the right-leaning press is trying to find ways to blame Baldwin that don't even make sense, simply because he hilariously parodied Trump many times on SNL.  

Things like, "Alec broke the first rule of Hollywood - never point a gun at another human being."

Lol, oh bullshit - you will if the director tells you to, b'God, if you ever want to work in Hollywood again -  and clearly that's what Souza told Alec to do, aim at the camera, so  even that aspect wouldn't be Alec's fault - that aspect would be on the director, instead.

How do you think they get those close-up shots of people with guns pointing directly at the camera - you think the cinematographer and director just walks away from the rolling camera?

No, they do not - ever - the film used is too expensive.

Do you think the actor set up/directed the shot?

No, he or she did not.

Unless of course you're also Clint Eastwood, but Dirty Harry was before his directing days, and Don Siegal directed those.

Now, you may say, "Well, it's often slightly off to the left of the camera."

Erm - where exactly do you think the cinematographer and director are sitting, anyway -  directly behind the camera, one behind the other in a straight line?

No, they typically are not.

Apparently, Halyna was shot in the left chest near her shoulder, with the bullet passing through her, hitting Souza - meaning they were close together, likely with Souza was hunched behind her, on one side of the camera. 

Because the viewer lens is almost always on the side of the camera   - usually on the left, so right-handed cinematographers and directors can hold use their right hand to adjust the settings or hoist the camera  up on their right shoulder.

Now - these days, where the director stands depends on where the  attached digital side-monitor sits - it could be right, left, above, below, or centered on the middle of the camera itself, and its location is often adjusted for the shot.  


Most of the time, the digital monitor is also off to one side, like the viewer lens - which would means it would actually be safer for you to point the gun directly at the actual camera lens, rather than to either side.  

And how many scenes have we scene "Mexican stand-off" situations, where at least three people in a triangle (or circle, if more) are pointing guns at each other, shot with a wide lens, or even shot above, to illustrate the formation/situation? 

Reservoir Dogs, Quinton Tarantino

Face-Off, John Woo

Did they CGI the actors in?

I don't think so lol.

I'm pretty sure they really were all pointing actual guns at each other (supposedly unloaded or loaded with blanks). 

So don't tell ME the director never tells you to point the gun at the camera or another human being, that's total bullshit - and very odd that it's the right-wing press trying to blame Alec himself.

Now - keep in mind, there is no particular love lost from me for Alec - as I've said before, even though I think he's hilarious (especially playing Trump), I also don't understand why people keep hiring him, when he's clearly a verbally-abusive loose cannon with a violent temper, versus black-balled people like Val Kilmer or Alec's ex-wife, Kim Basinger - or need a conservator like Britney Spears, hm? ;)

(The answer to that is two-fold - not only because he's a white male, but because unlike Val Kilmer, as long as he doesn't verbally or physically abuse/likely ass-kisses the directors and makes them laugh - but other than that, we don't know why.)

I'm just saying, despite his violent temper, in this particular situation, having just a little bit of knowledge about how movies are filmed (having been in one myself at age 11), he is actually the least likely person to be guilty of the crime, rather than an accessory victim of it.

That doesn't rule him out, I'm just saying he actually carries the lowest probability of guilt for the crime, knowing how films work.  


Updated 10/23/201 - 3:31

Okay, so a couple of my questions above may have just been answered.

Because indeed there was an actual documented report filed regarding gun safety concerns on October 16th, after 2 accidental fires  - NOT involving Alec Baldwin - in fact, 5 days before Alec shot Halyna and Joel.

(The articles do not mention more details about who shot those 2 "accidental firings," actors or crew).

Now, as I said above. earlier today, if a report was filed substantiating the crew complained about gun safety before the walkout or as part of the walkout - it would mean that most of the crew actually tried to warn the director of a problem, but he ignored them - which would be a big chink in the "the crew dunnit" theory chain.

(Of course, that doesn't rule out the possibility that one lone crew member was mental.)

Also, the question above about why Alec's gun versus others doing tight shots with guns in the scene may have just been answered - because, in fact, there was filming with shots fired going on at least 5 before Alec's shot his scenes, also with firing problems. 

So now the question becomes whether or not Alec Baldwin was aware of the two previous accidental firings by the others before him or not, before he shot?

If Alec was aware of these two accidental firings last week by others, then yes, he would be at least partially responsible for not rechecking his own gun/having his gun checked for live rounds first, despite what the assistant director said. 

If he wasn't aware - and I'm going to say there's a 95% chance no one told the big-name actor about gun problems a week before he filmed his scenes, for fear of scaring him away from the project lol - then no, he isn't responsible.

In that case, if those two accidental firings on the set were before he arrived and filmed his scenes, and no one told him, then the director,  the assistant director (who handed the gun to him and shouted "cold gun"), and whichever prop person loaded the weapon would all be liable/held responsible, whether intentional or not. 


UPDATE 10/25/2021

So the 2 reported/documented "accidental firings" prior to Alec's arrival were NOT used in prior scenes filmed - they were used in target practice.

Thus, the chance this was really was an accident is still on the table - but so is the chance that it wasn't an accident - neither can be ruled out, at this point.

Regardless, if I was the director, I would put a ban of live rounds anywhere on my set - not because I don't believe in the right to bear arms, because I do - but to prevent the possibility of something like this happening, because these guns are NOT meant to be used for self-defense, hunting, or as target-practice toys between scenes, they're meant to be used as props only.

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