A total of 25 members of the cast and crew of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust have issued a fairly lengthy statement, addressing the on-set shooting that killed Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins and injured Director Joel Souza.
The members of the film’s cast and crew issuing the statement are David Stevens, Bryan Norvelle, Terese Davis, Thomas Gandy, Roman Gandy, Anna Williams, Monica Spendlove, Stacy Lockhart, Katya Luce, Devon Werkheiser, Tim Barrera, Emily Hayes, Jaden Potts, Jiji Hise, Cathy Harrison, Daniel Ornitz, Nicole Montoya, Luke Hussack, Chee Ho, Joe Heise, Emily Price, Matt Hemmer, Imani Caldwell, Isabel Langdale, and Sweet Pea Kadis.
It is relevant to point out that the recently released statement, although allegedly issued by members of the film’s cast and crew, was actually shared on Alec Baldwin’s personal Instagram account.
The letter reassures that neither members of the cast nor the crew were influenced by any of the film’s producers, supposedly including Baldwin himself.
“To whom it may concern, ” prefaces the statement issued by members of the film’s cast and crew. “This letter is written on behalf of the cast and crew of the film production, Rust. It has not been sanctioned or influenced in any way by the producers.”
The statement also attempts to clarify some misinformation surrounding the cast and crew’s working conditions, before paying respects to Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins.
“We, the undersigned, believe the public narrative surrounding our workplace tragedy to be inadequate and wish to express a more accurate account of our experience. We are hurting from the loss of our friend and colleague, Halyna Hutchins. She was, in many ways, at the heart of our production, and losing her hurt every single one of us,” the statement continued.
It went on, “We are hurting from the loss of our togetherness, our spirit, and the loss of our labor. We are hurting for our friends that have been targeted by the public as they themselves grieve. Unfortunately, in the film industry, it is common to work on unprofessional or hectic productions to gain experience and credits.”
“Many of us have worked on those types of productions. Rust was not one of them. Rust was professional,” the letter reasserts, explaining, “We do acknowledge that no set is perfect, and like any production, Rust had areas of brilliance and areas that were more challenging.”
As stated on the letter, both crew and cast members assert that they are standing “firmly with our unions and strongly support the fight for better working conditions across our industry, we do not feel that this set was a representation of the kind of conditions our unions are fighting against. We do support any and all efforts to make film sets safer to work on for all cast, crew and working animals.”
The statement issued by the aforementioned members of Rust’s cast and crew reiterate that there is misinformation surrounding the production’s working conditions, although they do confirm that some members did quit before the Alec Baldwin shooting, confirming early reports on the incident.
“The descriptions of Rust as a chaotic, dangerous, and exploitative workplace are false and distract from what matters the most: the memory of Halyna Hutchins, and the need to find modern alternatives to outdated industry firearm and safety practices,” continued the letter.
It then confirms, “While it is true that a few crew members quit prior to the accident, the vast majority of us remained, never feeling the need to protest or quit. We were enjoying our workplace,” clarifying that “Those disgruntled few do not represent the views of all of us.”
The 25 members of the cast and crew also disclose that they were given a fair treatment regarding working hours, transportation, and housing, which was essential to keep the team’s morale high on the set of Rust.
“On Rust, our working hours and wages were fair and consistent with expectations. Twelve-hour days and turnarounds were standard and typically we worked from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bonanza Creek Ranch is a historic film set, and its location and transportation requirements were well understood by all crew members,” they explained.
Further elaborating, the cast and crew also make clear that “Housing was provided as required by the union. Payments were made, generally on time, and amounts were as agreed to, per individual or department deals,” explaining that “The working morale on set was high.”
“Laughter and optimism were common amongst cast and crew,” claims the statement, specifying that “From the director down to the production assistants, all departments worked well together, collaborating and helping each other achieve shared artistic goals.”
It further asserts, “We were aware that we were producing good work; capturing beautiful imagery and great performances, and we were proud to be doing so.” They then explained, “The work was hard, but meaningful. We were inspired by the quality of the screenplay and the performances of the cast. Halyna’s work ethic was inspiring and we were working to our highest ability to support her vision.”
“The days were scheduled tightly, but appropriately. We were keeping pace, not falling behind schedule. As a crew, we have no authority as to what happens ‘above the line.’ That is the work of the producers,” the letter then specified, adding, “But, in our experience, the producers and production managers were supportive of our efforts.”
The statement also confirms that producers “were on set daily, and engaged with the crew, sharing in the same creative process,” reaffirming that both members of the cast and members of the crew “felt that we were not just working for them, but with them.”
“They availed themselves during safety meetings to discuss any and all safety or other concerns. Please do not allow a few disgruntled employees to affect our view of the rest of us,” the letter continued, encouraging readers not to be influenced by the testimonies of disappointed former members of the crew.
The letter then proceeds to list the professions of those members of the cast and crew who penned the statement, explaining that they are professionals in department such as Accounting, Assistant Directors, Casting, Camera, Art, Props, Special Effects, Electrics, Grips, Costumes, Hair, Makeup, Sound, Locations, Medics, Animal Wranglers, Health and Safety, Transportation, Craft Services, Catering, Stunts, Construction and Production Office.
“We have worked at the highest levels in the industry and can and will be counted on to do so again,” the cast and crew stated, adding, “In the meantime, we are supporting each other and cooperating with investigators.
Before concluding, these 25 members of the cast and crew kindly request that “your speculation and generalizations about us and our colleagues be sympathetic until an investigation is concluded. We are grateful to our many friends and family that have reached out to us privately to offer compassion and support.”
It is also worth noting that the letter penned by those 25 members of the cast and crew of Rust does not mention the names of neither the film’s assistant director, David Halls, who handed Alec Baldwin the loaded gun, nor armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.
According to an affidavit filed in Santa Fe County, where the film was being shot, “David [Halls] advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds.” It added that Halls “advised he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if [Hannah Gutierrez-Reed] spun the drum.”
During his recent interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Alec Baldwin said that “When [David Halls] is saying this is a cold gun, what he’s saying to everybody on the set is that you can relax. The gun is empty,” further clarifying that “cold gun means there is no charge in there. There could be dummy rounds.”
A week after the tragic incident, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed issued a statement via her lawyer, Jason Bowles, stating that “Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced.”
At the time Bowles also declared that “Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. Hannah and the prop master gained control over the guns and she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns and nor would she permit that.”
“They were locked up every night and at lunch and there’s no way a single one of them was unaccounted for or being shot by crew members,” reassured the statement, alluding to rumours about members of the crew using the set’s firearms for target practice.
Conversely, in his interview with George Stephanopoulos, Alec Baldwin claimed that he didn’t even pull the gun’s trigger, when the host said “It wasn’t in the script for the trigger to be pulled,” the actor declared “Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger,” eventually asserting that he “would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.”
What do you make of the statement issued by members of the cast and crew of Alec Baldwin’s movie Rust? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below or on social media.