A group of 214 cinematographers is calling for the ban of functional firearms on film sets in the wake of the “Rust” tragedy that killed fellow cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
In a letter published Tuesday and obtained by TheWrap, cinematographers and filmmakers such as Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”), Reed Morano (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Bill Pope (“The Matrix”), Edward Lachman (“Carol”) Stephen Lighthill, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, and many more said they “vow to no longer work on projects” that use functional firearms for filming purposes.
“We vow to no longer knowingly work on projects using functional firearms for filming purposes. We vow to no longer put ourselves and our crew in these unnecessarily lethal situations,” the letter reads. “We have safe alternatives in VFX and non-functional firearms. We won’t sit back and wait for the industry to change. We have a duty to effect change within the industry ourselves.”
The letter also called the killing of Hutchins on the set of “Rust” as “senseless, negligent and avoidable,” and they called on union leadership, producers and lawmakers to lead the charge for change.
Hutchins died last month when a prop gun on the set of “Rust” as held by Alec Baldwin discharged with what has been described as a “lead projectile,” killing Hutchins and injuring the film’s director Joel Souza.
Morrison, who was the first woman to be nominated for a cinematography Oscar, has previously spoken out about the tragedy by telling CNN, “this was not an accident, this was negligence.”
She’s among other filmmakers and creators like those on the cop drama “The Rookie” and “The Boys” who have said they would no longer use functional firearms on their sets. A California state senator, Dave Cortese, has drafted a bill that he aims to present to the senate calling for the ban of firearms on film sets in the state of California. And a change.org petition started in the wake of the accident similarly calling for a ban of guns on sets has now reached over 100,000 signatures since late October, and the letter in particular includes the hashtag #HalynasLaw that the petition has been pushing.
What’s more, in some of his first comments since the tragedy, Alec Baldwin noted that millions of rounds of bullets have been fired in movies and TV for decades, much of it without incident, but that he would be “extremely interested” in efforts to limit the use of firearms on sets.
Read the letter below:
Halyna Hutchins was an incredible rising-star cinematographer who passionately loved her job and cared deeply about the images she created. She was a friend, a colleague, a part of our cinematography community. Her death by shooting on Oct. 21, 2021, by a live firearm expelled on the set of the film “Rust” was senseless, negligent and avoidable.
We are Halyna Hutchins’ fellow directors of photography and we vow to not let her death be in vain.
We are calling for immediate action from our union leadership, our producers and our lawmakers to affect unified change on our behalf:
BAN all FUNCTIONAL FIREARMS on set.
We vow to no longer knowingly work on projects using FUNCTIONAL FIREARMS for filming purposes.
We vow to no longer put ourselves and our crew in these unnecessarily lethal situations. We have safe alternatives in VFX and NON-functional FIREARMS.
We won’t sit back and wait for the industry to change. We have a duty to effect change within the industry ourselves.
Halyna Hutchins was a spirited artist who would take action if this tragedy happened to a member of her cinematography community. Please honor her by signing the vow alongside us and by spreading her name.
Let us effect lasting change in her honor.
#HereForHalyna #NoFunctionalFirearms #BanBlanks
Variety first reported the news.