‘Rust’ Assistant Director Faced Safety Complaint Over On-Set Weapons in 2019

“Safety meetings were nonexistent,” a prop maker said of another film where Dave Halls was hired as AD

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Dave Halls, the assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust,” faced safety complaints on another set in 2019.

Maggie Goll, who made props for Hulu’s “Into the Dark” in 2019 told numerous outlets this weekend that Halls maintained an unsafe work environment on that set, where he also was hired as AD. But, Goll stressed, Hutchins’ death is not the result of one person’s actions.

“Sets were almost always allowed to become increasingly claustrophobic, no established fire lanes, exits blocked,” Goll told NBC News, and “safety meetings were nonexistent.” She also told the Guardian that Halls disregarded weapons safety protocols on that set. Halls did not immediately return a request for comment.

“Rust,” a Western film, was shooting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to the local sheriff’s department, Halls was the crew member who handed Baldwin the prop gun Thursday and declared it “cold,” which is a term used to describe a weapon that contains no live rounds. Baldwin ultimately shot the gun during a rehearsal, striking Hutchins and director Joel Souza.

According to law enforcement statements, Hutchins was shot around 1:50 p.m. Thursday local time and died of her injuries after she was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

The investigation into the deadly incident is ongoing; no charges have been filed.

Hours before the deadly shooting Thursday, a half-dozen crewmembers walked off set to protest conditions on the film after days of strife over long hours, safety issues and staff housing.

In a series of scathing comments on Facebook, crewmember Lane Luper described the working conditions on “Rust” as “absolute dog s—.”

“At the moment I’m fighting to get my crew, on this movie, hotel rooms when we go long or are too tired to drive the hour back from location to Albuquerque,” Luper, a camera operator on the film, wrote. “They either say no or offer a garbage roadside motel that’s used as a homeless shelter. In fact the line producer on the flick complained the motel she booked charges her 10 bucks more per night than the homeless. They haven’t even paid the crew a proper check.”

“The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company,” a representative for Rust Productions told TheWrap last week. “Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”