A Rust actor has come forward following the news that Alec Baldwin is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter. And based on their experiences in Hollywood, the incident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was not his fault.
TMZ had an exclusive chat with Douglas Stewart, the town father in the film. Douglas has worked on seven film side projects and multiple stage performances during his career, many of which included guns. According to him, organizations like SAG-AFTRA and Actors with Equity, which oversee productions, have strict gun protocols in place. And the actors are never responsible for ensuring that a stage weapon is cold.
“If you’re handling a gun, either the stage manager or, in the case of a film, an armorer, is in charge of handing the gun over to the actor. So the actor, in all of my experiences has never checked the gun [or] double-checked it,” he shared. “You’re not allowed to open the chamber, check the barrel, anything.”
Stewart recalled starring in Lightning Jack, a Western that gave practically every cast member a gun. He said the movie was filled with shootouts, and every actor had their own weapons handler. Before filming a scene, the handler personally gave stars a box that held the gun. Then, they would open the box and check the gun once more. Finally, the handlers would show everyone appearing in the scene that the chamber was empty.
‘Rust’ Actor Believes The Armorer and Assistant Director are to Blame
Alec Baldwin, however, is not only an actor, he is also a Rust executive producer, which means he has more responsibility. TMZ asked if his role as an EP was all-encompassing or merely a “vanity” title because that would have a bearing on the case. Stewart said that Baldwin was not a” day-to-day producer,” and he “wouldn’t have been involved in any aspect of safety.”
When asked if this incident would change how he handles gun props from now on, Stewart said, ‘no.’ The system almost always works. But he may be more diligent in ensuring that the armorers do their jobs properly.
“I will be more certainly asking the armorer again to double-check in front of everyone. And that supposedly happened that day that Alec Baldwin had that gun,” he noted. “He was given the gun, and it was given a clear…You gotta trust …the professionals. They’re the safety professionals, the armorer and the assistant director that was given that gun. To me, they’re the ones that were responsible.”
Alec Balwin is facing two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Each count carries a sentence of up to 18 months in jail, according to Variety. The Santa Fe DA also slapped him with an enhancement for use of a firearm which holds a mandatory minimum sentence of five years.
The set armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, has been charged with the same three counts.