HomeEntertainmentGeorge & Tammy’ Star Michael Shannon Speaks Out About Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ Shooting

George & Tammy’ Star Michael Shannon Speaks Out About Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ Shooting

by Craig Garrett
Michael Shannon
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

In a recent interview, George & Tammy star Michael Shannon gave his thoughts about the Rust shooting involving Alec Baldwin. Shannon addressed the involuntary manslaughter charge against actor-producer Baldwin following Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death in October 2021. New Mexico law dictates that Baldwin, as well as armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, are each to be charged with involuntary manslaughter. It’s a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and an accompanying $5,000 fine.

Shannon expressed his reaction to Baldwin’s accusation and also highlighted how the independent feature film Rust economized on costs. “I’m not condemning Alec,” the actor told The Chicago Tribune. “I feel horrible for the guy. It’s a nightmare,” he explained. “I feel terrible for everyone on that production. But this is what happens when you lowball and cut corners and hire people that may not be qualified, and pay them next to nothing, and make the movie on the cheap. People get jobs in this business because they’re willing to work for a low enough fee. I see it all the time.”

The reported budget for Rust was $7 million, with Alec Baldwin at the helm as one of its producers. “If it were up to the actor to determine whether a firearm is safe or not,” Shannon continued,” you wouldn’t need an armorer in the first place. Being an armorer is a hard job, a demanding job, and I have nothing but respect for them. But in this instance, it was going into the ER and finding out your doctor isn’t a real doctor.”

Michael Shannon has experience with firearms on movie sets

Shannon is making his directorial debut with the movie Eric Larue, which revolves around the consequences of a school shooting. He assured that their on-set armory was not managed in any lackadaisical manner.

“It’s very, very meticulous. On most sets, if there is any activity that’s considered potentially risky in any way, shape, or form, they start the day with a safety meeting the assistant director runs,” Shannon explained. “They go through all the possible dangerous on-camera activity, and how we’re going to handle that to make sure nobody gets hurt. That’s how the day starts. And all of the armorers I’ve worked with have been super fastidious about what they do.”

“But Rust is an example of a problem I see in filmmaking more and more these days,” Shannon added. “They cut corners, ridiculously, every which way. And they get away with it. So every time someone makes a great movie for a million dollars, it sets a precedent.”

As he was rehearsing on set, Shannon observed that actors generally don’t use actual guns and instead rehearse with a plastic gun when they block the scene. “You shouldn’t have the actual weapon in your hand until immediately before doing the take,” he explained. “Sometimes they’ll give you the actual gun to rehearse with a little closer to filming. But there’s a procedure for that. They open the barrel. The [assistant director’s] supposed to check it, the actor checks it and the armorer has checked it. All three of those people have to see there’s nothing in there. And then they hand it to you.”

Despite the legal charge against Baldwin, production of Rust will still be proceeding, with Hutchins’ widower executive producing.