Questions of safety on the set of the film have risen since the 63-year-old actor discharged a firearm that he was told was “cold,” or unloaded, ultimately resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
While some have spoken out to suggest that working conditions were poor, Baldwin shared a message from a reported crew member on the film, backing up claims that working conditions were adequate.
“Read this,” Baldwin wrote on Instagram alongside a screenshot of a Facebook comment from costume professional Terese Davis.
“I’m so sick of this narrative. I worked on this movie. The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bulls—,” she said in her message.
Alec Baldwin shared a lengthy comment from a ‘Rust’ crew member pushing back against claims of poor working conditions on the set. (Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
“We never worked more than a 12.5 hour shoot day. That was once. Most days were under 12,” she insisted. “The Day Halyna died we had come off a 12 hour turnaround after an 11 hour shoot day.”
She explained that the crew had been released at 6:30 p.m. and “had just had a 56 hour weekend right before that,” adding that no one was “too tired” to perform their jobs.
“This is all provable by daily time sheets,” she continued. “The camera crew HAD hotels. They just didn’t feel there were fancy enough. NOT that they were unsafe. You can’t tell me that 6 big men felt so unsafe in their hotel but were fine sleeping in their cars in parking lots (which never happened) like they also claimed.”
Housing is among the issues rumored to have caused tension between crew members and producers, with some claiming they were promised hotels in Santa Fe near the Bonanza Creek Ranch where the film was shot, but were instead put up in Albuquerque.
“They were given hotels,” she claimed. “Half of them didn’t use them even when the hotels were nicer because we were getting off so early each night.”
In a follow-up post, Davis railed against claims that the commute to the provided hotels was long, claiming that crew members were not traveling the full distance between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
The shooting took place on the set of the film near Santa Fe. Crew members reportedly complained about the commute, housing and more. (Reuters)
“They tried to renegotiate their contracts halfway through the show and hold the producers over a barrel by walking out,” she said in reference to a walkout that happened ahead of the shooting. “They literally said they deserved more money and NICER hotels than the rose of the crew because they were BETTER than the rest of the crew.”
“These guys are not heroes,” Davis stated. “They only cared out themselves.”
She then said that producers “worked tirelessly alongside” their employees and “were some of the most approachable and warm producers I’ve ever worked with.”
“Concerns were heard and addressed. Even these camera jerks were being heard and they were given what they asked for many times until it became too much,” the costume professional said. “Some of these producers waived their entire fees to make this movie and pay for things like hotels for everyone who asked.”
Davis explained that “several” of the producers who gave up their fees did not have back-end deals, which means they would not make additional money off of the film based on box-office performance. Such producers “worked longer hours than the crew and they did it for free,” she said.
“We had a union rep. He finally told production not to give in to the camera crew because they were not demanding things the union does NOT require and they were trying to renegotiate a contract halfway through shooting…it’s called negotiating in bad faith,” she continued. “The production was given permission to hire off the union overflow list for some of the camera crew the next day.”
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died after being hit by a projectile from an accidental firearm discharge. (Mat Hayward/Getty Images for AMC Networks)
Davis then explained that in Georgia, only fees are required to join the union with no experience requirement. However, she said that in New Mexico, where the film was shooting, those waiting to join the union are put on an overflow list and must work a certain number of days on a union production before they become eligible to join.
“Every ‘non-union’ person hired on this show was from that list,” she claimed. “And we had union approval to hire them.”
Davis then addressed the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, whose experience has come into question. Davis said Gutierrez-Reed “had apprenticed to a well known armorer and had been in the same position on the same type of movie a few months before.”
The crew member admitted that Gutierrez-Reed isn’t “the most experienced person” but insisted that her qualifications were “typical” for their production.
“We all had a first and second job at one point or another,” she said. “How do you suggest producers and UPMa sort out the people worth giving that show to from the people who just look good on their resume and have great references? Because Hannah had both.”
She added that “accidental discharges” are “more common thank you think,” seemingly referencing reports of three prior accidental discharges on-set.
“And the guns were checked immediately afterwards and the discharges were announced on set and apologized for (I was right there),” Davis continued.
Director Joel Souza was also struck by the projectile. He is currently recovering from his injuries. (Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
She then addressed claims that there were little to no safety meetings held on set, claiming they had “several” such meetings, “sometimes multiple per day.”
“Our [assistant director, Dave Halls] never seemed flippant about safety,” she said in regards to claims that he wasn’t following certain protocols on set. “He may have in other shows, but he wasn’t like that on ours. Obviously he screwed up majorly that day. He was stressed because the camera walkout had us an hour and a half behind and he made the most horrible call he could make.”
She added that she feels “heartbroken and furious” that Halls would make such a call and said she’ll never forget the sound of the gunshot “or my director’s screams.”
“My friend is dead. Am I angry with [Halls]? Yes,” Davis wrote. “But I won’t jump on the bandwagon and pretend that he was uncaring about our safety the whole way through.”
Davis said she’s approached producers and asked why they haven’t spoken out in their defense more. According to the costume professional, producers said they want to keep the focus on Hutchins and to allow time for the crew “to grieve and recover.”
“They said there will be time to defend their reputations later. That it’s not important to do that right now, it’s important to make sure the crew is okay,” she called.
Furthermore, she insisted that the producers on the indie pic didn’t see the crew members “as walking dollar signs.”
“They cared about us while we all worked together and they continue to care,” Davis insisted. “They continue to call to check up on the crew. They continue to pick up the phone for any of us who call them. They’re people.”
Next, Davis revealed that she’s an advocate for better working conditions based on her own personal experience, but said that the shooting was not an issue of work conditions, but “gun safety.”
Davis said that if she could do anything differently, she’d “learn more of the protocols and call them out if I saw they weren’t followed. I’d ask to see the fun cleared if it was about to be handed to an actor and I [hadn’t] seen the proper procedure followed. I’d call out an [assistant director] who was handing a gun to an actor. Not because that’s my job, but because I never want to lose someone I love to this again.”
Alec Baldwin was handed the firearm by assistant director Dave Halls, who believed there was no ammunition loaded, according to law enforcement. (IMDB | Getty)
In Hutchins’ name, Davis said she’d advocate for better gun safety on movie sets, going so far as to say she’d fight to keep live guns off of movie sets altogether.
“But I’m not okay with using [Hutchins] to be the poster child for better hours,” Davis continued. “We had exactly the kind of hours we all say we want.”
She again stuck up for the “non-union” employees and pointed out that she and her fellow crew members are trying to grieve and cooperate with an investigation rather than the media.
“Maybe you could remember what it’s like to work on a tightly knit indie set and realize that those producers are just as wrecked over this as the crew is,” she concluded. “Maybe you could just not be one more person with a pitchfork in a mob that has no idea what you’re talking about because YOU WEREN’T THERE.”
Fox News has reached out to Davis, representatives for “Rust” and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) for comment.