Rust assistant director Dave Halls blasted over 'gun safety lapses'

Rust assistant director Dave Halls – who gave Alec Baldwin loaded pistol that killed cinematographer – ‘ignored gun safety protocols on previous production and was accused of being too “touchy” with staffers’

  • Prop maker and pyrotechnician Maggie Goll released a statement to CNN about Rust’s production assistant Dave Halls 
  • According to court documents, Halls was the one who handed the loaded gun to Alec Baldwin that accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins 
  • Goll claimed that Halls ignored gun safety protocols on the set of Hulu’s Into the Dark as he never held meetings or properly advised crew members 
  • She also claimed that another crew member told her that Goll made them uncomfortable as he would get very ‘touchy’ with them
  • She made the complaints to Blumhouse Productions and Director’s Guild of America about Halls’ behavior but claimed nothing had been done about it

The assistant director on Rust has been accused of making a string of gun-safety gaffes on a prior production – and was also said to have made staff feel uncomfortable with his ‘touchy’ behavior.   

Complaints against Dave Halls were made by prop maker and pyrotechnician Maggie Goll after working on him on a previous production with him on Hulu in 2019 called Into the Dark.

In Goll’s statement to CNN, she claimed that Halls never addressed weapon safety protocols in production meetings or when a firearm was to be used on the set.

Goll also said that she was told to ‘watch out’ for him by another crew member as Halls apparently tended to get touchy with them.

His on-set behavior may have cost the life of Hutchins after he was identified as the crew member who handed Alec Baldwin, 63, the loaded gun that killed the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, according to court documents. 

Dave Halls, the production assistant for Rust, was accused of ignoring gun protocols on former film sets and being ‘touchy’ with crew members in a statement made by prop master and pyrotechnician Maggie Goll

According to court documents, Halls was the one who had handed Alec Baldwin the loaded gun that accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

In reference to her experience on Into the Dark, Goll said she had worked with Halls between February to May of 2019 where he had neglected to hold production meetings to follow standard weapon safety protocols.

Those stipulate that any weapon being used on a set – real or fake – must be ‘introduced’ to the cast and the crew so that they are aware of its presence, and can follow other safety protocols. 

‘The only reason the crew was made aware of a weapon’s presence was because the assistant prop master demanded Dave acknowledge and announce the situation each day,’ Goll said in the statement. 

She also added that the prop master would reprimand Halls for not acknowledging the protocol.

According to her statement, the prop master would  ‘announce each day when a gun would be required on camera, the disposition of that weapon — whether it was a rubber/plastic replica, a non-firing option, or a ‘cold’ functional, but unloaded option, allowing anyone to inspect said weapon prior to bringing it to set and presenting it to the talent.’

‘The Prop Master frequently admonished Dave for dismissing the talent without returning props, weapon included, or failing to make safety announcements.’

Goll said that she had previously worked with Halls on Hulu’s anthology series Into the Dark in 2019. Actors Jimmi Simpson (left) and Kylie Rogers (right) are seen on the set in 2018

Another unnamed crew member had also said that Halls would only hold short meetings about guns as necessary, but would often question why he was holding them as he said the protocols were the same as on every other film set. 

Goll’s statement also added that a pyrotechnician was told to continue working on the set even after she had told him of a medical emergency.

‘I told him they are free to film whatever they want, but that there would be no fire or sparks, etc., until the medic, fire safety officer, and all of my crewmates were safely back on set,’ Goll added.

She also had discussed Halls’ ‘handsy’ misconduct that reportedly made other crew members uncomfortable.  

‘On my first day back on the series, another crew member told me to ‘watch out’ for Dave, saying he was too physically familiar with the crew, despite many rebuffs and complaints about unwanted and unnecessary touches.’

‘Nothing too extreme, but crew members of all genders and dispositions were being made uncomfortable by Dave’s touches to their backs, waists, shoulders, etc.’

Goll said that nothing about her complaints has been done, as far as she, knows after she made them to Blumhouse Productions and the Director’s Guild of America.

The accusations made against Halls comes after Rust set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, was also under fire for previous on-set behavior.

Set armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had set the loaded gun outside of the filming location before Halls picked it up and gave it Baldwin

Gutierrez-Reed was also claimed to have given an 11-year-old child actor a gun on the set of the Nicholas Cage film The Old Way without properly checking it

Guiterrez-Reed was claimed to have given an 11-year-old child actor a gun on the set of the Nicholas Cage film The Old Way without properly checking it, according to two production sources.

They added that she was loading blanks in an ‘unsafe’ fashion and was said to be a bit ‘careless’ with the guns.

On the Rust set, she was said to have laid out the three prop guns on a cart with Halls grabbing one of the loaded ones that was given to Baldwin.

Halls had yelled ‘Cold gun!’ after giving it to Baldwin to signal that the weapon was safe to fire.

Baldwin then accidentally shot and killed Hutchins as well as injuring director Joel Souza after he fired at the camera.

Hutchins was later pronounced dead at the UNM Hospital in Albuquerque on Thursday. 

Baldwin addressed the tragedy on Twitter Friday: ‘There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.’  

He then tweeted a Variety article titled Alec Baldwin Was Told Prop Gun Was Safe Before Fatal Shooting, Affidavit Says.

He was pictured doubled over in grief on Thursday after speaking to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department immediately following the shooting.

Meanwhile, a vigil was held in Santa Fe Saturday night to remember Hutchins, with hundreds of members of local entertainment unions showing up to pay their respects to her.  

Gun that went off in Alec Baldwin’s hands and claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins was used for off-set target practice by crew members and live ammo and blanks were stored together, sources say 

Alec Baldwin was wielding a vintage Colt pistol when it accidentally went off. It is not known who loaded the weapon and why it went off as a replacement crew was brought in the day of the incident (The gun pictured above is a vintage Colt pistol manufactured between 1873-92. While the exact model of the gun used is unknown, Rust is set in the 1880s)

 The gun that killed the cinematographer on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust had been used for target practice by crew members, sources linked to the western film’s production said. 

Multiple sources connected to the set of Rust told TMZ that the same Colt pistol that went off in Alec Baldwin’s hands, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, had been used recreationally by crew members. 

The sources claim that some crew members would go off for target practice using real bullets, and some believe a live round from those practice sessions found its way onto the set. 

Another source told TMZ that live ammo and blanks were being stored in the same area on set, offering another possible explanation as to how a bullet was fired from Baldwin’s Colt.  

A search warrant released Friday said that Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had laid out three prop guns on a cart outside the filming location, and first assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the Colt from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds. 

‘Cold gun!’ shouted Halls before handing the gun to Baldwin, using the phrase to signal to cast and crew that the gun was safe to fire for the scene, the warrant said. 

Seconds later, filming a scene inside an Old West-style church, Baldwin apparently aimed towards the camera and pulled the trigger, accidentally killing Hutchins as she filmed him, and injuring Souza, who stood behind her. 

Two production sources who previously worked with Gutierrez-Reed said this was not the first time she was involved in an incident on a movie set. 

The two sources told The Daily Beast that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had allegedly given an 11-year-old actress a gun without checking it properly while on the set of the Nicholas Cage film, The Old Way. 

‘There were a couple times she was loading the blanks and doing it in a fashion that we thought was unsafe,’ one of the sources said.

Sources on the set of Rust said the incident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins could be tied to the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed

‘She was a bit careless with the guns, waving it around every now and again.’  

Sources on the Rust set have said the fatal incident that killed Hutchins, 42, and injured Souza, 48, was a result of production failings from top to bottom. 

They added that assistant director Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin and told him it was safe, should have checked the weapon. 

‘He’s supposed to be our last line of defense and he failed us,’ one of the sources on set said. ‘He’s the last person that’s supposed to look at that firearm.’

A Rust production source told The Daily Beast that there were at least two previous incidents of guns being accidentally discharged by other crewmember on set before Thursday’s tragic incident. 

The source described Gutierrez-Reed as ‘inexperienced and green.’ 

 

Baldwin, 63, had accidentally shot Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza after he fired at the camera

Matthew Hutchins and son Andros leave a New Mexico Hotel and relocate to another location after the tragic death of wife Halyna Hutchins, who was accidentally shot by Alec Baldwin while making a western movie

Matthew attended a private memorial service for this wife with his son and Alec Baldwin, with whom he has been in contact following his wife’s tragic death

Hutchins’ husband shared a touching tribute to his wife on Twitter on Friday. Matthew Hutchins tweeted a photo of his wife and their 9-year-old son Andros on Friday captioned: ‘Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words.

‘Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family’s privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life.’

His Facebook profile picture is a photo of the couple who had been married for 16 years. His bio now reads: ‘We miss you, Halyna.’    

A private memorial was held on Friday with Hutchins and Andros in attendance as well as Baldwin. 

 The International Cinematographers Guild organized a candlelight vigil at Albuquerque Civic Plaza, as calls for measures to protect movie crew from on-set firearm-related accidents grow.

Another vigil for Hutchins is planned for Sunday from 6pm to 7.30pm at the IATSE Local 80 headquarters in Burbank.

A vigil was held in honor of Hutchins at the Albuquerque Civic Plaza on October 23

Dozens reportedly attended the candlelit vigil that was held for Hutchins

Dozens attended the vigil in Albuquerque, held candles, gave heartfelt speeches about Hutchins, and shared what a beloved member of the community she was.

‘Tonight is about Halyna. There will be plenty of time to focus on the who, on the what, on the why in the future,’ said a woman during the vigil.

‘But we have two things to accomplish tonight. The first is to comfort each other and the second is to celebrate the remarkable life of a remarkable woman that was cut short way too soon,’ she went on to say.

‘Let’s all take a moment and gather together to honor Halyna and her accomplishments and grieve together as one. Please bring your own candle, and join together for a candlelight vigil for Halyna,’ the International Cinematographers Guild had previously shared on a Facebook post.

Signs reading ‘She deserved a safe workplace!’ and ‘S.O.S Safety on sets’ were held by those who attended the vigil on Saturday.   

A change.org petition calling for Hollywood to ban the use of firearms on film sets has gathered over 10,000 signatures since it was created on Thursday.

The petition was started by Hutchins’ friend and colleague Director Bandar Albuliwi who wrote: ‘We need to make sure that this avoidable tragedy never happens again. There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century. Real guns are no longer needed on film production sets.’ 

He tweeted: ‘There’s no reason to have guns loaded with blanks or anything on set anymore. Should just be fully outlawed. There’s computers now.   

‘Kind and loving’ cinematographer killed in Alec Baldwin tragedy: Ukraine-born married mother Halyna Hutchins, 42, was raised on a Soviet military base surrounded by nuclear submarines, trained as a journalist and was tipped as a rising star in Hollywood

Sun streaming from above, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins smiles into the camera as she films herself riding off into the New Mexico desert on horseback.

This was the last Instagram post shared by the married mother-of-one before she was accidentally killed by actor Alec Baldwin when he fired a prop gun while filming a scene for an upcoming Western on a ranch near Santa Fe.

Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base ‘surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines’, Halyna, 42, had trained as a journalist and spent time in Europe working on British documentaries before making the move to Los Angeles, where she had established her career – and started a family. 


Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base ‘surrounded by reindeer and submarines’, Halyna had recently wrapped on a project in Ireland and was tipped for a bright future in Hollywood when her life was so tragically cut short. Pictured, in 2018

Her social media profiles also paint a clear image of a free-spirited, much-loved friend, many of whom have been paying tribute. Pictured, a touching post by close friend Stephanie

Remembered by friends as a ‘kind’ and ‘loving soul’, Halyna lived in Venice Beach, California, with her husband Matthew, a lawyer, and their son Andros, known affectionately as her ‘little man’ and thought to be around nine years old. 

‘Halyna loved him so much and enjoyed watching him grow into the handsome boy he is today,’ one friend wrote in a moving Instagram tribute. ‘I know she is looking after him and Matt in this horribly scary time.’

Social media photos capture a playfulness and sense of adventure, with Halloween costume parties, road trips with friends and days out exploring all lit up by Halyna’s smile. 

She was also highly regarded by her peers and had been tipped as a ‘rising star’ by other cinematographers. ‘She was somebody who was absolutely dedicated to art and integrity,’ director, colleague and friend Adam Mortimer told GMB this morning. ‘I can tell already she was going to be a genius.’ 

Halya (right) on a visit back to Kiev in December 2018. She was raised on a military base in the country and later attended the National University of Kyiv, studying International Journalism

Remembered by friends as a ‘kind’ and ‘loving soul’, Halyna lived in Venice Beach, California , with her husband Matthew, a lawyer, and their son Andros, pictured in an old Facebook photo

Baldwin, 62, was filming a scene for new film Rust when the gun went off around 1.50pm, fatally wounding Hutchins and leaving writer-director Joel Souza, 48, injured. The incident took place at at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Hutchins was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in an air ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time after. 

Souza was taken by ambulance to the Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center. He has since been released although his exact condition is unclear.

Will Stewart, Daily Mail’s Moscow correspondent, told how Halyna had worked for him in the mid-2000s. 

‘This is devastating and incomprehensible news about the death of Halyna Hutchins. She worked for my news agency from Kyiv for several years in the mid-2000s after graduating from a local university in International Journalism.

‘Halyna was involved in many stories for British newspapers and magazines, but she showed a special talent for documentaries, perhaps her first taste of film in which she went on to be so successful in America.

‘At this time while she was with us, in 2006, she was Associate Producer on a documentary for Discovery Channel on Ukrainian icon Leonid Stadnyk called World’s Tallest Man, made by British company Wild Pictures.

‘She was instrumental in Mr Stadnyk feeling at ease taking part in the documentary which focused on the problems of being exceptionally tall.

‘The film, made by leading British director Richard Denton, with former BBC Head of Documentaries Paul Hamann as executive producer, would not have happened without her.

‘Mr Stadnyk, a shy man, trusted Halyna after refusing many other film offers, and thanked her afterwards.

‘Pictures ahead of the film shows him towering over Halyna at his home in the village of Podoliantsy.

‘She later went to the US with her husband Matt and accomplished great things through her huge talent and creativity but also her relentless determination to study and learn.

‘She once told my Russian colleagues that she felt she was a perpetual student in America, but her efforts paid off and she achieved the success she thoroughly deserved.

‘It is tragic that she died in such a cruel and inexplicable way while doing the job she so loved.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Matt and their son, and Halyna’s family in Ukraine.’

Richard Denton, producer behind Shakespeare Uncovered and many films in the former USSR, said today: ‘Halyna was the most wonderful, vital, lively and positive person to work with.

‘She was friendly and enormously helpful. She handled everything from translating interviews to making Leonid’s horse move in the right direction.

‘She was completely unpretentious and incredibly professional.’

Her death was ‘senseless and stupid.’

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