Alec Baldwin Movie set Gun situation question

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by DaleClark, Jan 30, 2023.

  1. Quakerism

    Quakerism Ain’t there nothin sacred anymore?

    Location:
    Rural Pennsylvania
    I can’t believe an actor as experienced as AB didn’t at one time learn basic firearm safety rules. Two in particular. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using. He failed on both of those and it cost someone their life.
     
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  2. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Baldwin is a stubborn guy -- some call him arrogant -- and he's been very outspoken about the incident and what he perceives as his innocence from day 1. I think he contributed to the situation by being a producer on a film that hired a cheap crew, didn't have enough rehearsal time, and didn't have a qualified armorer and a prop person on set. It was a 21-day scheduled shoot, and that's kind of a rush to do a $7 million dollar picture. I would say 4-6 weeks would be more typical. When they don't have enough time, things start slipping through the cracks.
     
  3. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    There are "hot heads" and remote heads and stuff like that, but this was a very simple situation that didn't require it. Even on movie sets where they have Scorpio heads and all that stuff, they don't use them for simple indoor shots -- they use them for complex moves all over the place, out a window, up to a roof, that kind of thing.

    What's baffling to me is 1) how a live round could get into the chamber, 2) why they weren't checking more carefully, and 3) why there wasn't protective glass between the camera and the gun. Quentin Tarantino is known as kind of a wild man, but he never, ever has gun accidents on set. (They did have a car accident with Uma Thurman, but that's a different issue.) Tarantino was actually quick to use CGI gunfights, because it was faster to set up and shoot -- I saw quite a bit of green screen in Inglourious Basterds, particular gun wounds on people's faces, stuff like that.

    No, actually if you read the articles, the DP asked Bladwin to turn the gun directly into the lens, which he did. He wasn't aiming at a person -- the people happened to be standing behind the camera and got hit when the gun (which wasn't supposed to be fired yet) went off. The real problem was that a live round got put in a gun, which is dangerous beyond belief.

    If actors had to check their guns before every single take, it'd take 6 months to shoot a movie like that. They're supposed to hire people who check the guns, then hand them to the actors. That was the big mistake that was made.
     
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  4. Bruce Racket

    Bruce Racket Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC
    I have to disagree if the actor plans to point the firearm at another human and pull the trigger. It only takes a couple seconds to check and see if a firearm is loaded with live ammo. If that takes too much time or is too complicated for an actor, then they have no reason using a real firearm.
     
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  5. Quakerism

    Quakerism Ain’t there nothin sacred anymore?

    Location:
    Rural Pennsylvania
    There’s another simple safety check that could have been done and it would have taken a few seconds. The gun is supposed to be loaded with dummy rounds. The armorer could have test fired the gun into an unloading station or bullet trap before it was handed to the assistant director.

    For that matter, there can be an unloading station/bullet trap on set for when dummies are used.

    Isn’t it possible to have armorers wear a body cam and document on video the loading of each gun. That video evidence could have been valuable in this case.

    And have a second person - an assistant armorer visually double check each firearm placed onto the set. Not someone who doesn’t even know the names of the parts of the gun…a certified armorer.

    AB’s got an easy defense. It was the armorer and the assistant directors fault. The counter to that is….he was making the film on the cheap, cutting corners, encouraging people to shortcut safety measures in order to speed up production and hired inexperienced unqualified people.
     
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  6. Rich-n-Roll

    Rich-n-Roll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington State
    Brandon Lee remember him
     
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  7. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia

    maybe @Vidiot can confirm but my sister works in the industry and says there are armorers that will yell at you and take the gun back to their station and recheck it if the actors start messing with the guns after they are handed them for use
     
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  8. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    Yes, but this appeared to be preparation for a close-up shot intended to look right down the barrel of a revolver. If so, there's no pointing the gun slightly to the side to get the shot the director wanted.

    Again, the crux is how live ammo got onto the set. Alec Baldwin's celebrity seems to be skewing the actual debate.
     
  9. Quakerism

    Quakerism Ain’t there nothin sacred anymore?

    Location:
    Rural Pennsylvania
    Yes, apparently so. And if I could put myself in their shoes…I can see the wisdom of not letting an actor mess with the gun last. I get that. Lots of things are happening at once I assume. But correct me if I’m wrong, some armorers do have actors they trust to check for themselves and demonstrate to others that the gun is safe. Otherwise we wouldn’t have other prominent actors criticizing AB for not doing that.
     
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  10. Quakerism

    Quakerism Ain’t there nothin sacred anymore?

    Location:
    Rural Pennsylvania
    I agree an important aspect is how the live round got on set and into the gun. But it is also a violation of common sense safety rules to have people immediately in the path of the muzzle whether it for a tight shot or just inadvertent. The remote camera seems like an excellent option to me. There is no way I’d sit behind a camera and have a gun pointed in my direction.
     
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  11. shokhead

    shokhead Head shok and you still don't what it is. HA!

    Location:
    SoCal, Long Beach
    I still want to know where did the live rounds come from. No live rounds and this never happens. Zero reason for live rounds to be on the movie set.
     
  12. somnar

    somnar Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC & Amsterdam
    And they use real guns why? The dumbest f$#king thing you can imagine.
     
  13. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia

    there are some actors that apparently the industry knows will have it in their contract if they are using firearms either they get to check after handed the weapon while the armorer stands there with them or the armorer has to directly show the actor the gun is loaded properly. i think christopher walken was one person she said its known they will have this in a contract and the armorer has no issues with that
     
  14. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia

    blame game. one person said the live rounds were brought it when the armorer broke protocol and allowed the guns to be used for target practice. i think the armorer is saying the manufacturer mixed in live rounds. either way none of that is an answer as the armorer is supposed to check all of that
     
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  15. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nevada
    Because real firearms can handle a blank round, which gives you the recoil, flame, and smoke of the real thing. And because actors pointing their finger and say "pew pew" isn't going to cut it when suspending disbelief.
     
  16. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    It's already been established that the film industry has learned out to completely and convincingly fake it, and even old-school purists like Quentin Tarantino have moved away from functioning guns on set. What's ultimately unthinkable is why there was any live ammo at all on set. IMHO that's the real question. Everyone involved is pointing fingers here and there, but someone brought live ammo onto a movie set where guns would be fired on camera. WTF.

    dan c
     
  17. somnar

    somnar Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC & Amsterdam
    In a world where we can - I'll use an oldie but a goodie - put a man on the moon, someone can certainly come up with an option that would do the trick. I mean, you don't really believe that do you?
     
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  18. audiomixer

    audiomixer As Bald As The Beatles

    CGI has come a long, long way in post production.
     
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  19. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    Again I'd defer to @Vidiot, who's in the biz and has probably seen dozens or hundreds of movie sets using prop guns. From what I've seen of the long and often arduous process of filmmaking, actors act. They have lines, expressions, marks to hit, etc. They get into a headspace and all that. That's their job. Gun owners are all calling out " you always check your gun!" blah blah. Yeah, in real life. Movie sets aren't "real life," and that's why there's supposed to be processes and professionals involved before the actor is handed the prop gun. I don't believe for one second that it was Baldwin's job to go all amateur armorer and do a gun check. They were chasing light and blocking out a scene under some intense pressure to get it done.

    dan c
     
  20. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nevada
    Agreed, no reason to have live ammo on the set. Using non functioning firearms is fine until you want to capture the look of it going off. That requires a blank, which requires a functioning gun. CGI, sure, but that's expensive and a relatively recent option.
     
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  21. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nevada
    Okay, what is that option? If it existed, it would certainly be used, no?
     
  22. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nevada
    Expensive and not part of every movie budget. WAY more money than a simple blank, which has worked just fine for decades. Bringing live ammo on the set is the issue, not the use of blanks.
     
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  23. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    That is either the epitome of stupidity or complete arrogance, you can choose?

    Either way, it doesn't look good. His story is very fluid.

    One can almost excuse comments that were uttered in the heat of the moment. It is a bit different when this becomes habitual.

    This guy is not a newbie. He is seasoned Hollywood. He has "people". The first thing he would be told, in no uncertain terms, is to shut his pie hole.

    Evidently... But technically, maybe not? A "Producer" is not in charge of the set anymore than an actor would be.

    I would think that the Director would be the one placed in charge of the set and production.

    The court failed to convict John Landis. The Director, Joel Souza, could possibly be charged, if he was found to be operating the production with gross negligence and disregard for safety.

    Was the armorer a card carrying union professional?

    I personally have a problem with this "unqualified" part. Admitting, that I don't know of her actual experience, are they really going to hire someone as an "armorer" that is not qualified? I would think hope not?

    At 24 years-old and having a father that was also an experienced armorer, I would think she would have ample training by that age?

    Depends? It was an indie production. With this modest budget, it would suggest that it was a quick and dirty production.

    A 21-day scheduled shoot is not unreasonable for that budget. Obviously, they were instituting cost cutting measures even then.

    A lot would be dependent on the script. Has anyone seen the script? How complicated of a production was it? Seems like a very basic production? What kind of daily records were being kept?

    I think there is more to it than initially meets the eye.

    From the very beginning, knowing it was a period western, they would be using single action hand guns. These simply do not go off by themselves, unless they are dropped with a round under the hammer. No one would put a live round under the hammer of a gun like this.

    The gun was deliberately cooked (hammer manually pulled back) and the trigger was pulled. Or the trigger was pulled and held while the hammer was pulled back and then released. Nothing else would be possible.

    This is the weapon that was used.

    [​IMG]

    There is no way a live round was "accidently" put in this single action hand gun.

    Armorer, Gutierrez-Reed has made claims that she wasn't on set at the time of the shooting and was unaware that a gun would be on-set.

    Who knows how true this would be?

    The record has her loading three guns and placing them on a cart. The AD, David Halls, was the one who handed the gun to Baldwin.

    He has already accepted misdemeanor a plea deal in exchange for his testimony.

    Being that this was a 21-day shoot, how could she not be aware of what was going to be shot that day?

    This would be clearly part of the daily call sheets which would detail any props that would be required for the shoot.

    Still, did she admit in a statement that she was the individual who loaded the gun? Were there any witness to her doing this??

    Apparently, the way the production was being run, it appears that she was not in clear sight and had no hands-on custody of the firearm after she would have loaded it. This is very problematic.

    Could we say for certain that another individual could have had the opportunity to place a live ammo round in the weapon without her knowledge?

    Baldwin's double was reported to have discharged an unloaded firearm twice, the day or two before.

    Would this not send up a red flag?

    Here is a larger photo of the gun.

    [​IMG]

    The hammer in this photo is either in the fully cooked position or it is being placed in that position.

    There is no way, that live ammunition is accidentally loaded into this type of gun.

    In order to load it, the hammer would have to be pulled halfway back, into the half cooked position.

    This would permit the cylinder to be rotated clockwise.

    Before you load thus weapon, you would first rotate the cylinder six or more times to make sure that all of the cylinders are empty.

    This would be done with the hatch that covers the cylinders is in the open position, as in the previous photo.

    Then you would need to hold the firearm with one hand place the round into the cylinder with the other hand. This would be done one cartridge at a time.

    Looking at this illustration again.

    [​IMG]

    Very clearly, you can see that a dummy round does not have a primer in it. It does not have an explosive charge. Therefore, it is lighter and the balance of weight is different.

    A dummy round might be placed on an ammo belt where the bullet end would be visible to the camera. It would also be used in a shot where the camera can see the actor loading his gun.

    The blank is just a cartridge with a primer. There is no bullet on the front of the cartridge.

    You are either clearly loading a blank cartridge into the chamber or you are not. There is no mistaking this!

    The first bullet that would be fired us the first bullet that is loaded into the gun.

    After that first cartridge is loaded, the cylinder is rotated clockwise to the right one click. This brings the next cylinder into alignment to the loading position. This would be done five times.

    This would leave the sixth cylinder empty. You would then hold back the trigger, while you pull the hammer slightly back and then lower it back down against the gun, and release the trigger.

    Baldwin was issued a supeona for his cell phone. He surrender it a month later.

    So many details...

    One thing remains perfectly clear, loading the gun with a round of live ammo was not an accident!

    While the firearm was discharged during a rehearsal, it looks like they were prepared to shoot the actual scene. The firearm would have been discharged at this point in time.

    Someone had intended for the gun to discharge a live round.
     
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  24. Matthew Tate

    Matthew Tate Forum Resident

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia

    how did the gun get on set and she didn't know it would be? aren't they locked up and the armorer is supposed to have the only key? my sister said the armorer is considered the "god of the guns" on the set and some armorers if hey see you even near where the guns are locked up will get the director or producer to instruct whoever was near it that they aren't to be near there again
     
  25. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    Wait. So now it's a conspiracy theory? Someone wanted to kill a cinematographer and hatched an elaborate plan to sneak a live round into a prop gun? Seriously? Why are we going there?

    It was a cheap movie on a super-tight schedule, they hired an inexperienced/inexpensive crew – including the all important armorer on her first job, apparently – some bozos reportedly thought it was be fun to shoot firearms with real ammo on break (though this is disputed), leading to real ammo lying around on set that an inexperienced and careless armorer under stress didn't catch.... I mean, there are so many real scenarios here leading up to this tragic event. Some murder/mystery conspiracy isn't really necessary, is it? The truth will eventually come out in the wash. In the meantime, I'm betting money working firearms on movie sets will be a distant and unthinkable memory within less than a decade.

    dan c
     

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