The union’s accusation seems to be confirmed by Alec Baldwin himself. According to an eyewitness source who spoke exclusively to Showbiz411, the distraught actor kept asking why he had been given “a hot gun,” at one point saying, “In all my years, I’ve never been handed a hot gun.”
The source confirms that Baldwin discharged the gun only once. Within minutes, Joel Souza and Halyna Hutchins were rushed off the set. Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, but died before the helicopter landed; Souza was treated at a separate facility.
Could the low production values of the film have played a part in this tragedy? According to the Showbiz411 witness, “Rust” had a Tier 1 budget, meaning that the production costs were capped at just $7.5 million (via IATSE). With a budget that low, the crew was smaller than it would have been for, say, a Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster. “They had safety meetings every day,” says the source, “but it was a Tier 1 movie, so they probably didn’t have more than one prop person.”
The IATSE spokesperson added that no one affiliated with their union was employed by the production company: “Local 44 has confirmed that the Props, Set Decoration, Special Effects, and Construction Departments were staffed by New Mexico crew members. There were no Local 44 members on the call sheet.”
Investigations are still ongoing as of this writing, so it may be days or weeks before law enforcement officials determine what was actually in the gun.