Montana man recounts working on movie set with "Rust" armorer

Posted at 2:51 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 17:04:04-04

BOZEMAN — There's a Montana connection to the fatal shooting last week of a person on the set of a movie being filmed in New Mexico.

While on the set of the Western film "Rust," actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot one person and wounded another member of the crew. The person who died was Halyna Hutchins, the 42-year old director of photography for the film.

An investigation is still underway to fully understand how a live round was left in a thought-to-be cold gun.

JP Gabriel, the owner of Filmlites Montana, recalls working on the film "The Old Way" with movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed.

According to Wikipedia, a movie armorer is a film crew specialist that works with the property master, director, actors, stunt coordinator, and script supervisor, and is specifically responsible for maintaining control of any prop weapons, including firearms, knives, swords, bows, etc.

Reed went on to work on the set of "Rust."

“It really bothered me that I didn’t feel like I knew what was going on, we weren’t announcing guns that much,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel notes the standard way to clear a gun as cold and ready to use by an actor. An announcement to the cast and crew usually begins this process, along with proving no rounds in the chamber to different higher-ups and loading the gun with a blank round.

“It’s a tragedy that this happened and it will affect her for the rest of her life,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel recounts a time where two rounds were fired without warning, causing unrest from many members of the cast and crew, notably Nicholas Cage. With its natural beauty, charming towns, and snow-capped mountains, Montana has been set as a popular filming location.

“I did feel like the people of Montana should know that this is happening right here, and we need to have gun safety, and the safety of the crew—this is what can happen if we don’t,” Gabriel said.

Alec Baldwin was in Montana several months ago to film "Supercell," a movie about storm chasers shot mostly in Big Horn County.