The crew member tasked with handling weapons on the set of Alec Baldwin’s new movie, where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed, was new to the gig and doubted her capabilities.
Hannah Reed, whose dad is stuntman and armorer Thell Reed, spoke last month on the “Voices of the West” podcast, about her hesitancy taking on her first role as head armorer on Nicolas Cage’s forthcoming first Western, “The Old Way.”
“I was really nervous about it at first, and I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready,” Reed said. “But doing it, it went really smoothly.”
Reed also spoke about helping actors, who might be unfamiliar with guns, to get acquainted on set.
“You have to show them how to do the whole trigger thing ... and how to put on their holster,” she explained. “You have to teach them about the recoil because these blanks don’t have regular pushback that regular bullets do.”
She said that she prefers “to dummy it up as much as I can” as far as blanks and wads go, noting that loading the former was once “the scariest” to her.
“But some people really don’t want you to dummy it for some reason,” said Reed, conceding that dummying can affect the realistic look of shots.
Reed’s father was credited as the weapons specialist on “Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood,” the quick draw expert on “Django Unchained,” and the gun coach on films like “Cowboys & Aliens” as well as “3:10 to Yuma.”
Hutchins, 42, was killed Thursday on the set of “Rust,” when assistant director Dave Halls gave Baldwin, 63, a prop gun he said he didn’t realize was loaded with live rounds. Director Joel Souza was also injured, though he has since been released from the hospital.
The gun was fired after several union crew members, frustrated by long hours and low pay, walked off the set. Hutchins was reportedly among those pushing for safer conditions.
“Corners were being cut,” a source told the Los Angeles Times. “They brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting.”
Among the incidents were two misfires by Baldwin’s stunt double the previous weekend, after being assured the firearm was “cold,” or had no ammunition, including blanks, the L.A. Times reported.
“We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” a concerned colleague told the unit production manager in a text reviewed by the outlet.
Baldwin on Friday said that he is “fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred.
“My heart is broken for (Hutchins’) husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna,” said Baldwin.
The American Film Institute has announced a scholarship for female filmmakers in Hutchins’ honor.