the law

Rust Assistant Director David Halls Wants Film Industry to ‘Reevaluate Its Values’ After Shooting

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Update, November 3, 10:30 a.m.: In the first public comment since the Rust set shooting, a lawyer for assistant director David Halls claimed that checking guns was “not his responsibility.” Attorney Lisa Torraco would not confirm that her client checked the gun before it was ultimately given to Baldwin, as was previously reported, in an interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum. “Expecting an assistant director to check a firearm is like telling the assistant director to check the camera angle or telling the assistant director to check sound or lighting,” she said. “That’s not the assistant director’s job. If he chooses to check the firearm because he wants to make sure everyone’s safe, he can do that.” This conflicts with both Halls’s initial interview with police, in which he said he checked three of the gun’s six rounds before handing it to Baldwin, and accounts from multiple others on set, who said the assistant director was the last person to check guns before handing them to Baldwin. “I disagree with the other reports that are coming out,” Torraco added in the interview.

Original story follows.

As police investigations continue into the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust, assistant director David Halls, who handed the loaded gun to star Alec Baldwin, has given a statement. Halls is identified as one of the last two people on set, along with armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who handled the weapon prior to Baldwin discharging it during a rehearsal for the Western. The gun, which was thought to be “cold,” fired what is believed to be a lead projectile, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. In an affidavit from the Santa Fe County sheriff’s office, Halls told detective Alexandria Hancock that “he should have checked all of” the rounds in the gun before it was given to Baldwin, “but didn’t.”

Halls gave a statement about the Rust tragedy to the New York Post on November 1. “Halyna Hutchins was not just one of the most talented people I’ve worked with, but also a friend,” he said. “I’m shocked and saddened by her death. It’s my hope that this tragedy prompts the industry to reevaluate its values and practices to ensure no one is harmed through the creative process again.” In 2019, Halls was reportedly fired from the set of the Civil War film Freedom’s Path for not adequately enforcing safety precautions, leading to an incident where a gunpowder blast was accidentally fired at a boom operator at close range. Halls did not address his role in the on-set safety measures or the shooting, but said, “My thoughts are with all who knew and loved Halyna.”

Rust AD David Halls Hopes Industry Reevaluates Its ‘Values’