Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie Reacts to Alec Baldwin’s Rust Movie Shooting Tragedy

Angelina Jolie speaks up about the Rust tragedy that left Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead, increasing pressure on gun safety in film productions.

Actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has spoken up about the recent tragedy on the set of independent film Rust. The incident occurred when the film’s star and producer, Alec Baldwin, discharged a firearm during rehearsal that was meant to be a prop. The resulting gunshot struck and killed 42-year-old cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured the film’s director, Joel Souza. In the wake of Hutchins’ death, demands within Hollywood to ensure that nothing of this nature could ever be permitted to happen again are strong.

But as continued calls regarding rules for on-set firearms become stricter than ever, the investigation into just how a live round could have found its way into a gun that was meant to be a prop also continues. At present, it’s doubtful that filming on Rust will ever resume again, and given all that’s taken place, this is probably the best possible outcome. Baldwin voluntarily came in for questioning by New Mexican authorities directly after Hutchins’ death and in the subsequent days following the incident, it appeared that he wasn’t going to face any charges. However, as more time passes, the on-set events that transpired and lead to Hutchins’ death are becoming increasingly more complex than originally presumed.

In the face of these investigations and the shock waves Hutchins’ senseless death has sent throughout Hollywood, several prominent celebrities have spoken up about their own grief for the families involved and how changes can be made to prevent something like this from happening again. Most recently, it was Jolie who spoke up. During an interview with The Times, the former Tomb Raider star kept her comments on the Rust issue brief and to the point, reiterating the belief held by many that Rust lacked professional guidance with regard to the indie film’s use of weapons:

I can’t imagine what these families are going through. At this moment, the grief and the tragedy of that accident is quite overwhelming. I’ve always been very careful because I’ve had to work with guns a lot. The way I’ve worked or checked when I’m directing, there are certain procedures. You have to take it very seriously.

Of course, in the case of an event such as this one, hindsight is always twenty-twenty. This isn’t to say that negligence of one sort or another can’t be attributed to everything that lead up to Hutchins’ death. But even the most careful and professional productions retain the possibility of an accident occurring. Obviously, one death on the set of a film is too many, but as long as real weapons are permitted on film sets, it’s arguable that there will always be the possibility of something similar happening again. Jolie’s words can add considerably to the current pressure within the film industry to make the changes necessary to keep everyone on a film set safe, but until specific action is taken, the risk factor still remains.

However, a slightly less discussed aspect of Hutchins’ death is that Hollywood has a problem at present with how its crews are treated. Every production has its own way of doing things and Rust was an independent production, but having an industry veteran like Baldwin on board as producer makes it harder to chalk all that’s happened up to inexperience. If crews aren’t being taken care of and treated with respect, walkouts occur. The legal right afforded by some states to bring in replacement workers (as was the case with Rust) is a money-saving tool that can ultimately sacrifice experience and safety standards on film sets.

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