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‘Rust’ assistant director fired from 2019 film after unloading gun on set

LOS ANGELES – The assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on a film set last week was fired from a movie in 2019 after a gunshot unexpectedly discharged on set, injuring a crew member, a producer of the film told NBC News on Monday.

The previous incident happened in New Mexico while filming “Freedom’s Path,” said the producer, who worked on the film. Assistant director Dave Halls was immediately taken off the set and then fired, according to the producer.

“Dave had a lot of remorse for the events and understood the reasons he was being fired,” the producer told NBC News.

The injured crew member, who was working on the sound, backed off after the explosion and was asked to see a doctor after being evaluated by a doctor on set, the producer said.

The extent of the crew member’s injuries was unclear, but the person returned to production a few days later, the producer said, adding that a new assistant director had been hired and the film was being hired. ended.

Halls did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Authorities in New Mexico, where the October 22 shooting of “Rust” also injured Joel Souza, did not charge anyone in the shooting.

Maggie Goll, a special effects technician who worked on the set of a Hulu series with Halls in 2019, said the assistant director did not maintain a safe working environment on set.

In a statement to NBC News, Goll said Halls did not hold safety meetings or announce when a gun appeared on set. He also tried to continue filming after the main pyrotechnician in the series “Into the Dark” suffered a medical emergency, she said.

Halls did not respond to a request for comment on Goll’s remarks.

A spokesperson for Blumhouse Television, which produced “Into the Dark” with Hulu, said the company would not comment on personnel matters and that no safety complaints had been received.

Last week’s shooting prompted Hollywood to reassess why real guns are still used during production, and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating how a gun with a lethal amount of ammunition fell between Baldwin’s hands.

A search warrant says Halls shouted “knife” before handing the gun to Baldwin, incorrectly stating that there were no live ammunition. Authorities have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday to unveil details of the investigation.

Rust’s production has been put on hold until the investigation is complete, the film’s production team said in a letter to the team on Sunday night.

“As we go through this crisis, we have made the decision to complete the package at least until the investigations are completed,” the letter said.

He also indicated that the film’s production company would not comment further on the incident and the security protocols on set.

“As with any ongoing investigation, we are limited in our ability to say anything more publicly or privately, and ask for your patience in this regard. As the investigation continues, we are unable to respond to any questions. comments that have made their way in the media, on social networks and elsewhere, ”the letter said.

Diana Dasrath reported from Los Angeles. Tim Stelloh reported from Alameda, California.

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