Before Alec Baldwin fired a loaded prop gun on the set of his movie Rust, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director and co-writer Joel Souza, several crew members walked off of the set to protest working conditions, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The LA Times reported today that camera operators and their assistants walked off of the set just hours before Hutchins was killed. Complaints involved long hours, poor pay, unsafe working conditions, in addition to having to drive 50 miles each day from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, New Mexico, near where the film was being filmed. Nonunion workers were brought in to replace the unionized camera crew.
There were also three misfires on the prop gun in the last few weeks, according to a LA Times source who said there was “a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.” Prop masters Union Local 44 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said Hutchins was killed and Souza was injured with a “live single round.”
Baldwin, who has not had charges filed against him, said he is cooperating with the ongoing investigation. The Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office said witnesses are still being interviewed. Filming for Rust has been suspended indefinitely.