Alec Baldwin fatally shoots woman with prop gun on movie set

win231

SF VIP
Location
CA
You are right of course, something went very wrong here.

It may take a while, but in the end I suspect we will find out what it was.
It won't take a while. An autopsy would quickly reveal exactly what killed the woman, even if they don't recover the bullet (which they usually can). The wound channel will indicate everything - the shape of the projectile & the path & angle. Plaster casts are made of the wound channel - a technique developed by Dr. Thomas Nogouchi many years ago - who was Los Angeles' Coroner.
 

win231

SF VIP
Location
CA
Sometimes, actors who are not familiar with firearms will undergo professional training with live ammo to familiarize themselves with gun safety & function. I think it's a good idea.
Linda Hamilton trained with Israeli Military instructors before "Terminator" & Tom Cruise trained with Police Instructors for "Collateral."

 

Della

Member
Location
Ohio
Win, do you think it would ruin a movie for you if they used guns that weren't functional at all, say, real guns filled with plastic? The sound men would have to add the bang and the special effects guys could add a flash. I know I could not tell the difference, but for someone who knows guns would it seem fake?
 
Sometimes, actors who are not familiar with firearms will undergo professional training with live ammo to familiarize themselves with gun safety & function. I think it's a good idea.
Seems to me it should be a requirement. If Baldwin had done so, and remembered and followed the safety parts this would have been avoidable.
 

win231

SF VIP
Location
CA
Win, do you think it would ruin a movie for you if they used guns that weren't functional at all, say, real guns filled with plastic? The sound men would have to add the bang and the special effects guys could add a flash. I know I could not tell the difference, but for someone who knows guns would it seem fake?
If they made it seem real, it wouldn't ruin a movie for me. I've already chuckled at those old Westerns where they get 30 shots out of six shooters & older movies where guns never needed to be reloaded.
I've also noticed some bloopers in scenes that should have been redone, but maybe production costs were a concern. Some of them were amusing. Like this one in "Dirty Harry:"
Watch carefully at the very end when "Harry" cocks the revolver & pulls the trigger to scare the suspect. When a revolver is cocked & the trigger is pulled, the cylinder doesn't turn. In that prop gun, you can see the cylinder turn - the gun's locking mechanism is damaged. The director figured that blooper would be missed & he was right; even I missed it the first time I saw the movie.

Also, that particular gun (S&W Model 29 in 44 Magnum) was in short supply at the time, so the gun used was actually a 41 Magnum specially built for the "Dirty Harry" movie series. Same frame size. They figured people wouldn't notice the 3 hundredths of an inch difference in barrel diameter.......but I did.

 

JimBob1952

Senior Member
Baldwin is a smart guy with a lot of charm and talent. He is also a bit of a jerk and a hothead. None of that has anything to do with this horrible accident. Enough has emerged to make it clear that Baldwin was not at fault. Actors don't check the props they are handed. I'm sure his grief is real and I feel sorry for him as well as for the poor cinematographer who was shot.
 

win231

SF VIP
Location
CA
Apparently an assistant director handed the gun to Baldwin and told him it wasn't loaded so there was some sort of miscommunication between the armorer and the assistant director. Dunno how many people handled it between those two.

I still don't understand why it was pointed at the cinematographer or why Baldwin didn't follow basic gun safety guidelines such as not putting a finger on the trigger unless he had made the decision to shoot immediately. Cannot imagine that he didn't know of instances in which people were harmed on set by blanks.
In order to fire a gun (whether it's loaded with blanks or real ammo), you have to pull the trigger. In order to pull the trigger, your finger has to be on it. When the director says "Action" the scene probably called for Baldwin to shoot.
He probably was aware that blanks can cause injury or death, but that's only true at very close range; almost contact distance.
 

WhatInThe

Well-known Member
Baldwin won’t be blamed for the shooting. His production company will be for cutting cost corners, if the rumours are true.
Also they said there were union issues including a walkout. Sounds like they were losing control of the set.

Supposedly that gun was being used for recreational shooting during down time? If true that weapon should've been given back to armor and she should've cleared/unloaded and got it ready for the next scene. I still wonder about the armor not giving the weapon to the actors directly.

I don't know if they lost control of the set or many of these practices are more common than they should be.
 

Irwin

Senior Member
When real guns are used on a set, everyone should be required to take a gun safety class. It only takes a few seconds to check to see if a gun is loaded and if so, with what. This deadly accident could easily have been averted had they taken a few safety measures.

I'd be willing to bet that training will be required in the near future. I would also think that there's a way to simulate a kick with a fake gun. Somebody just needs to invent it. They could even make a little plume of smoke come out. We put a man on the moon, for craps sake. Surely we can make a realistic looking fake gun.
 

Jules

Well-known Member
Location
Beautiful BC
If it actually was a real bullet it seems to me something more than carelessness may have been involved. As several have said there is no reason to have a real bullet on the set... Just doesn't add up.
No, it doesn’t.

On that second link I used the word ‘careless’ because the article isn’t clear what happened on that 2019 movie. You’d think that someone who was fired from a job re a gun would be extra careful any other time.
 

rgp

Well-known Member
Location
Milford,OH
Heard on the news last night ...... Some of the crew went "plinking" during a filming break, and it is believed that one of the guns was returned to the "table" with a live round in it.
 

raybar

Member
Location
Los Angeles
@Alligatorob
Real or "live" ammunition should NEVER be present on set, as has been stated by several professional armorers in some of the articled linked above. No exceptions.

@rgp
I've seen those reports also. If true, that would be a major breakdown of safety rules. Again, there should never be live ammunition anywhere on or near the set, and the prop master or armorer should always be present and in personal control of his guns.

==========

"Blanks" are easy to identify because there is no bullet in cartridge case. Either the end of the case is crimped or there is some "wadding" (typically paper) where the bullet would be. These are obviously not live rounds.

In addition to blanks, there are also various types of "dummy" rounds which look exactly like live rounds, but contain no gunpowder and no primer charge. Most such center fire rounds I've seen had either a used, "dimpled" primer or no primer at all, and rimfire rounds had the usual mark on the edge. These are easy to identify, and are (or should be) used whenever the audience can see the cartridges, but not closely enough to see if the primer is missing or dimpled. For example cartridge belts or western gun belts.

But there are also dummy rounds which really do look exactly like live rounds. These are used when the audience will see the cartridges up close, such as when a gun is being loaded in the scene, or the characters are handling ammunition for some reason. Live ammo should never be on set because if it's not there, it can't get confused with props, can't get into a gun, and can't kill anyone.
 
An interesting article on movie set gun safety https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-59035488 .

It summarizes some advice published by the movie businesse's "Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee." https://www.csatf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/01FIREARMS.pdf :
  • Blanks can kill. Treat all firearms as though they are loaded
  • Refrain from pointing a firearm at yourself or anyone else
  • Never place your finger on the trigger unless you're ready to shoot
  • Anyone involved in using a firearm must be thoroughly briefed at an on-set safety meeting
  • Only a qualified person should load a firearm
  • Protective shields, eye and hearing protection should be used by anyone in close proximity or the line of fire
  • Any actor who is required to stand near the line of fire should be allowed to witness the loading of the firearms
Several layers of these rules had to have been violated.
 

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