Details are still emerging about the accidental shooting last week on the set of the low-budget Western Rust, which resulted in its director, Joel Souza, being wounded and its cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, being killed. Over the weekend, it was revealed the prop gun, which was unwittingly discharged while in possession of star Alec Baldwin, was handed to him by Assistant Director David Hills. But now there’s another turn to this part of the story.
As per Deadline, a similar, albeit non-fatal, gun discharge incident happened on the set of Freedom’s Path, a period piece about slavery filmed in Arkansas in 2019. And the A.D. on that film was David Hills. In this case, a member of the film’s sound department had to jump back from a close-by blast but was nonetheless injured.
“I can confirm that Dave Halls was fired from the set of Freedom’s Path in 2019 after a crew member incurred a minor and temporary injury when a gun was unexpectedly discharged,” the producer told Deadline. “Halls was removed from set immediately after the prop gun discharged. Production did not resume filming until Dave was off-site. An incident report was taken and filed at that time.”
The injured crew member returned to set less than a week later, but both Hills and the armorer — the member of the props department who oversees the prop weapons — were replaced immediately.
Halls’ résumé includes titles like The Crow: Salvation and The Matrix Reloaded, but he reportedly has a personal-behavior complaint filed against him two years ago while on the set of Blumhouse’s TV show Into the Dark. As per Deadline, he was fired for “lack of respect’ to fellow crew members, who described him as “very aggressive” and “intimidating on set.”
A.D.s are often responsible for overall set safety, though it is currently unclear why Hall, and not the armorer, handed Baldwin the prop gun, nor if he performed a visual check on the weapon beforehand.
Other reports from the set of Rust detail a troubled production, with deplorable conditions for the crew, resulting in things being rushed. Both internal and police investigations are underway.
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