Armorer’s Trial | The director injured on the set of the film Rust shares his story

(Los Angeles) “Like a baseball bat in the shoulder”: the director of the film Rust Joel Souza told a US court on Friday the moment a gun held by actor Alec Baldwin injured him and killed the cinematographer.

The story was given at the trial in Santa Fe (New Mexico) of Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, responsible for handling the weapons on this low-budget western.

Filming turned into drama in October 2021 on a ranch in New Mexico, a state in the southwest of the United States. Alec Baldwin, also a producer of the film, had pointed a revolver supposed to contain only blank bullets, but a very real projectile had killed the director of photography Halyna Hutchins and injured the director.


The movie director Rust Joel Souza

On the stand Friday, Joel Souza recounted his confusion when he received a real bullet in his shoulder. “There was a huge ‘bang,’” he said, “I felt it like a baseball bat hit me in the shoulder.”

The accused, gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, looked “distraught” at the time, he said. “I remember her saying ‘sorry, I’m sorry Joel,’ and I remember someone yelling at her” before she was pushed out, he told the court.

On Thursday, footage exhibited at the trial showed actor Alec Baldwin gesticulating on set with a gun in his hand, firing blank bullets from the chain and urging the gunsmith to reload her weapons more quickly.

An expert called to the stand also denounced Thursday a lax attitude regarding security within the film crew.

One of the central questions is how a very deadly cartridge ended up on the set of Rust.

The 26-year-old gunsmith is being prosecuted for manslaughter, a crime punishable by 18 months of imprisonment. She disputes the accusations.

Alec Baldwin is being prosecuted on the same charge, but will be tried separately in July. The 65-year-old actor denies pulling the trigger and has always maintained that he was assured his weapon was harmless.

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