One of Hollywood’s most famous actors weighed in this week on the controversy surrounding last month’s shooting on the set of the western film “Rust,” where Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer and injured a director.
During an appearance on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast on Monday, as reported by CBSLA, movie star George Clooney called the deadly incident “insane” and “infuriating.”
“Why, for the life of me, this low-budget film with producers who haven’t produced anything wouldn’t have hired for the armorer someone with experience…they weren’t even using that gun to do target practice and that is insane,” Clooney said.
The actor recalled the death of his friend and actor Brandon Lee, who was shot and killed on a movie set in the early ’90s.
“After Brandon died, it really became a very clear thing of: open the gun, look down the barrel, look in the cylinder, make sure. It’s a series of tragedies, but, you know, a lot of stupid mistakes,” Clooney said.
“I open it. I show it to the person I’m pointing it to. I show it to the crew. Everybody knows. And maybe Alec did that. Hopefully he did do that, but the problem is dummies are tricky because they look like real bullets,” he said.
In October, Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. Baldwin had reportedly been told it was a “cold” gun, meaning it didn’t contain any live rounds.
“I’ve never heard the term ‘cold gun.” I’ve never heard that term, literally. They’re just talking about stuff I’ve never heard of. It’s just infuriating,” Clooney said.
According to CBSLA, expert armorers contradicted Clooney’s claim, saying “cold gun” is a common term used in on-set safety checks.
“That is something that is always used, ‘hot gun,’ ‘cold gun,’” said movie armorer Bill Davis. “That’s the way we do it, that’s been done for years. If he hasn’t heard it, then he’s been living under a rock for the past 30 years.”
Clooney noted that he doesn’t have a close relationship with Baldwin and believes that the incident was not a result of bad intentions, adding that filmmakers must take extra precautions when working with weapons on set, including hiring experienced armorers.
Authorities are actively investigating Baldwin over the fatal shooting. During a press conference in late October, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza said while no criminal charges have been yet, Baldwin’s involvement in the fatal shooting remains an active part of the investigation and charges have not been ruled out.