Filmmakers are calling for a ban on having guns on set after the Cinematographer of Rust, Halyna Hutchins, was tragically shot and killed during a misfire while shooting. Director Joel Souza was also seriously injured. Inquiry over the following days has uncovered that concerns over safety were raised multiple times prior to the tragedy, including a walk-out, after the prop gun in question misfired on several occasions.
But this isn’t the first time a cast or crew member has been hurt or killed during shooting because of poor health and safety protocols.
As Smithstreet’s Studio Director, Stevie, outlines in a series of Tweets (@stevieonmain):
“on the tragic death of Halyna Hutchins and the serious injury of Joel Souza on the set of Rust: this is not the first time the safety of cast and crew have been put in jeopardy by negligent production teams on large-scale films.”
“in 1993, Brandon Lee was killed on the set of The Crow, when another actor shot him using a gun that was supposed to been [sic] loaded with blanks. weeks later an investigation into the accident found that the crew was negligent, but the DA declined to bring charges.”
“on Midnight Rider in 2014, camera assist Sarah Jones was killed and others were injured by an oncoming train because production ignored their declined request to shoot on a live train track. Sarah was 27. director Randall Miller served only one year in jail.”
“it’s honestly baffling to me that Midnight Rider didn’t have more casualties. not only gross negligence, absolutely disgusting active defiance of health and safety rules and protocol.”
“Resident Evil: the Final Chapter had with not one serious accident, but two. First, Milla Jovovich’s stunt double Olivia Jackson was severely injured and lost her left arm during a motorcycle stunt.”
“and two months later on the same set, Jackson’s colleague Ricardo Cornelius was killed, when an unsecured vehicle slid off of a platform and crushed him. the hollywood reporter investigated those accidents and discovered a slew of other incidents.”
“The Dark Knight: stuntman Conway Wickliffe was killed during production. he was leaning out the window of a Nissan 4×4 operating a camera when the car crashed into a tree, leading to severe head trauma. he was 41.”
“xXx lost stunt double Harry O’Connor. he died filming a scene involving paragliding. he collided with the Palacky Bridge and broke his neck. director Rob Cohen released a baffling statement saying, “stuntmen know they are in danger. they make their living through danger. >
“> most of the time, it’s all right. sometimes, unfortunately, it isn’t.”
“Top Gun took the life of stunt pilot Art Scholl. while performing an inverted spin in the plane, in order to capture upside-down aerial photography, the plane was unable to maintain altitude and his last words reportedly were, “I’ve got a problem here.” his body was never found.”
“Twilight Zone’s famous on-set tragedy killed actor Vic Morrow and two children in a helicopter crash. they were filming a scene involving explosions, after which debris from the stunt damaged the helicopter’s rotors. production’s involuntary manslaughter charges were acquitted.”
“Jon-Erik Hexum dies shooting Cover Up’s seventh episode, at just 26. he fired a prop gun at his head on set when his character was playing russian roulette. the force of the blank fractured his scull [sic], and bone fragments caused hemorrhaging in his brain.”
“if this kind of negligence is happening so regularly on large-scale, high-budget films, I shudder to think what health and safety measures are being widely ignored by low-budget productions.”
“there is no fathomable reason for unsafe firearms or pyrotechnics to be used on set when post has become so accessible. if a project doesn’t have the resources to shoot safely, production has a responsibility to not shoot it.”
“there are also massive reports of unsafe working hours and fast turnaround, something that I’ve experienced myself. there are widespread issues with marginalised genders working in the industry experiencing sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse. this is not okay.”
“I am angry that these lives were stolen. I am angry this continues to happen.”
There is now a change.org petition (currently with over 11,000 signatures) calling for the permanent ban of live firearms on sets around the world.