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Michael Shannon Believes Tight Budgets And Corner-Cutting May Be A Significant Factor In The Rust Shooting

Chances are you've heard of the horrible scenario surrounding Alec Baldwin's movie "Rust." In 2021, the actor and producer was filming a scene for the western when he discharged a "prop" gun. However, the weapon wasn't a prop, leading Baldwin to kill cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injure director Joel Souza. Hutchins's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against many involved in the production, and Baldwin settled the suit for an undisclosed amount. 

That all happened last year, with many considering the situation resolved heading into 2023. However, shortly after the turn of the new year, the Santa Fe district attorney's office announced plans to charge Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter. "Rust" armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, responsible for overseeing all props and on-set weapons, received the same charges as Baldwin. To clear his name, Baldwin filed his own lawsuit against four "Rust" crewmembers, including Gutierrez-Reed, believing they were responsible. However, The Santa Fe Sheriff's department and DA remain firm, stating both the actor and Gutierrez-Reed are to blame. What's clear is that Hutchins's death was avoidable, regardless of how many people were the cause.

Actor Michael Shannon recently gave an interesting point of view regarding the drama surrounding "Rust," saying that budget cuts may have played an unforeseen factor.

Michael Shannon gives his insight on firearm safety on set

While Michael Shannon seems like an unlikely source of information regarding the "Rust" shooting, the actor has spent considerable time handling weapons on set throughout his career. While he had no involvement with "Rust," his upcoming directorial debut, "Eric Larue," focuses on the aftermath of a school shooting, so he knows a thing or two about on-set safety. He recently sat down with the Chicago Tribune, saying that producers stopping at nothing to cut costs are a factor with "Rust" that no one is focusing on.

"'Rust' is an example of a problem I see in filmmaking more and more these days," Shannon said. "On smaller productions, independent productions, the producers keep wanting more and more for less and less. They don't want to give you enough money. They cut corners, ridiculously, every which way. And they get away with it." The actor gave an example that when a producer sees one director make a successful movie with a low budget, they'll provide their director similar funding, believing they could see similar success. He also states that, when working with firearms, the armor is one position where producers can't afford to cut costs, saying Hannah Gutierrez-Reed wasn't qualified to work on "Rust" and shouldn't have been there.

Shannon also gave an insight into how rehearsing and filming with firearms works. According to him, when an actor rehearses with a firearm, the armorer must show the actor and assistant director that the gun's chamber is empty, which clearly didn't happen with "Rust."