The prop master who handled the gun that killed the cinematographer on Alec Baldwin’s film “Rust” was “just brought in” amid a protest over conditions on the set, The Post has learned.
The unidentified employee was hired to replace someone else amid chaos on the set, according to a source involved with the movie.
Another source briefed on the situation told The Post that a crew of workers had walked off the film’s set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, NM, Thursday morning over what they alleged were poor safety protocols, before Baldwin, 68, fired the gun later that day.
The union for the workers who walked off the set claimed the prop gun had a live round in it when it discharged and killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel Souza, 48.
The prop gun also misfired twice and once during the previous week, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a knowledgeable crew member who told the paper that “there was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”
On a 911 recording obtained by TMZ, a woman who identifies herself as the movie’s script supervisor is heard blaming the accident on someone whose name is apparently bleeped out.
“OK, this f- -king [bleep] that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherf- -ker,” she says, apparently to someone nearby.
“Did you see him lean over my desk and yell at me? He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.”
An unidentified crew member told the LA Times that Hutchins had been advocating for safer working conditions for her team.
The newspaper reported that a half-dozen camera crew workers went on strike Thursday to protest their working conditions.
The crew reportedly showed up as scheduled at 6:30 a.m. but began gathering up their gear and personal possessions to leave.
A settlement was apparently reached because the Times reported that the workers — members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — later spent about an hour setting up their gear.
But several nonunion workers reportedly showed up to replace them, and a member of the production staff ordered the disgruntled crew to leave.
The production staffer threatened to call in security to remove the workers if they didn’t go voluntarily, according to the Times.
fatal shooting took place about six hours after they left, according to the Times.
Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting,” the knowledgeable crew member told the paper.
The camera crew’s complaints reportedly included long hours and wage issues.
In addition, the Times said various crews on the low-budget Western were promised lodging in Santa Fe but were told shortly after filming began on Oct. 6 to stay overnight in Albuquerque, about 50 miles away.
On Tuesday, Hutchins posted a photo of the movie’s cast and crew to Instagram, along with a shoutout to her union.
“Standing in #IAsolidarity with our @IATSE crew here in New Mexico on RUST,” she wrote.
Los Angeles lawyer Louis Shapiro predicted Thursday’s shooting would lead to a wrongful-death suit and potentially a criminal case.
“The question is: Who is the one who is exercising negligence here?” he told The Post.
“Where is the duty of care to make sure that that gun is properly loaded and properly used? That duty doesn’t lie with the actor. The actor was just handed something. The duty of care lies with the prop person.”
A spokesman for the IATSE — which also represents prop masters — said on Friday that the union had no further comment beyond a statement it issued earlier in the day.
The statement called Hutchins’ death an “unspeakable loss” and urged IATSE members to contact the union if they “feel unsafe on set for any reason.”
“Creating a culture of safety requires relentless vigilance from every one of us, day in and day out. Please, if you see something, say something,” the union said.
The film’s production firm, Rust Movie Productions, didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Post.
An assistant director unwittingly handed Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot a cinematographer, court records released show.
“Cold gun,” the assistant director announced, according to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court.
Instead, the gun was loaded with live rounds, and when Baldwin pulled the trigger Thursday on the set of a Western, he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was wounded, the records said.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office obtained the warrant Friday so investigators could document the scene at the ranch outside Santa Fe where the shooting took place. They sought to examine Baldwin’s blood-stained costume for the film “Rust,” as well as the weapon that was fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that might exi
The gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted, according to the records. Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.
It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.
Halls did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment. The Associated Press was unable to contact Gutierrez, and several messages sent to production companies affiliated with the film were not immediately returned Friday.
The film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.
“I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’” Mitchell told The Associated Press. “This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.”
Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.
Baldwin described the killing as a “tragic accident.”
“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,” Baldwin wrote on Twitter. “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
No immediate charges were filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was permitted to travel.
“He’s a free man,” Rios said.