Alec Baldwin Makes Stunning Claim About the Shooting on 'Rust' Movie Set

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Alec Baldwin has done an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos about the shooting on the “Rust” movie set.

The full interview is set to run tomorrow, but some clips are already indicating some of what Baldwin will say, and it’s not going over well with the public.

Baldwin claims that he “didn’t pull the trigger” in the October shooting that killed the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and wounded the director Joel Souza.

From The Post Millennial:

In the interview, Stephanopolous asked “You haven’t said much in public since that tragic accident? Why speak out now? I think the big question and the one you must have asked yourself 1000 times, how could this happen? You’ve described it as a one 2 trillion shot, and the gun was in your hand. How do you come to terms with that? It wasn’t in the script for the trigger pull.”

“Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled,” Baldwin said, “I didn’t pull the trigger.”
“So you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopolous asked.

“No, no,” Baldwin said. “I would never point a gun and pull that trigger at them. Never.”
“What did you think? How did a real bullet get on the set?” Stephanopolous asked.

“I have no idea. Someone put a live bullet in a gun. A bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” Baldwin said.

We’ll have to see what else he says tomorrow, but it seems to me this is a very bad move.

Let’s start with the legal problems here. I don’t know what Baldwin was told by his attorney. But he, at least, is going to face a ton of civil lawsuits, if not criminal charges. Why is he talking to anyone at this point, much less going on television with Stephanopoulos?

I would never advise someone to do this, because no matter how friendly you think Stephanopoulos might be or how much you might think you can craft your answer, you are putting yourself at legal risk. As we reported, Baldwin already gave a prior statement on the road to reporters that he’s now locked into. This latest move is likely to give his lawyer fits.

As to the substance of his claim that he “didn’t pull the trigger,” there is the conflicting statement of Mamie Mitchell. Baldwin is already facing a lawsuit from Mitchell, who was the script supervisor on the movie. Mitchell was a witness, and she claims that Baldwin intentionally fired the gun, even though the script didn’t call for it being fired.

From NY Post:

In the suit, Mitchell claimed, “Alec Baldwin intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired and [sic] loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a firearm.”

She also said every safety protocol designed to ensure safety with a firearm on set was ignored, such as the presence of live ammunition on set, and that “actions that were taken” that day “were against all industry norms.” [….]

“I saw Alec going through his movement with the gun for the camera,” said Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor on set who called 911 when Baldwin shot and killed Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on Oct. 21.

“I was holding my script in my left hand and had taken out my iPhone and opened up my photos to check the continuity on his shirt and vest.,” she said. “Then an explosion. Deafening loud gunshot.”

Now we will note that there was a prior report of accidental discharges on the set that involved Baldwin’s body double. But that doesn’t necessarily help Baldwin.

According to the report:

Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was “cold” — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks — two crew members who witnessed the episode told the Los Angeles Times.

“There should have been an investigation into what happened,” a crew member said. “There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”

A colleague was so alarmed by the prop gun misfires that he sent a text message to the unit production manager. “We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” according to a copy of the message reviewed by The Times.

I don’t trust Baldwin as far as I can throw him. His claim is not going over well, if he thought he was going to convince the public with this. People aren’t buying it.

I’m not going to comment on the question of how the gun could accidentally fire, I’ll leave that to another article by my colleague Dennis Santiago, who will delve into that question.

But the problem is even if that were true — if there was an accidental discharge — Baldwin may have had notice of it or should have had notice of it from the prior accidental discharges. Again, Baldwin wasn’t just an actor on the production; he was also a producer.

Even if that were true, he still could be on the hook because he should have known and addressed the question and did not. So, his effort to get himself off the hook, may not help him. And of course, he should have checked the gun himself and never have pointed it anywhere near anyone.