‘Loading blanks was the scariest thing to me’: Rust head armourer new to job and admitted fears on previous set

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, an ex model/actor, is the daughter of legendary Hollywood firearms expert Thell Reed

Sheila Flynn
Saturday 23 October 2021 20:30
Warrant: Baldwin Didn't Know Weapon Contained Live Round

A former model and the daughter of a Hollywood fast-draw legend was the person responsible for overseeing prop gun safety on the Western set where actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed a cinematographer.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, was the armorer on the set of Rust, which has since suspended production in New Mexico after the fatal shooting on Thursday of Halyna Hutchins.

Ms Reed is the daughter of longtime Hollywood armorer Thell Reed, who has trained Hollywood stars such as Russell Crowe how to handle guns and other prop weapons. Ms Reed recently told podcast Voices of the West that she’d tried her hand at acting and modeling before settling on more behind-the-scenes work.

“Originally, I had planned on working with cameras, or I really like lighting, too. I wanted to do DP work,” Ms Reed, who has a film degree from Northern Arizona University, told the podcast in an episode which aired last month. “I kind of just tried [armorer work] with dad one time, and then I noticed I had a really natural knack for it, growing up around guns my whole life.”

She also considered the work a “pretty sweet gig,” she said. Before starting on Rust, Ms Reed had wrapped shooting on Nicolas Cage’s first Western, The Old Way, which was “also my first time being head armourer, as well,” she told the podcast.

“I was really nervous about it at first, and I almost didn’t take the job,” she said of her role on The Old Way, continuing: “Doing it, it went really smoothly.”

She added: “I think loading blanks was the scariest thing to me because I was like ‘oh, I don’t know anything about it”, but explkained that her father helped with her training.

New Mexico authorities are investigating the Thursday death of Ms Hutchins, 42, a married mother of one. The shooting also wounded director Joel Souza and officials said they were deciding whether or not any charges would be filed.

According to sources in several reports, crew members on the low-budget movie – starring and produced by Mr Baldwin – had repeatedly complained about unsafe conditions and there had already been accidental gun discharges. Several people told reporters that concerns even prompted a walkout just hours before Mr Baldwin’s prop gun fired a projectile that killed Ms Hutchins.

In a statement on social media, Mr Baldwin said his heart was “broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

According to AP, the actor shot the cinematographer with one of three guns that the film’s armourer “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.”

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office obtained a warrant Friday so investigators could examine Baldwin’s blood-stained costume as well as the weapon that was fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that might exist, AP reported.

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