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Alec Baldwin is back in ‘Rust’, this time with a fake gun

Pray, Monte. — On the edge of a steep, snow-covered ravine north of Yellowstone National Park, Alec Baldwin and the crew of the western “Rust” gathered for their morning safety meeting as filming was halted for a year and a half due to climate change Then recovered. tragedy.

This is far from routine.

“I’ve said it, and I’ll say it every time: There were no weapons,” the film’s new first assistant director, Gerard DiNardi, assured the crew on Friday. “Nothing catches fire. There are a lot of replicas of weapons, from rubber to replicas.”

The film’s new armourer, Andrew Wert, who handles all the weapons and ammunition on set, added that even the dummy rounds — the inert cartridges used in the film to simulate real rounds — are made of rubber and wood and painted. into gold.

With these assurances, filming resumed. On location in New Mexico 18 months ago, the crew had been filming close-ups of Mr. Baldwin drawing an old-fashioned revolver when the gun went off, firing an actual bullet, killing the film’s cinematographer , Halina Hutchins, 42; injured director Joel Souza; traumatized his cast and crew and resulted in civil suits and criminal charges.

A cast and crew of about 200 are hard at work on Rust.

Not everyone is back: Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the film’s original weapons maker, is facing manslaughter charges in connection with Ms Hutchins’ death, which she initially First assistant director Dave Halls pleaded guilty to allegations of negligent handling of weapons. Cinematographer Bianca Cline stepped in to finish the film Ms. Hutchins had begun. Many have described “Rusty” as a tribute to Ms Hutchins; her husband, who is now an executive producer on the film, supported the two filmmakers in making a documentary about her life and the film’s completion .

But Mr Souza, who was injured when the bullet passed through Ms Hutchins and hit his shoulder, returned to the director’s chair.

Mr. Baldwin was back in the lead role Friday when New Mexico prosecutors dismissed manslaughter charges against him as new evidence surfaced that he had been using a modified firearm that should never have been loaded with live ammunition. But an air of uncertainty hangs over the man: Prosecutors say they will continue to investigate the case and reserve the right to recharge him.

As the crew assembled to resume work, Mr. Sousa, who first collaborated with Mr. Baldwin on the script nearly five years ago, gave an impassioned speech.

“A few days before today, I honestly didn’t know how to get out of bed in the morning,” he said, “and the reason I was able to do it was all of you.”

He said that because of Ms Hutchins, they should approach their jobs with the same joy as her.

“I know she’s going to rush us to work, so why don’t we do that?” Mr Souza said at the end of the meeting. “We’re making a movie today. We might as well make it a good thing.”

Not long after Mr. Baldwin re-dressed as Harlan Rust—a grizzled gangster in a cowboy hat, long brown duster jacket, and high leather boots—he found himself in a In a gun-centric scene.

“Who the hell are you, sir?” cried the young actor Patrick Scott McDermott, then snatched Rust’s own rifle and aimed it at him.

“The name is Ruster,” muttered Mr. Baldwin, and picked up the gun the boy had stolen from the saddle, unaware that the stranger was his grandfather.

The New York Post published a photo of Mr. Baldwin filming the scene, showing him gripping the barrel of a gun, a sign of how closely the new work has been scrutinized. The headline read: “Alec Baldwin holds gun – backwards – on new ‘Rusty’ set after fatal shooting charge dropped.”

Every time Mr. Wert, the armourer, goes into battle with a weapon, he declares that the gun he is using is a replica and cannot be fired.

Mr Wert, a former U.S. Army infantryman, builds his rifles from separate parts so that they look as authentic as possible, but cannot be fired under any circumstances. He drilled out the part where the firing pin would be, and modified the cylinder so that ammunition couldn’t fit in it, and the rubber and wooden bullets were painted gold so that they looked real when they were stuffed into Mr. Baldwin’s belt.

“I don’t want to ask any questions about where guns come from, where anything comes from,” said Mr. Waters, whose career with guns on film sets spanned more than 20 years, including “Dallas Buyers Club” and the 2016 Western The film starring Woody Harrelson is titled “The Duel.”

The issue of armory and gun safety has been at the heart of the investigation into how deadly “rust” is. Prosecutors accused Ms. Gutierrez-Reed, the original ordnance maker, of allowing the use of live ammunition on film sets that should have been banned, and of failing to thoroughly inspect the revolver handed to Mr. Baldwin on the day of the shooting. Questions have been raised between her and the original first assistant director How Mr Hals handles gun agreements. Ms. Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney, who said she intends to plead not guilty, told investigators she had checked every round but admitted she wished she had been more thorough.

On the Montana set, Mr. Water collected the rifles from the actors in between takes and set them aside; afterward, he stored them in a combination-locked box.

The snow-capped mountains surrounding Yellowstone Movie Ranch in Montana looked different than the dry terrain at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the movie shot for 11 1/2 days in October 2021 until filming stopped.

Since the script called for Mr. Baldwin’s character to ride across the West with his grandson on horseback, the filmmakers thought the change in terrain would be easy to accommodate.

However, once filming moved to another state, certain elements from the original production needed to be replicated to ensure continuity.

On a Montana ranch where the obligatory tumbleweeds sit in the dirt of an old western town complete with saloons, tobacco shops and stables, the “Rusty” crew is building a farmhouse from scratch out of pigpens, In an effort to preserve some of Ms. Hutchins’ last works. They needed the pigsty to match a scene Ms. Hutchins filmed in New Mexico because one of the actors hadn’t returned to production. The solution was not to completely redo the scene, but to build an identical pen, so that the scene could be shot with new actors, and the new footage could be edited alongside the old footage.

“Everyone wanted to save every second we could,” returning producer Ryan Smith said.

But one scene was cut from the film and rewritten by Mr. Souza, he said: the scene in a small wooden church that the crew was preparing when filming took place.

The film’s costume designer, Terese Davis, has been hard at work making sure the new costumes blend in with those shot for the cast in New Mexico.

The clothes Mr. Baldwin was wearing on the day of the shooting had to be changed because law enforcement had taken the originals as evidence. Many other garments were destroyed in a warehouse fire in New Mexico months after the shooting.

So Ms. Davis zooms in on photos of old garments so she can create new ones in exact matching colors and fabrics. Her team is painstakingly painting a plaid pattern from one of the old shirts onto a new one.

“My big goal has always been that my work and any issues with it don’t distract from Halyna’s work,” she said.

Ms. Davis is one of about 10 cast members returning to the film. The initial production featured labor disputes, and some crew members later sued, saying they did not receive regular safety bulletins, citing two previous accidents involving firearms and ammunition. Rust Movie Productions, the producer behind the film, defended its safety record, saying the crew responded appropriately to the accidental discharge. But the company agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement to New Mexico’s workplace safety regulator.

At the Montana facility, safety is a top priority.

Two safety supervisors arrived at the Montana ranch about a month before filming began to conduct a risk assessment of the area, which included horseback riding and navigating the rocky terrain. (“Don’t walk and text!” was a common refrain.) Entertainment union representatives were there to observe the high-stakes scenes. Mr. Smith said the filming schedule was initially set at 22 days and is now 24 days to prevent the crew from feeling they were rushed. Melina Spadone, the production’s attorney, said the new production, which received new financing to restart filming, has a budget of about $8 million, compared with the original’s budget of about $6.5 million.

“Of course we bring extra care,” Mr Smith said, “because naturally we want everyone to be very comfortable, and because the production community and the world is watching.”

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