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’19 concerns about ‘Rust’ assistant emerge

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A crew member says she has raised safety concerns in the past about the assistant director who authorities say unwittingly handed actor Alec Baldwin the prop gun that killed a cinematographer on a film set.

Maggie Goll, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu’s “Into the Dark” series in 2019 over concerns about assistant director Dave Halls’ behavior on set. Goll said in a phone interview Sunday that Halls disregarded safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician lost consciousness on set.

Halls has not returned phone calls and email messages seeking comment.

This week’s fatal shooting and some of her previous experiences point to larger safety issues that need to be addressed, Goll said, adding that crew member safety and wellbeing are top issues in ongoing contract negotiations between a union that represents film and TV workers and a major producers’ group.

“This situation is not about Dave Halls. … It’s in no way one person’s fault,” she said. “It’s a bigger conversation about safety on set and what we are trying to achieve with that culture.”

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Baldwin fired a prop gun Thursday on the New Mexico set of the film “Rust,” killing 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her.

The gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist, or “armorer,” had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to court records.

Halls grabbed a gun off a cart and handed it to Baldwin, indicating that the weapon was safe by yelling “cold gun,” court papers say. But it was loaded with live rounds, according to the records.

Goll said it should not have happened because there are “so many steps that you have to go through … that the possibility of it even getting there should be impossible.”

Rust Movie Productions has not answered repeated emails seeking comment.

Goll said in her email that Halls’ behavior on set has concerned her in the past.

She said that, during work on “Into the Dark,” Halls didn’t hold safety meetings and consistently failed to announce the presence of a firearm on set to the crew, as is protocol. The assistant prop master admonished Halls several times for dismissing the actors before they had returned weapons to the props table, she said.

She became most concerned, however, when the supervising pyrotechnician, who is diabetic, was found unconscious in a chair, she said.

Halls wanted to resume filming after the man was removed from the set even though Goll, the remaining pyrotechnician on site, didn’t have the qualifications to supervise the complicated series of pyrotechnic effects that were planned.

She filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Blumhouse Productions about that day, she said.

“To my knowledge nothing was done after my complaints,” she said in an email.

“I am gutted at not pushing harder for greater accountability and safety,” she wrote. “Many of us have messaged each other wondering the same thing: is there something we could have done then that would have prevented the tragedy?”

Information for this article was contributed by Jake Coyle, Jocelyn Noveck, Ryan Pearson, Walter Berry and Michelle Eaton of The Associated Press.

Facilities, that are not part of the actor Alec Baldwin production, are pictured at sunset in the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M. Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities were investigating. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Facilities, that are not part of the actor Alec Baldwin production, are pictured at sunset in the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M. Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities were investigating. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

A sign stands near the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.  An assistant director unwittingly handed actor 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 Friday show.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A sign stands near the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. An assistant director unwittingly handed actor 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 Friday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 17, 2002, file photo, items from the National Firearms Museum exhibit of guns and memorabilia used in movies, such as Clint Eastwood's gun and badge from "Dirty Harry," are shown at the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va. Guns used in making movies are sometimes real weapons that can fire either bullets or blanks, which are gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but no deadly projectile. Even blanks can eject hot gases and paper or plastic wadding from the barrel that can be lethal at close range. (AP Photo/Linda Spillers, File)

FILE – In this Wednesday, April 17, 2002, file photo, items from the National Firearms Museum exhibit of guns and memorabilia used in movies, such as Clint Eastwood’s gun and badge from "Dirty Harry," are shown at the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va. Guns used in making movies are sometimes real weapons that can fire either bullets or blanks, which are gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but no deadly projectile. Even blanks can eject hot gases and paper or plastic wadding from the barrel that can be lethal at close range. (AP Photo/Linda Spillers, File)

A sign offering film tours is seen at the entrance of the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M. Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities were investigating. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

A sign offering film tours is seen at the entrance of the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M. Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities were investigating. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

A TV news crew tapes a report at the entrance of the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M. Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities were investigating. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

A TV news crew tapes a report at the entrance of the Bonanza Creek Film Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M. Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western being filmed at the ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21, killing the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities were investigating. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

A musician plays a violin behind a photograph of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Hutchins was fatally shot on Thursday, Oct. 21, after an assistant director unwittingly handed actor Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use on the set of a Western filmed in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

A musician plays a violin behind a photograph of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil in her honor in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. Hutchins was fatally shot on Thursday, Oct. 21, after an assistant director unwittingly handed actor Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use on the set of a Western filmed in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

The Bonanza Creek Film Ranch is seen in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.  An assistant director unwittingly handed actor 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 Friday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Bonanza Creek Film Ranch is seen in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. An assistant director unwittingly handed actor 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 Friday show. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film "Rust" on the outskirts of Santa Fe, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, officials said. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after he was questioned about a shooting on the set of the film "Rust" on the outskirts of Santa Fe, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, officials said. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

A bouquet of flowers is left to honor cinematographer Halyna Hutchins outside the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Hutchins died after actor Alec Baldwin fired a fatal gunshot from a prop gun that he had been told was safe. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A bouquet of flowers is left to honor cinematographer Halyna Hutchins outside the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, N.M., Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Hutchins died after actor Alec Baldwin fired a fatal gunshot from a prop gun that he had been told was safe. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)



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