Effective immediately, no “live” weapons will be used on the set of ABC’s The Rookie, showrunner Alexi Hawley announced in a staff memo on Friday.
On Thursday, a tragic accident on the set of the low-budget Western Rust resulted in the wounding of its director and the death of its cinematographer. Star Alec Baldwin unwittingly fired what turned out to be a loaded prop gun. Details are still emerging and an in-house investigation is under way. But the news sent shock waves across the industry, and in the aftermath, one show has already taken extra safety precautions.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, The Rookie — the police procedural about a divorcee (Nathan Fillion) who joins the LAPD in his 40s — was banning any “live” weapons from the set:
Showrunner Alexi Hawley led the charge for the change as sources say he informed ABC executives that production would no longer be using quarter or half loads while filming the Nathan Fillion-led drama. The series has, over the past two seasons, primarily used CGI to portray muzzle flashes but occasionally used “live” weapons on “big, outside set pieces.” That policy ended Friday as Hawley sent a memo to staff, exclusively obtained by THR, outlining the changes designed to improve the safety on the set of the Entertainment One and ABC Signature series.
“As of today, it is now policy on The Rookie that all gunfire on set will be with Air Soft guns with CG muzzle flashes added in post,” Hawley wrote in the memo (read it in full, below). “There will be no more ‘live’ weapons on the show. The safety of our cast and crew is too important. Any risk is too much risk.”
The show uses what are called Air Soft guns, which THR says are “effectively BB guns that use a form of pellet instead of bullets, meaning they produce less energy than a gun.” They also look identical to real guns. The Rookie has long used “a mix of guns with mostly quarter loads or Air Soft guns with CGI muzzle flashes added in postproduction.”
The incident on the Santa Fe set of Rust led to director Joel Souza being wounded and its cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, being killed. Baldwin, who fired the gun, is cooperating with police. Souza, who was shot in the shoulder, told Deadline, “I am gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague, Halyna. She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better.”
Hutchins’ husband, Matt Hutchins, posted a statement about his loss on Twitter.
Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words. Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family’s privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life. pic.twitter.com/LgEp4XVkja
— Matt Hutchins (@mhutchins) October 23, 2021
“Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words,” he wrote. “Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family’s privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life.”
Why were ‘live’ weapons used to begin with.