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‘You just blew my f—ing eardrums out!’ Rookie gun handler on Baldwin set previously reprimanded by Nicolas Cage

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Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the 24-year-old armorer who handled weapons on the “Rust” set, where actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza was the subject of numerous complaints on her previous film.

That’s according to The Wrap, which featured an interview with a crew member on the set of the film “The Old Way,” which stars Nicolas Cage.

Stu Brumbaugh, who served as key grip on the Western, told the online entertainment and media news website that Cage stormed off the set because Gutierrez failed to follow basic gun safety protocols like announcing the arrival and usage of weapons onto the set.

“Make an announcement, you just blew my f—ing eardrums out!” Cage screamed after Gutierrez fired a gun near the cast and crew for a second time in three days without warning, Brumbaugh recalled.

Infuriated over the incident, Cage reportedly walked off in a rage, with Brumbaugh saying he told the assistant director of Gutierrez, “She needs to be let go.”

“After the second round, I was pissed off. We were moving too fast. She’s a rookie,” the crew member said, adding that he then learned that it was her first movie in charge of weapons.

Gutierrez, who appears to have wiped any presence on social media, is the daughter of Thell Reed, a weapons expert and fast-draw exhibition shooter who is well known in Hollywood and has previously worked with actors like Brad Pitt, The Wrap reported.

A producer of “The Old Way” denied Brumbaugh’s account when reached by the website, and denied that anyone ever asked for the armorer’s dismissal.

“I have no such recollection of this event on our set. I asked my partners the same,” the producer said. “The details on some of these accounts specifically when it pertains to ‘The Old Way’ have been blown out of proportion.”

The producer also said Gutierrez worked underneath a veteran property master, Jeffrey W. Crow, who oversaw her work.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Crow defended his protégé and expressed “surprise” that the mishaps on the “Rust” set occurred “on her watch.”

“I told them there was no way any person could do props and armory on a gunfighter movie safely because there were too many guns,” Crow said. “All the armorers I know and tried to bring in were working already, so I left it up to producers. I had never heard about Hannah until I was informed she would be my armorer, but my skepticism of her initially, about her lack of experience, was allayed after I’d worked with her.”

“I had a lot of faith in her, and I still do,” he added. “I’m gonna be surprised if there was anything she was ultimately responsible for in all this, just seeing how she acted in the past. This is all such a surprise.”

The Wrap shared incidents that Brumbaugh confirmed, including:

  • Gutierrez-Reed walked onto the set with live rounds of blanks and no public announcement to the cast and crew, breaking established safety protocols.
  • She tucked pistols under her armpits and carried rifles in each hand that were ready to be used in a scene. Firearms were aimed at people. She turned around and the pistols that were tucked under her armpits were pointing back at people.
  • She twice fired guns on the set without giving any warning to the cast and crew, as required. The first time she was demonstrating the gun volume to see if the loud sound would startle the horses when without warning the gun went off.

 

There was also a report that the armorer gave a gun to an 11-year-old actress on the set without checking properly for safety. The Daily Beast reported that Gutierrez gave the gun to child actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong, forcing concerned crew members to intervene.

Gutierrez talked about being nervous on the “The Old Way” set on a recent  “Voices of the West” podcast, and called the process of loading blanks into firearms “the scariest thing.”

“It was also my first time being head armorer as well. You know, I was really nervous about it at first, and I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready,” she said. “But, doing it, like, it went really smoothly. The best part about my job is just showing people who are normally kind of freaked out by guns how safe they can be and how they’re not really problematic unless put in the wrong hands.”

Brumbaugh blamed movie producers looking to limit costs for hiring inexperienced people for critical roles on the set.

“It’s been happening more and more,” he told The Wrap. “As producers refuse to bring more experienced people because their rates are higher, they demand we take our time and (producers) don’t want to pay it. So they hire a newbie who is energetic and wants the job and will do it with less people.”

Some crew members of the film “Rust” said there were two accidental weapon discharges on the set before Baldwin’s apparent accidental shooting, and TMZ reported that the gun was used by crew members off-set for fun, having been fired at gatherings not connected to the production of the film,

The man who handed Baldwin the gun, declaring it to be “cold,” meaning it was not loaded with ammunition or blanks, was reportedly assistant director Dave Halls, not Gutierrez. Turns out, Halls had been previously fired from a movie set in 2019 after a crew member on the film “Freedom’s Path” incurred an injury from a prop gun.

“I can confirm that Dave Halls was fired from the set of ‘Freedom’s Path’ in 2019 after a crew member incurred a minor and temporary injury when a gun was unexpectedly discharged,” a producer from the film said in a statement.

“Halls was removed from set immediately after the prop gun discharged,” the producer added. “Production did not resume filming until Dave was off-site.”

In what the Los Angeles Times called a “grim coincidence,” Halls also worked on the sequel to The Crow, where 28-year-old Brandon Lee, son of martial artist legend Bruce Lee, was killed in 1993 after a co-star fired a prop gun that ignited a bullet fragment that became embedded in the barrel.

Tom Tillison

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