A camera crew member on the Western flick “Rust” who resigned the day before Alec Baldwin’s deadly shooting – claiming safety procedures were “fast and loose” — on Wednesday called the tragedy the result of a “perfect storm.”
“What I put in my resignation letter was lax COVID policies, the housing situation driving to and from Albuquerque, and specifically, gun safety, a lack of rehearsals, a lack of preparing the crew for what we were doing that day,” camera first assistant Lane Luper said on “Good Morning America.”
Baldwin, who also served as producer on the film, on Tuesday defended working conditions on the set by sharing several screenshots of remarks by Terese Magpale Davis, who worked in the wardrobe department for the movie.
Davis pushed back against allegations that camera crew members were told during the second week of production that they would no longer get nearby hotel rooms in Santa Fe.
She denied that safety was compromised on location, despite union members walking off the set just hours before Baldwin fired the .45-caliber Colt revolver, according to text messages obtained by The Post.
And she also insisted that multiple safety meetings had been held, but Lane denied her claims Wednesday.
“Even the producers have said that they only had three safety meetings by the time I left the show and that included the day of the shooting,” he said, according to Fox News.
“I only personally remember two safety meetings that involved the entire crew. If there was a safety meeting I was left out of it if there were any more than the two,” Lane added.
Lane previously told the Los Angeles Times that “it always felt like the budget was more important than crew members. Everything was about the schedule and the budget.”
In his “GMA” interview, he said he wasn’t speaking out for “personal gain,” as some have suggested.
“I’m kind of sticking my neck out here. I don’t want to be on camera. I have a pretty unique perspective in that it’s important that I be a part of safety as the head of the camera department for protecting the camera, protecting the camera operators, knowing what the shot is,” he said.
“It’s very important that I play a role in safety,” added Lane, who called the tragic shooting that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and director Joel Souza injured the result of a “perfect storm.”
He claimed that safety bulletins “were ignored and not attached to the call sheets which they’re supposed to be. Unfortunately, that’s what led to a breakdown here.”
Lane said “a lot of things have to go wrong” to lead to such a tragedy.
“The very first sentence in the very first safety bulletin about firearm safety is there shall never be live rounds anywhere on a studio lot or stage or set. It’s so unheard of,” he said.
“I think with ‘Rust’ it was a perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing, it was everything,” Lane continued. “It wasn’t just one individual. Everything had to fall into place perfectly for this one-in-a-trillion thing to happen.”
Some crew members had expressed concerns over a lack of experience by 24-year-old head armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was working on only her second film in that capacity.
David Halls, the assistant director who reportedly handed the revolver to Baldwin, has told police he should have checked all the rounds to make sure they were not live.
But attorney Lisa Torraco told Fox News on Monday that he was not responsible for making sure the .45-caliber Colt was a “cold gun,” a production term that means the weapon doesn’t contain live rounds and is safe for rehearsal.
Luper told producers in his resignation email obtained by NBC News that safety procedures were “fast and loose” when shooting gunfights.
“So far there have been 2 accidental weapons discharges and 1 accidental SFX explosives that have gone off around the crew between takes… To be clear there are NO safety meetings these days,” Luper wrote, according to the network.
“There have been NO explanations as to what to expect for these shots. When anyone from production is asked we are usually met with the same answers about not having enough time to complete the day if we rehearse or that ‘this is a 21 day shoot,’” he reportedly added.
A source close to the production told the outlet that during the first 10 days of productions, three safety meetings had been held, including one on the day of the fatal shooting.