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ABC’s ‘The Rookie’ bans live weapons after Alec Baldwin incident

Halyna Hutchins, photographed at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019
Halyna Hutchins, photographed at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019, was killed in an incident on a film set.
(Fred Hayes / Getty Images)

ABC’s popular procedural “The Rookie” has banned the firing of real guns on the show after a fatal accident Thursday on a movie set in New Mexico.

Shaken up by the events, Alexi Hawley, the showrunner on the cop drama starring Nathan Fillion as a Los Angeles Police Department newcomer, wrote to crew members Friday with the new policy, according to an email seen by The Times.

“There will be no more ‘live’ weapons on the show,” he said, while urging the crew to report anything that made them feel unsafe. Instead, replica toy guns will be used, with computer-generated muzzle flashes added in postproduction, he said.

So far it appears to be the first show to implement such a policy that’s airing on Disney-owned ABC network.

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Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer killed on set of an Alec Baldwin movie, was going to be ‘very famous,’ a director who worked with her said.


The change comes after actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the low-budget film “Rust” on Thursday. Prop guns used in films can either be dummy guns or real guns that can fire blanks. They are typically modified to limit what can be shot from the gun. Even with these modifications, Hollywood history has seen deaths as the result of gun accidents, including the deaths of Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum.

Two police holding guns
Nathan Fillion and Alyssa Diaz in “The Rookie” on ABC. The show has banned the firing of real guns after the Alec Baldwin accident.
(ABC)

As the events around the fatal shooting in New Mexico Thursday ripple through the film industry, it has shaken up crew members who have been calling for better working conditions in what is typically a tightknit community.

“The safety of our cast and crew is too important,” Hawley wrote in an email first reported on by the Hollywood Reporter. “Any risk is too much risk.”

The accident has raised the question from many filmmakers about how necessary live weapons are on sets, given how convincing modern special effects can be. Craig Zobel, who directed HBO’s “Mare of Easttown,” tweeted Friday that blanks should be outlawed in favor of special effects. He added that the gunshots on his hit detective series were digital.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars, was killed on the set of ‘Rust.’ Here’s everything we know so far.


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