Dec 3, 2021
Alec Baldwin ABC Interview on Rust Film Shooting Transcript
Alec Baldwin participated in an interview on ABC News about the fatal shooting that took place on the set of Rust. Read the transcript of the full interview here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Phones are off. Let me get slate. Marker. Good. Great.
George Stephanopoulos: (00:06)
Alec, thank you for doing this. You haven’t said much in public since that tragic accident. Why speak out now?
Alec Baldwin: (00:15)
Well, I think that there’s a criminal investigation and that could be a while. There’s all kinds of civil litigation and I felt there were a number of misconceptions, most of it from sources I really wouldn’t concern myself about, but a couple that I did concern myself about where there were these authoritative statements of this is what happened. The Sheriff’s department hasn’t even released a report to the DA yet. The reason I wanted to sit down with you is because I really feel like I can’t wait for that process to end in February, March.
Alec Baldwin: (00:54)
I mean, I’m not asking them to speed it up for my benefit. That’s ridiculous. But I am saying that they’re going to do what they need to do and I wanted to come him to talk to you to say that I would go to any lengths to undo what happened. I would go to any lengths to undo what happened.
George Stephanopoulos: (01:08)
I think the big question and the one you must have asked yourself a thousand times, how could this have happened?
Alec Baldwin: (01:16)
Well, there’s two things I want to say about that. One is that when I talk about this, my concern is that I don’t sound like I’m the victim because there is a victim. There’s a woman who died and my friend got shot. He’s my friend. And she was a new friend. I met her and we worked together on some of the mapping out of what we’re going to do on the film. Which in the movie terms, if you go make with Scorsese, you and the DP don’t sit down and they solicit your ideas of how to make the film. You know what I mean?
Alec Baldwin: (01:49)
In the case of Halyna, we sat down collaboratively and talked a lot about what we wanted to do in that a precious amount of time we had. But, I want to make sure that I don’t come across like I’m the victim because we have two victims here. And the second thing is that all of what happened on that day leading up to this event was precipitated on one idea, and that is that Halyna and I had something profound in common and that as we both assumed the gun was empty other than those dummy rounds.
George Stephanopoulos: (02:20)
I want to get into more detail on the day in a minute, but let’s take a step back. What was it that drew you to this project in the first place, to Rust?
Alec Baldwin: (02:28)
I’d worked on a project with Joel before.
George Stephanopoulos: (02:30)
Joel Souza, the director.
Alec Baldwin: (02:30)
Right. He did this movie Crown Vic that I produced and Joel and I stayed in touch, were friends and I loved Rust. He said, “I want to send you this.” And I read it and I said, “I love it. I love it.”
George Stephanopoulos: (02:42)
Rust, a low budget Western, tells the story of an aging outlaw on the run with his young grandson. Baldwin, the film’s star, is also one of the producers.
Alec Baldwin: (02:51)
Very excited, very, very, so excited that we finally got this made because every independent film has many false starts. You know what I mean? And when it finally goes, you finally get, you feel like a plane. And when you finally get some lift under your wings, it’s very, very gratifying. I am a purely creative producer. My authorities as a producer are casting and script, which are actually married to the role of being a lead actor in a film.
George Stephanopoulos: (03:17)
So you’re not the kind of producer who’s looking at the line of each budget.
Alec Baldwin: (03:19)
No, no, no, no, no, no. There are basically two types of producers who are really in charge of production, people that raise the money and the people who spend the money. My consultations or approvals were completely about casting and about the script. I don’t hire anybody in the crew. I don’t …
George Stephanopoulos: (03:36)
Not even the cinematographer? No one?
Alec Baldwin: (03:37)
No, no, but he will apprise me of what he’s doing. And they’ll say to me, “I got Halyna Hutchins to be the DP. How do you feel about that? Are you excited?” I’m very excited. She’s wonderful.”
George Stephanopoulos: (03:46)
What did you know about Halyna Hutchins before she started working on this?
Alec Baldwin: (03:49)
I knew nothing about her until Joel said to me, I got her. She was fantastic.
George Stephanopoulos: (03:54)
Halyna Hutchins, the talented cinematographer praised by many in the industry was a trail blazer in the field historically dominated by men.
Halyna Hutchins: (04:02)
Make sure we don’t see people walking out, walking this way.
Speaker 5: (04:03)
George Stephanopoulos: (04:03)
The Ukrainian born cinematographer quickly gelled with Baldwin.
Alec Baldwin: (04:10)
The people who watched the daily said that her work was beautiful. She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with and liked by everyone who worked with and admired. I’m sorry. But admired by everybody who worked with her.
George Stephanopoulos: (04:44)
Rust’s 21 day production began filming on October 6th at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. The ranch has long been a favorite location for filming Westerns.
Speaker 6: (05:01)
We need a place to lay low.
Speaker 7: (05:02)
Things got a way of escalating out here in the West with one thing leading to another.
Alec Baldwin: (05:11)
The day that I flew there, they’d been shooting for a week already. I come the following week on the 11th. That night of the 11th, I had dinner with Halyna and Joel and we talked about some of the compositions I was of to …
George Stephanopoulos: (05:21)
That was the first time you met?
Alec Baldwin: (05:24)
First time I met Halyna, yeah.
George Stephanopoulos: (05:25)
What was your first impression?
Alec Baldwin: (05:27)
When I met her, I knew she had that spark. I knew she had that flint to her that she was going to get that day’s work done and get the shots that she wanted. She was very focused.
George Stephanopoulos: (05:37)
She had a vision for the film?
Alec Baldwin: (05:38)
She was very focused. We had a discussion about compositions of shots in which you were shooting these beautiful tableaus of the West. She had that intensity. Every day you went to work, she would say, “Good morning. How are you? How was your evening?” Boom. It was small talk, go. We weren’t going to hang out and chit chat or whatever. She knew that the clock was the enemy and we have to move forward.
George Stephanopoulos: (06:01)
Once on set, Baldwin posts this video.
Alec Baldwin: (06:05)
I want to say, I look at myself in the mirror and reflection of this and I’m really kind of appalled. It’s appalling, but we’re here shooting a film. We start tomorrow and no, I’m not playing Santa Claus. On the 12th, I had a safety demonstration with Hannah Reed, the armor.
George Stephanopoulos: (06:26)
24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, seen here in photos by the dailymail.com, was hired as the films armor in charge of all weapons on set. The daughter of a famous Hollywood armorer, Rust was only her second film in this role. She spoke to the Voices of the West podcast about working as lead armorer for her first film before Rust.
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed: (06:47)
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. But doing it, like it went really smoothly.
Alec Baldwin: (06:56)
We spent an hour and a half shooting the pistol, her giving me all her safety instruction.
George Stephanopoulos: (06:59)
Did you think she was up to the job?
Alec Baldwin: (07:02)
I assumed because she was there and she was hired, she was up for the job.
George Stephanopoulos: (07:08)
And nothing she did raise any red flags with you?
Alec Baldwin: (07:12)
George Stephanopoulos: (07:13)
This training course you do, what did she tell you?
Alec Baldwin: (07:16)
She’d say things like “Remember this is a blank round, so you have to create the discharge yourself because there’s no projectile.” So if you shot the gun, you go bang. When we roll the camera, you got to go bang and have the gun snap back. You have to create that. She would give you little tips about firing, and she’d say to you, “When we’re done, point the gun down. When we’re done, you give the gun to me or to Halls,” so only those two people.
George Stephanopoulos: (07:39)
Dave Halls was Rust’s assistant director, also known as the first AD. Seen here in this IMDB photo, he was responsible for keeping the production on schedule.
Alec Baldwin: (07:50)
Sometimes we would be on a set that was a very, very cramped set and they wanted people in that room on an as needed basis. If I’m holding the gun and they say, cut, I then hand the gun to Halls, if she’s not there.
George Stephanopoulos: (08:03)
Yeah. Why Halls, not Hannah? Some people have said that only the armor should be handling.
Alec Baldwin: (08:07)
No, no, no, no, no, no. That’s inaccurate. Meaning, in the protocols of the business, meaning Hannah would hand me the gun 99% of the time, whatever, the preponderance of the time. But when we would say cut, if Hannah was away from the set, I would hand Halls the gun.
George Stephanopoulos: (08:24)
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had a dual role on set, armorer and she was also the assistant prop master for the film. One of the things her attorney has said is that she was hired for two positions on the film and therefore was stretched in an inappropriate way. Did she raise any of those concerns with you?
Alec Baldwin: (08:41)
No. I assume that everyone who’s shooting a lower budget film is stretched, myself included. And I got no complaints from her or the prop department. I’m not sitting there when I’m getting dressed and ready to go do a scene, saying “Oh my God, the prop woman seemed very harried today.” I didn’t get a sense of that from any of the people on the film. The first time I heard that there was any problem with anybody in the crew of the film was when Luper said, “Well, we have some issues here.”
George Stephanopoulos: (09:14)
Lane Luper, the first camera assistant, would email production managers a resignation letter later that night, citing safety concerns. “During the filming of gun fights on this job, things are often played very fast and loose. So far there have been two accidental weapons discharges.” He also wrote about concerns about reasonable rest and housing for local crew with long commutes to the set.
Alec Baldwin: (09:38)
When he quit, now the day before that happened, we wrapped and he came up to me and he said, “Thank you for the position you’ve taken on behalf of IATSE and the union on social media.” I said, “My pleasure.”
George Stephanopoulos: (09:50)
This photo posted by Halyna showed the cast and crew in solidarity with IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which had been on the verge of a strike, and Alec posted this on Instagram.
Alec Baldwin: (10:03)
And I’m going to say to the people in IATSE, do what you need to do. You want to go on strike, go on strike. Because I’ll tell you something about the executives, they don’t give up about [inaudible 00:10:14] you. He said, “Because we have some issues here.” I said, “Such as?’ And he said, “My men need a better hotel room.” There was no mention of safety issues.
George Stephanopoulos: (10:25)
He didn’t say anything about the accidental discharges on set?
Alec Baldwin: (10:27)
He didn’t say anything about anything other. He goes, “My men need better hotel rooms.” I said, “Well, we’re leaving. We’re wrapping. Will you be here tomorrow?” He said, “Yes.” Because what I was about to do, which I’ve done on any number of films and TV projects, was to give more of my salary back to the production to pay for X. And I was about to say to him, “Let me know what it would be to b&b you guys in a house that’s closer to the, how we can address your problem. I will be happy to contribute to that.” The next day they were gone.
George Stephanopoulos: (10:58)
So you had no sense from anyone on the set that people had been stretched to the point where safety was compromised?
Alec Baldwin: (11:05)
No. No. I never heard one word about that. None. None.
George Stephanopoulos: (11:09)
Rust producers told ABC News, “Mr. Luper’s allegations around budget and safety are patently false, which is not surprising considering his job was to be a camera operator, and he had absolutely nothing to do with or knowledge of safety protocols or budgets. Safety is always the number one priority on our films.”
Alec Baldwin: (11:28)
When people say cutting costs, I don’t say this with any judgment or any cynicism, Spielberg wants to save money. Tom Cruise wants to save money. Everybody who makes movies has a responsibility not to be reckless and careless with the money that you’re given. We know those are men who make movies that cost $205 million. And I’m making movies that cost $5 million or thereabout.
George Stephanopoulos: (11:52)
The question though is were cost being cut at the expense of safety and security?
Alec Baldwin: (11:56)
In my opinion, no, because I did not observe any safety or security issues at all in the time I was there.
George Stephanopoulos: (12:07)
Thursday, October 21st, Baldwin posted a photo of himself in costume on Instagram. “Back to in person at the office. Blimey … it’s exhausting.” That morning, Luper and six other crew members walked off the set. Filming continued with a replacement camera crew. Scene 118 in the church was slated for after lunch.
Alec Baldwin: (12:28)
Everybody there was having a positive experience. People who are watching this show, people who [inaudible 00:12:37] you have no idea how unique an environment a motion picture set is. It’s kind of there’s an instant familiarity. The amount of care. These are people who are professionals who have really good jobs in a field they love. And I looked at all these people and I see how hard they work. They’re so hard working and they’re so conscientious and you’re around people and you’re part of one of the great collaborative processes in the world, movie making.
Alec Baldwin: (13:09)
Everyone moving like a watch to get everything done. And when you kind of … I don’t make that many movies anymore because movie making demanded that I travel and I didn’t want to leave my family. All these movies I made, I stayed home. I didn’t want to go. If I went away, I went away for a week. To leave my family for four weeks and go shoot this movie, that was a big deal. And I’m sitting on this pew, and so help me, God, I sat on that pew right before they called lunch and I said, “This movie has made me love making movies again.”
Alec Baldwin: (13:41)
Because I used to love to make movies. I did. I worked with people once. I was going to do the movie, The Edge, and they called me and said they got Tony Hopkins to do the film. What do you make of it?
Speaker 9: (13:59)
Yeah. look, if we here.
Alec Baldwin: (14:00)
And I started sobbing. I just started sobbing. Because I thought, “Oh God, I’m going to have a chance to work with this guy.” Any chance he could go easy on me. When they cast me in It’s Complicated with Meryl, I thought “I’m going to get to go make a movie with her.” Sorry. People, they have their dreams, no matter how old you are, you have your dreams of people you want to work with and this movie made me love making movies again. I really thought we were onto something.
George Stephanopoulos: (14:40)
Alec Baldwin: (14:41)
She goes down. I thought to myself, “Did she faint?”
George Stephanopoulos: (00:13)
It was the 12th day of their 21 day shoot.
Alec Baldwin : (00:17)
That day I did exactly what I’ve done every day on that movie.
George Stephanopoulos: (00:23)
Baldwin was preparing for his next scene, a shootout inside this wooden church. Set the scene right before that happened. You’re sitting in a pew in the church, what’s the scene supposed to be?
Alec Baldwin : (00:39)
The scene is the two guys are there who have got me cornered and they think I’m shot pretty bad, and I’m wilting and they have a gun and then the sound outside distracts them. And I would then draw the gun across draw out of my holster, pull the gun up like that and start to cock the pistol cut. I’m handed a gun and someone declares, I said, “This is a cold gun.”
George Stephanopoulos: (01:02)
Alec Baldwin : (01:02)
The [inaudible 00:01:04]. In my years on the sets of film, hot gun meant that there was a charge in there and cold gun meant there was nothing in there. When he’s saying, “This is a cold gun,” what he’s saying to everybody on the set is you can relax, the gun is empty.
George Stephanopoulos: (01:18)
That’s what cold gun means?
Alec Baldwin : (01:19)
Well, cold gun means there’s no charge in there. There could be dummy rounds.
George Stephanopoulos: (01:22)
A dummy round looks like a real bullet, but it’s completely in [inaudible 00:01:26]. It contains no explosive charge. And you were rehearsing that scene. Was it an actual rehearsal? There’s some disagreement about that whether it was a formal rehearsal at that time.
Alec Baldwin : (01:36)
This is a marking rehearsal where I’m going to show her, she’s standing next to the camera. She’s like this, you are me. She’s got a monitor here. The camera is here filming that way. She takes a monitor that is his monitor the operator and turns it toward her. It swivels and she says to me, “Hold the gun lower, go to your right. Okay, right there. All right, do that. Now, show it a little bit lower.” And she’s getting me to position the gun. Everything is in her direction. She’s guiding me through how she wants me to hold the gun for this angle. And I draw the gun out and I find a mark, I draw the gun out, cut. And what’s really urgent is the gun wasn’t meant to be fired in that angle.
George Stephanopoulos: (02:13)
So if you’re shooting directly into the camera lens, you’re not aiming.
Alec Baldwin : (02:17)
I’m not shooting into the camera lens, I’m shooting just off.
George Stephanopoulos: (02:19)
Alec Baldwin : (02:20)
Right. In her direction. I’m holding the gun where she told me to hold it, which ended up being aimed right below her armpit is what I was told. I don’t know. This was a completely incidental shot, an angle that may not have ended up in the film at all, but we kept doing this. So then I said to her, “Now in this scene, I’m going to the gun.” And I said, “Do you want to see that?” And she said, “Yes.” So I take the gun and I start to cock the gun. I’m not going to pull the trigger.
Alec Baldwin : (02:45)
I said, “Do you see that?” She goes, “Well, just cheat it down and tilt it down a little bit like that.” And I cock the gun, I go, “Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that? And then I let go of the hammer of the gun and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off.
George Stephanopoulos: (02:59)
At the moment?
Alec Baldwin : (03:00)
That was the moment the gun went off. Yeah. That was the moment the gun went off.
George Stephanopoulos: (03:03)
It wasn’t in the script for the trigger to be pulled?
Alec Baldwin : (03:07)
Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled, I didn’t pull the trigger.
George Stephanopoulos: (03:08)
So you never pulled the trigger?
Alec Baldwin : (03:10)
No, no, no, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them, never. Never. That was the training that I had. You don’t point a gun at me and pull the trigger. On day one of my instruction in this business, people said to me, “Never take a gun and go click, click, click, click, click. Because even though it’s incremental, you damage the firing pin on the gun if you do that, don’t do that.”
George Stephanopoulos: (03:28)
And Hall’s attorney told ABC News that he was watching and agrees that Alec did not pull the trigger and that his finger was outside the trigger guard. So you have this Colt 45, you just pulled …
Alec Baldwin : (03:40)
The hammer as far back as I could without cocking the actual [inaudible 00:03:43].
George Stephanopoulos: (03:42)
And you’re holding onto the hammer?
Alec Baldwin : (03:44)
I’m holding it. I’m just showing her. I go, “How about that? Does that work? Do you see that? Do you see that?” She goes, “Yeah, that’s good.” I let go of the hammer. Bang, the gun goes off. Everyone is horrified. They’re shocked. It’s loud. They don’t have their earplugs in. The gun was supposed to be empty. I was told I was handed an empty gun. If there were cosmetic rounds, nothing with a charge at all, a flash round, nothing. She goes down. I thought to myself, “Did she faint?” The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me until probably 45 minutes to an hour later.
George Stephanopoulos: (04:25)
45 minutes to an hour?
Alec Baldwin : (04:26)
Well, she’s laying there and I go, “Did [inaudible 00:04:29]? Was there a blank?” Sometimes those blank rounds have a wadding inside that packs a cough that packs the gun powder. And sometimes wadding comes out and can hit people and it could feel like a little bit of a poke. But no one could understand. Did she have a heart attack? Because remember the idea that someone put a live bullet in the gun was not even in reality.
George Stephanopoulos: (04:48)
Did you go up to her or did you back away?
Alec Baldwin : (04:50)
I went up to her and then we were immediately were told to get out of the building. We were forced to get out of the building. The medics came in. I mean, I stood over her for 60 seconds and she just laid there in shock.
George Stephanopoulos: (04:59)
Was she conscious?
Alec Baldwin : (05:01)
My recollection is yes.
Speaker 3: (05:05)
911, what’s the location of your emergency?
Speaker 4: (05:08)
We need an ambulance out the Bonanza Creek Ranch right now. We’ve got two people shot on a movie set accidentally.
Speaker 3: (05:14)
I’ll connect you with a medical dispatcher, don’t hang up.
George Stephanopoulos: (05:17)
Director. Joel Souza is also wounded. His shoulder hit by the same bullet that traveled through Halyna.
Alec Baldwin : (05:23)
When she went down, he went down and he was screaming really loudly. And I thought, “What happened?”
Speaker 3: (05:31)
So was it loaded with a real bullet or?
Speaker 4: (05:33)
I cannot tell you that.
Speaker 3: (05:35)
Speaker 4: (05:36)
We have two injuries from a movie gun shot.
Speaker 3: (05:40)
Okay. We’re getting them out there ready, just stay on the phone with me.
Alec Baldwin : (05:45)
Within 15 minutes or 20 minutes after that the police arrived and took the church set and put the crime tape around it, the yellow tape and forced us all to the perimeters of the parking area where we sat and waited. She was in the church and she was not taken out of the church for quite a while.
George Stephanopoulos: (06:01)
In the aftermath, there was chaos and confusion. But nobody told you what happened?
Alec Baldwin : (06:07)
No, no, it wasn’t until I was in the police station hours later. I mean, it was like seeing aliens. It was utter disbelief over the idea. It was unacceptable the idea that it was a live round. And finally, one of the police officers at the conclusion of my interview, I was there for an hour and a half or so, she takes her phone and she slides it across to me, she says, “That’s what came out of Joel’s shoulder, a 45 caliber slug,” it was a real bullet.
George Stephanopoulos: (06:34)
Had you known that Joel had been hit?
Alec Baldwin : (06:36)
No one had any idea until that police officer, that Sheriff’s officer said to me, “This is the slug 45 caliber slug they took out of Joel’s arm.” And then the insanity inducing agony of thinking that someone put a live bullet in the gun.
Speaker 1: (00:02)
Tonight, breaking news.
George Stephanopoulos: (00:04)
A fatal shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s new movie in New Mexico.
Speaker 3: (00:07)
Something went horribly wrong here in Santa Fe.
George Stephanopoulos: (00:12)
We’ve all seen that picture of you off the set in that hour or so after the gun went off, what were you doing? What was going through your mind?
Alec Baldwin: (00:23)
She was laying there and she was there for a while. I was amazed at how long, they didn’t get her in a car and get her up, but they waited and a helicopter came. And by the time the helicopter took off with her and literally lifted off, we were all glued to that process outside. When she finally left, I don’t know how long it was she was there, 30 minutes, 40 minutes. It seemed like a very long time. But they kept saying, “well, she’s stable.” Nobody, just as you disbelieved that there was a live round in the gun, you disbelieved that this was going to be a fatal accident.
George Stephanopoulos: (01:04)
So you didn’t know exactly how serious it was?
Alec Baldwin: (01:06)
At the very end of my interview with the sheriff’s department, they said to me, “We regret to tell you that she didn’t make it. She died.” They told me right then and there. And that’s when I went in the parking lot and called my wife to talk to my wife.
George Stephanopoulos: (01:19)
Shock and grief. Halyna’s husband, Matthew, posted a tribute to Halyna, “Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words. Our loss is enormous…”
Alec Baldwin: (01:34)
When this happened, her husband comes to town, her husband, Matthew. And I met with him and their son, and he was as kind as you could be.
George Stephanopoulos: (01:55)
What can you possibly say to him?
Alec Baldwin: (01:58)
I didn’t know what to say. He hugged me and he goes, “I suppose you and I are not going to go through this together,” he said. And I thought, “Well, not as much as you are,” and his little boy is there, who’s nine years old. I have six kids now, I have my older daughter, Ireland, but of the six kids that Hilaria and I have, my oldest is eight. I have a nine month old baby. And I think to myself, “This little boy doesn’t have a mother anymore.”
Alec Baldwin: (02:26)
And I know that in my life, I’m with my kids and I’m doing quite well with my kids. My kids and I are having a great time, right until my wife walks in the room, and then I become invisible. My kids all go and they jump on top of their mother. And this boy doesn’t have a mother anymore. And there’s nothing we can do to bring her back. And I told him, I said, “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to convey to you how sorry I am and how I’m willing to do anything I can to cooperate.”
George Stephanopoulos: (03:04)
In the aftermath of the shooting, a torrent of criticism.
Speaker 5: (03:09)
The first thing you do when you pick up that gun is you make sure that it’s never pointed at anybody.
Speaker 6: (03:17)
He should have known that an AD handing you a gun and saying it’s cold, isn’t the same as several people showing you an empty gun.
Speaker 7: (03:23)
If I were holding that gun, I would’ve checked it. Wouldn’t you?
Speaker 8: (03:26)
Alec Baldwin: (03:28)
People said to me, I got countless people online saying, “You idiot. You never point a gun at someone.” Well, unless you’re told it’s empty and it’s the director of photography who’s instructing you on the angle for a shot we’re going to do. And she and I had this thing in common where we both thought it was empty and it wasn’t, and that’s not her responsibility, that’s not my responsibility. Whose responsibility it is, remains to be seen. But I-
George Stephanopoulos: (03:56)
But there are some who say you’re never supposed to point a gun at anyone on a set, no matter what.
Alec Baldwin: (04:04)
Unless the person is the cinematographer who’s directing me where to point the gun for her camera angle, that’s exactly what happened. That day, I did exactly what I’ve done every day on that movie-
George Stephanopoulos: (04:15)
Which is what?
Alec Baldwin: (04:16)
Which is that there’s an armorer there, and that word is new to me in the years I’ve been in this business-
George Stephanopoulos: (04:22)
What did you call it?
Alec Baldwin: (04:22)
It was a prop guy or a woman, and the prop person would come and sometimes they would insist on demonstrating for you and the camera crew. They’d take the gun, if it was a contemporary gun, they’d show you the chamber. They’d show you the clip. They’d say, “The gun is cold.” And you look at it and go, “Thank you.” And in the 40 years-
George Stephanopoulos: (04:38)
Sometimes that would happen, not all the time.
Alec Baldwin: (04:42)
But no, sometimes they wouldn’t demonstrate to me, some insisted on demonstrating. They would do the demonstration for everybody there right before we rolled the camera or rehearsed. Then there were others who they didn’t do that because I trusted them to do the job. And again, this is not just me pointing a gun at somebody else, people pointing guns at me. I’ve gotten shot and killed in films before where people had to shoot a flash round at me and I trusted them to do their job. And in the 40 years I’ve been in this business all the way up until that day, I never had a problem.
George Stephanopoulos: (05:13)
How many times do you think you handled a gun in those 40 years?
Alec Baldwin: (05:15)
Oh God, I don’t know. I don’t know. What amazes me is how many bullets, how many rounds of bullets do you believe have been fired on the sets of movies and TV shows in the last 75 years?
George Stephanopoulos: (05:27)
Alec Baldwin: (05:27)
Right. It could even be above a billion. You’ve had hundreds and hundreds of millions of bullets fired on the sets of films and TV shows, and four or five people were killed. Now those deaths are tragic and abhorrent. And believe me, I would do anything in my power. I would do anything in my power to undo what was done. That I don’t know how that bullet arrived in that gun, I don’t know. But, I’m all for doing anything that will take us to a place where this is less likely to happen again.
George Clooney: (06:02)
Every single time I’m handed a gun on a set, every time, Mark. They hand me a gun, I look at it, I open it. I show it to the person I’m pointing it to. We show it to the crew. Every single take. You hand it back to the armor, when you’re done, you do it again. Everyone does it. Everybody knows it.
George Stephanopoulos: (06:17)
How do you respond to actors like George Clooney who say that every time they were handed a gun, they checked it themselves.
Alec Baldwin: (06:22)
Well, there were a lot of people who felt it necessary to contribute some comment to the situation, which really didn’t help the situation, at all. If your protocol is you checked the gun every time, well, good for you. Good for you. I probably handled weapons as much as any other actor in films with an average career. Again, shooting or being shot by someone, and in that time, I had a protocol and it never let me down.
George Stephanopoulos: (06:48)
Why did you choose in your 40 years not to check the gun yourself?
Alec Baldwin: (06:53)
What I was taught by someone years ago was as I said, if I took a gun and I popped a clip out of a gun, or I manipulated the chamber of a gun, they would take the gun away from me and redo it. The prop person said, “Don’t do that,” when I was young. And they’d say, “One thing you would need to understand is we don’t want the actor to be the last line or defense against a catastrophic breach of safety with the gun. My job,” they told me, man or woman, “My job is to make sure the gun is safe, and then I hand you the gun and I declare the gun safe.” The crew’s not relying on you to say that it’s safe. They’re relying on me to say that it’s safe. When that person who was charged with that job handed me the weapon, I trusted them, and I never had a problem-
George Stephanopoulos: (07:34)
And this was from the beginning of your career?
Alec Baldwin: (07:36)
From day one. There’s one person that’s supposed to make sure that what is in the gun is right, and that what’s wrong is not in the gun. One person has that responsibility to maintain the gun, and-
George Stephanopoulos: (07:47)
What is the actor’s responsibility?
Alec Baldwin: (07:52)
I guess that’s a tough question because the actor’s responsibility going this day forward is very different than it was the day before that, now I can’t… First of all, I can’t imagine that I’d ever do a movie that had a gun in it again, I can’t. When you say, what is the actor’s responsibility? The actor’s responsibility is to do what the prop armorer tells them to do. And we did not have a problem. I understand there was an accidental discharge at one point on the set of a blank round, but we did not have a problem for me until that day. Everything gets slowed down as a pruder of film ask here. And the issue with that is there’s only one question to be resolved, only one. That is where did the live round come from?