At the Academy Museum in Los Angeles, visitors can see the most iconic props from some of their favorite films. You can catch a glimpse of Rocky Balboa’s boxing gloves, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz, and the original R2D2 from the Star Wars films. Film props come in all sizes, shapes, and varieties, but you’ll never expect these incongruous objects to actually be dangerous. They’re props, after all. How could a facsimile pose any real-world threat? Well, simply put, sometimes accidents happen, and people hurt – especially when those props are weapons.
On Thursday, October 21, 2021, at approximately 1:50 pm Mountain Time, actor and producer Alec Baldwin discharges a prop gun. The result is the death of one crew member and injuring another while on the set of the film ‘Rust’.
The accidental shooting takes place at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. A site that uses for Western film and television show productions.
The director of photography Halyna Hutchins needs to rush to surgery because of her injuries, but she didn’t make it. Hutchins was only 42 years old and was both a wife and mother. The director of the film, Joel Souza, rushes to the hospital and receives emergency care but releases later that evening.
Alec Baldwin made his first public statement after the shooting on Friday. He shared that he was heartbroken and that he had no words that could convey his shock or sadness. He is cooperating with the police investigation to address how it occurs and that he’s in contact with Hutchin’s husband.
It’s not clear how the accident happens, but it’s not the first time on a Hollywood set. Join us as we take a look at incidents where actors and crew members die or are injured by prop weapons.
Brandon Lee On The Set Of The Crow
One of the infamous film accidents occur on the set of the cult Gothic superhero film The Crow in 1993. Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, dies when a prop gun, misfires and strikes him in the stomach.
The scene that films when the accident involves Lee’s character walking in on a group of gang members as they are murdering his fiancee on the eve before the couple’s wedding day. When the killers saw Lee, they suppose to shoot him. Reportedly a series of unfortunate yet preventable mistakes lead to the dummy cartridge jam in the barrel of the gun.
Michael Massee is the actor that fires the gun at Lee. And because the cartridge strikes in the barrel, it fires just as an actual gun will be. Lee rushes to a nearby hospital and underwent several hours of surgery, but sadly he didn’t make it. The rest of the movie needs to complete using a stunt double and using CGI.
Jon-Erik Hexum On The Set Of Cover-Up
On October 12, 1984, the cast and crew of the CBS series Cover Up, shooting the seventh episode entitled ‘Golden Opportunity’ at the 20th Century Fox lot. Hexum’s character requires to load bullets into a .44 Magnum handgun, and he receives a functional gun and some blanks.
After the scene didn’t play out as the director would have liked, there was a brief delay in filming. Hexum became irritable and restless and began horsing around to help lighten up the mood. At one point, he unloaded the gun except for one blank round and pretended to play Russian Roulette. After spinning it, he put the gun to his head and pulls the trigger. He is unaware that he put himself in great danger. Though prop weapons don’t actually shoot real rounds, they still release a tremendous amount of energy.
When Hexum discharged the prop gun, the blank cartridge managed to exert enough force to shatter a quarter-sized section of his skull and lodged those pieces into his brain resulting in severe hemorrhaging.
Hexum rushes to Beverly Hills Medical Center, where he underwent extensive surgery attempting to repair his wounds. Sadly, just six days after the incident on October 18, 1984, Hexum declares brain dead.
Hexum’s organs donates to people in need and ended up saving several lives.
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Vic Morrow On The Set Of The Twilight Zone
In 1982, Morrow, who was previously one of the leads on the ABC drama series Combat!, is cast in a starring role in Twilight Zone: The Movie. Morrow is set to portray Bill Connor, a racist bigot who travels back in time and is put into a variety of situations where he will persecute victims of intolerance and hate.
In the early morning of July 23, 1982, while on location in California in a place known as Indian Dunes not far from Santa Clarita. Morrow and two other actors perform in a scene in which their characters will attempt to escape a deserted village in Vietnam as they are pursued by a U.S. Army helicopter.
The helicopter was reportedly hovering just 24 feet above them when the flames of a pyrotechnic explosion damaged the copter’s rotor blades, causing it to come crashing down on top of Morrow and the other two actors killing all three of them instantly. Morrow and seven-year actor Myca Dinh Le decapitate and are torn apart by the helicopter blades, while six-year-old Renee Shin-Yi Chen rushes to death by a helicopter skid.
While a helicopter might not at first seem like a weapon, the fact that it is to portray a military craft that is actively in pursuit of three Vietnamese civilians certainly makes for a strong case that it was indeed an implement of destruction.
The parents of Chen and Le sue the film studio, and the case settles out of court for an undisclosed amount of money. Morrow’s daughters also sued the studio and settled out of court.
Antonio Velasco Gutierrez On The Set Of Revenge Of The Scorpion
Gutierrez might not be a name that you recognize, but he was an extra that worked in Mexico’s direct-to-video film industry. He dies after strikes twice by real .38 caliber handgun bullets while filming a scene for the film Revenge of the Scorpion on August 16, 2003.
He was 42 when he died. The gun supposes to load with blanks, but somehow real bullets end up in its chamber.
The film’s property master, who goes by the name ‘The Brush’, wants an interview by law enforcement after fleeing the scene after the shooting.
Brendan Fletcher On The Set Of The TV Series Cardinal
Fletcher hospitalizes when hit in the throat by a gun that supposes to be empty of blanks but obviously, it isn’t. The accident happens when Fletcher’s character on the Canadian TV series supposes to be hit in the mouth. The actor ended up suffering a laceration and burn to his mouth, jaw, and throat area. The blank that fires no paper or plastic wadding.
Daigo Kashino On The Set Of A Japanese Play
Kashino and a fellow actor are rehearsing a scene from a play they are both set to appear in when he is hit in the stomach with a samurai sword. He rushes to the hospital, but sadly he later died. He was only 33.
When he pierces through the abdomen, reportedly, the other actors heard him let out a low groan. When they turned to look at him, they discovered him hunched over, bleeding profusely. Frustratingly, no one saw what exactly happened.
Harry Barnes On The Set Of The General
Barnes was the assistant director on the 1926 Buster Keaton feature The General. He strikes in the face with a blank round while filming In Oregon. Luckily he isn’t in close range when the weapon discharges and isn’t injured very badly.
Barnes got lucky once again when he survived an incident that involved a prop cannon that discharged while he was standing too close. He knocks unconscious but makes a full recovery.
Charles Chandler On The Set Of The Captive
Chandler is an extra who dies when he strikes in the head with a rifle while filming Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 film The Captive. The gun supposes to be loaded with blanks but still lives round in its chamber.
The accident happened while filming a scene where a group of soldiers shot down the door. DeMille had them use live rounds for the first shot but then instructed them to swap out their rounds for blanks – that’s when the deadly mix-up happened.
Now, some of these accidents from long ago make a little bit more sense. After all, they probably didn’t have nearly as many regulations and protocols to follow back then, but it’s pretty amazing that these kinds of mistakes and accidents still happen today.
Prop guns are real guns that adapt to using blanks. While most of the time, they don’t pose any real serious danger as long as they treat with the utmost caution and care, obviously, they can still potentially be deadly. You will think that the majority of film gunshots these days will be digitally, but perhaps after that latest incident involving Alec Baldwin, that’s the direction the industry will move in.
Do you think Hollywood should ban the use of blank rounds on film sets, or do you think that what happened in Santa Fe on the set of Rust was just a freak accident? Let us know in the comments section below. And before you go, like and subscribe to Facts Verse to show us a little support. Tap the bell to turn on notifications. That way, you can keep up with all of our latest and upcoming videos without missing a beat.
And as always, thanks for watching!
Be safe out there!