Prop master Cathy Scorsese says Alec Baldwin filmmakers ‘screwed up’

Prop master Cathy Scorsese says Alec Baldwin filmmakers ‘screwed up’
The 55-year-old writes that cost of cutting corners to save money comes at the ‘expense’ of film crews

Hollywood prop master Cathy Scorsese has spoken out about the on-set shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

In an as-told-to essay published on 3 November by Business Insider, the daughter of filmmaker Martin Scorsese said that the people behind the Alec Baldwin movie had “screwed up pretty badly”.

On 21 October, Baldwin accidentally misfired a loaded prop gun while rehearsing a scene, killing 42-year-old Hutchins and wounding Rust director Joel Souza.

According to court documents, assistant director Dave Halls had told Baldwin the gun was “cold” (safe) when he handed it to him during a rehearsal on set.

The incident has underscored the need to re-evaluate the way Hollywood films are made, and prompted a call to ban firearms on set since the tragedy occurred.

Having worked with Baldwin on films like The Departed and Aviator, the 55-year-old prop manager said: “Alec is a good human being, and it’s written all over his face how distraught he is.

“It’s awful, but in addition to his role as an actor, he’s also wearing the producer hat in this case.”

She continued: “Amid the talk of hiring a non-union crew and then pushing them beyond their limits and cutting corners to try and save money, it seems they screwed up pretty badly.”

It has been reported that six Rust crew members staged a walkout right before work on the film began. They were apparently protesting working conditions on set, including long hours, a lack of proper accommodation, and poor pay.

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They were then reportedly replaced by non-union camera persons.

Cathy, who trained under reputed prop master Jim Mazzola, said she’s “still on the fence” about whether firearms belong on film sets or not.

She explained: “The film industry has been around for more than 100 years, and during that time millions and millions of rounds of ammunition have been shot – and as professionals, our track record for safety is very good.”

However, there’s no escaping the fact that most film productions are “understaffed” and their crews, “overworked”, she wrote.

Cathy revealed she lost a friend — “a 39-year-old grip, the father of two small children — who fell asleep behind the wheel “after pulling too many hours on set”.

She added that Hollywood “went straight down the toilet” the minute it was taken over by “suits”.

Towards the end of the essay, Cathy said: “Why is it in America that we feel the need to make a movie in six weeks when it should take 10 to 12? To save money because some executive in an office has decided this is how much it should cost? That’s not the real cost.”

“The real cost is coming at the expense and the well-being of everyone involved in the production.”

The investigation into Hutchins’s death is currently on-going and authorities say that 63-year-old Baldwin may still face charges, adding that “no one has been ruled out” yet.