The world awoke to shocking news today that Alec Baldwin accidentally fired a live round out of a prop gun on the set of his movie Rust, tragically killing the film’s director of photography Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. The incident is startling, but not unprecedented. There have been many other gun-related incidents in Hollywood. Here are a few others.
Brandon Lee, ‘The Crow’
This is perhaps the most famous gun-related accident in movie history. Brandon Lee, son of the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, was a rising star in 1993. The Crow promised to elevate his career into superstardom, and it did become a box office hit. While finishing up shooting, he was accidentally shot and killed at the age of 28. Improperly made dummy rounds caused a bullet to be lodged in the chamber of a prop gun.
Lee is buried at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle beside his father where mourners continue to gather every day. The memory of Lee is on everyone’s mind amid the Hutchins shooting. His sister, Shannon Lee, tweeted her sympathies for Hutchins and reminded everyone that gun violence on a movie set should never, ever happen.
Charles Chandler, ‘The Captive’
In 1915, Cecil B. DeMille was working on The Captive starring Blanche Sweet. One scene saw extras firing rounds on a door, so they decided to use live ammunition to add some realism. The following shot required the door to be broken down, so the live rounds were replaced with blanks. One rifle did not have its ammunition changed, and an extra, Charles Chandler, was shot in the head. He died instantly. This is one of the earliest instances of accidental gun violence on a movie set.
Jon-Erik Hexum, ‘Cover Up’
Blanks are still powerful enough to cause severe damage if they’re fired close enough. On the set of the CBS TVseries Cover Up, star Jon-Erik Hexum decided to play Russian roulette with a prop gun. The blank cartridge fired into his own temple, ramming a bone fragment into his skull. He died a week later. Stunningly, this was not enough to get the show canceled, for Hexum was replaced by Antony Hamilton.
Bryce Dion, ‘Cops’
While shooting a 2014 episode of Cops in Omaha, Nebraska, local law enforcement started firing on a Wendy’s. The audio technician Bryce Dion was accidentally shot. He and the suspect were taken to a local hospital and were pronounced dead on arrival.
Each and every one of these deaths was preventable, yet these accidents just keep happening.