Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was tragically killed on Thursday after Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western movie ‘Rust’. Joel Souza also sustained injuries.
While the incident – which is still under investigation – shocked the world, it is far from the first fatal accident to take place on a film production set.
The fatal accident on the set of ‘Rust’ immediately drew comparisons to a similar accident on the set of 1994’s ‘The Crow’.
After being accidentally shot in the head with a gun prop, Brandon Lee (son of Bruce Lee and Hollywood martial artist) was killed. After a series of missteps in preparation for the scene – which included a failure to remove a dummy bullet that had been lodged in the gun’s barrel – the bullet was discharged at Lee with significant force and the actor fell to the ground.
Although crew members thought Lee was acting at first, Lee was quickly rushed to hospital and died shortly thereafter. He was just 28 years old.
A police investigation found negligence to be the reason behind Lee’s death and ‘The Crow’ was released posthumously in May 1994.
‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’
Three people, including two child actors, were killed in Santa Clarita, California in July 1982 after a helicopter crashed during the production of ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’, directed by Hollywood giants John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller.
Landis, aged six, was shooting a flashback from Vietnam War to his segment of the movie when a helicopter crash resulted in the deaths of seven-year old Renee Shin Yi Chen and Myca Dinh Le. Vic Morrow, 53, was also killed by the debris.
The scandal continued when it became clear that Landis and his crew illegally hired two child actors, without following proper procedures. Landis also attempted to cover the fact the children were going to be in dangerous scenes with explosives just before the accident.
Landis was arrested for involuntary murder after the parents claimed that they did not know explosives and a helicopter were involved.
Landis was freed of all charges by a court in May 1987. ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ was released in 1983 with Landis’ segment of the story included.
Sergei Bodrov Jr. – star of the popular post-Soviet crime movies ‘Brother’ and ‘Brother 2’ – was killed alongside 134 others in 2002 after an avalanche covered the area where they were filming in Vladikavkaz, Russia.
Bodrov was working on his latest movie, ‘The Messenger’, when tragedy struck due to an ice slide, which caused thousands of tons of ice and mud to fall down the valley where they were located.
Bodrov, who was 30 years old at the time of his death after a lengthy search for burial survivors by authorities ended up being declared dead. This cut short his illustrious career.
In February 2014, 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed during the production of ‘Midnight Rider’, a biographical movie about musician Gregg Allman, after a train collided with a prop.
The approaching train could clearly be seen as the crew was recording a scene along the railroad tracks in Wayne County. They were unable to evacuate the trestle in time, and the train hit a metal hospital bed prop, which sent shrapnel towards the crew, including Jones, who fell into the train’s path.
Jones was killed and seven others were injured and ‘Midnight Rider’ was never released.
Jones’ father, Richard Jones, told the Associated Press following the incident that the movie’s producers “did so many wrong things on so many levels, it’s just unbelievable,” and described his daughter’s death as “senseless.”
The film’s director, Randall Miller, along with several other members of the production crew were charged with trespassing and manslaughter and Miller was sentenced to two years in prison and eight years of probation in 2015 after pleading guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Miller was sentenced as the first American filmmaker to die in a film production accident. He narrowly avoided spending more time behind bars in February 2021 because he had violated his probation terms, which prohibited him from being a director. “any other capacity in the film industry where you are responsible for safety.”
Pilot and cameraman Art Scholl was killed in September 1985 after his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean while he was filming the Hollywood classic ‘Top Gun’ starring Tom Cruise.
Scholl’s Pitts S-2 plane went into a fatal spin while performing aerobatic moves for the movie and crashed into the ocean, and he was never seen again.
Authorities were unable to recover Scholl’s body or the wreckage of his plane and ‘Top Gun’ was dedicated to him when it was released the following year.
Scholl’s widow, Judy Scholl, told the Daily Mail in 2015 – 30 years after her husband’s death – that the Coast Guard had said “it was too deep to try and look for anything,”The plane was so “a small target they said it would be too difficult to find.”
“Art didn’t say what the problem was. This is the one thing I’m not happy about with him,” she revealed, adding that she doesn’t know whether he experienced control failure or whether he became disorientated.
“It’s a puzzle. Most people think it was spacial disorientation but without the airplane we’ll never know,”Sie said.
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Outpouring of condolences from Brandon Lee’ sister, industry figures & fans after death during shooting of Rust involving Baldwin
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