Seasoned Prop Master Turned Down ‘Rust’ Gig Over ‘Massive Red Flags’
‘ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN’
A prop master turned down a gig working on the ill-fated Alec Baldwin film Rust after getting a “bad feeling” about the production, he told the Los Angeles Times. Neal W. Zoromski, a 30-year veteran of the entertainment industry, was initially excited by the prospect of working on a Western, he said. But “massive red flags” began appearing over the course of four days of informal discussions with production managers. Their focus seemed to be on saving money, Zoromski said, at the expense of people’s safety. “I felt, in the pit of my stomach: ‘That is an accident waiting to happen,’” he said.
Last Thursday, Rust’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was fatally shot by Baldwin after a prop gun the actor was handling went off. The accident followed a morning walkout by union crew members over what they felt were unsafe set conditions. Zoromski told the Times that the film’s managers were “evasive” when talking about the size of both the budget and his department, which seemed to the prop master to be too small. The head armorer who did end up working on Rust, 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Read, has recently come under scrutiny for her role in the incident.