Rust Assistant Director Subpoenaed After Refusing To Talk To Cops

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Imagine you’re the assistant director of a movie where a fatal shooting took place. Now, imagine that you were the one who allegedly handed a major movie star the gun that eventually was used to kill the cinematographer after you declared it a “cold gun.”

Well, if you were in that predicament, you’d probably be trying to protect your butt as best you could. That would mean you’re not likely to be tripping over yourself to talk to investigators, at least not without an attorney handy. Especially since there are multiple investigations going on.

But on the same token, if you did nothing wrong, you’d likely want to get that into the record as quickly as possible. If it were me, I’d refuse to say anything until I’d spoken with my lawyer, then try to get a sit-down with investigators as soon as possible afterward. With my attorney.

Yet the assistant director on the set of Rust hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with all of those investigators.

The ‘Rust’ assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin the prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins must be interviewed by state workplace safety regulators, a judge decided.

District Judge Bryan Biedscheid granted a request by the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau of the state Environment Department to issue a subpoena to Dave Halls.

Safety officials had tried to interview Halls twice, but he declined through his lawyer, citing concerns that the criminal investigation had not been completed.

Halls reportedly grabbed the gun and yelled ‘cold gun’ to note it was safe to use, according to search warrant reports. Although the affidavit said the gun ‘was fired’ by Baldwin, the actor has since said it was a misfire.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded in the October 21 incident at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe.

After the incident, Hall’s former colleague, pyrotechnician Maggie Goll claimed that Halls never addressed weapon safety protocols in production meetings or when a firearm was to be used while working with him on a Hulu production in 2019.

Halls has said he did not know the prop gun that killed Hutchins was loaded.

I think part of the issue is that Halls may feel he’s going to be scapegoated in this. Someone has to be blamed and he is a prime candidate.

To be sure, there are grounds for that, too. I mean, he handed a gun to someone, declared it to be “cold,” then watched as that gun fired and killed a woman with a promising career ahead of her. Saying you didn’t know it was loaded doesn’t exactly help when you told everyone else on the set it wasn’t.

However, evading any of the investigations isn’t likely to help his case one bit.

Especially since he could find to trip all over himself defending Alec Baldwin after the actor claimed he never pulled the trigger of the single-action revolver used in the tragic shooting. He had time for that–and likely to cover his own posterior by making it out to be a freak accident–but not to talk to investigators?

Yeah, that doesn’t sound right.

To be clear, though, there doesn’t appear to be any effort by Halls to be evasive with the criminal investigation. He seems to be cooperating with that well enough, so this might be precisely what he said, concerns over the criminal investigation not being complete. However, now that becomes irrelevant since the judge is telling him to do it anyway.

Maybe the rest of us can get some answers soon enough, too.