Local film commission says tragedy on set of Alec Baldwin movie sheds light on prop gun risks

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – As an increasing number of movies are filmed here in Northeast Ohio, people are asking how a tragedy like the one on the set of the movie “Rust” could happen.

Greater Cleveland Film Commission president Bill Garvey says tragic accidents like the one involving actor Alec Baldwin are rare.

He said that’s because there are protocols in place to keep everyone on the movie set safe.

“It’s a reminder that obviously there are real consequences to when safety procedures aren’t followed to the letter of the law. We don’t know what happened, but it really shines a spotlight on that,” Garvey said.

A growing number of Hollywood movies have been filmed in the Cleveland area recently. 

In fact, a movie titled “White Noise” is currently in production in various parts of Northeast Ohio. Garvey says guns are common props in movies, but explains that crews do all they can to ensure they are used safely.

“We have an armor that handles all the weapons. They present them on set, they present them to the actor, to the producer and to the first assistant director, and the first assistant director is the safety officer on a movie set,” Garvey said.

Garvey says before a weapon is fired during filming, someone opens the chamber to make sure there isn’t a bullet inside.

Sometimes the guns you see are fake, but not always.

“They’re real guns, they just don’t use real rounds. They’re usually blanks, sometimes the armor takes the casing and makes them themselves. I don’t know what the case was in this situation, but yeah, it’s a real gun. It’s just not a real bullet most of the time,” he said.

Garvey says the incident involving Alec Baldwin won’t necessarily change any procedures for current or future movies filmed in the Cleveland area, but it is a reminder to double down on safety procedures.

“There are industry standard procedures that are in place to ensure that things are safe, so that’s why this occurrence is very rare,” said Garvey.

“White Noise” is expected to wrap up production early next month and a new major motion picture will begin filming here around the beginning of next year.

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