A crew member winding down production of Rust faces losing his arm after being bitten by a venomous spider, just weeks after Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed the movie’s cinematographer.
Jason Miller, a lamp operator and pipe rigger, was working to wind down production of the film after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot by actor
A fundraising page set up to pay for his health care expenses says: ‘He has been hospitalized and endured multiple surgeries each day as doctors do their best to stop the infection and try to save his arm from amputation.
‘It will be a very long road to recovery for Jason if the medical team is able to save his arm.
‘If under worse circumstances, he loses his arm, this is a life-changing and devastating event for Jason and his family.’ That page now appears to have been taken down.
A spokesperson for the Rust producers, including Alec Baldwin, told Sky News in a statement: ‘We do not comment on individual members of the cast and crew’s private matters.’
Jason Miller, a lamp operator and pipe rigger, was working on the set of Rust in New Mexico (pictured) when he was bitten by a venomous spider
The set has been shuttered since actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on October 21
The brown recluse spider is a venomous spider that is native to North America (file photo)
The set of the western film has been shut down since Hutchins, 42, died on October 21 after Baldwin pointed and fired a Colt pistol at her while rehearsing a scene.
Baldwin himself has said it is unlikely the low-budget movie will ever be completed.
Baldwin, who also served as a producer for the movie, was handling the vintage gun on the set of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when it accidentally discharged – killing the mom-of-one and wounding director Joel Souza.
The gun was supplied by the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and checked by the assistant director David Halls, who told Baldwin it was a ‘cold gun,’ meaning it had blanks.
Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer, Jason Bowles, told the
Bowles previously told
Gutierrez-Reed was set to receive less than $8,000 for her job on the set, compared to $650,000 the producers set aside for themselves and a $350,000 contingency fee in case anything went wrong.
Baldwin was also slated to earn $150,000 as the lead actor, and his production company, El Dorado, was taking a $100,000 fee, while Hutchins was budgeted to earn $48,945.
The independent movie had a modest overall budget of just $7,279,305, according to a draft of the production budget dated September 8, which was revealed by the
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot with a prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin on the movie set in New Mexico on October 21
Lane Luper, who served as the film’s A-camera first assistant, has since spoken out about the unsafe working conditions on the set of the western
In the weeks since the shooting, several former crew members have spoken out about the unsafe environment on the set.
Lane Luper, who served as the film’s A-camera first assistant, said he quit one day before the fatal shooting because employees were being overworked, COVID-safety was not being enforced properly and gun safety was poor.
‘I think with Rust, it was the perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing. It was everything,’ he told
‘It wasn’t just one individual. Everything had to fall into place for this one-in-a-trillion thing to happen.’
He then disputed the producers’ claim that safety was a top priority on set, saying, ‘I only personally remember two safety meetings that involved the entire crew.’
Luper ultimately accused the film’s production of breaking the cardinal rule of having guns on set, which he said was, ‘There shall never be live rounds anywhere on a studio lot, or stage or set.’
He also choked up when describing the late Halyna Hutchins, saying ‘She genuinely was something special.’
In his letter of resignation, Luper said there had been two accidental weapon discharges on set and one accidental sound-effects explosion that went off around the crew.
‘There have been NO explanations as to what to expect for these shots. When anyone from production is asked we are usually met with the same answers about not having enough time to complete the day if we rehearse or that ‘this is a 21 day shoot,’ Luper wrote in the letter.
He added that the crew grew exhausted of long commutes from the set to their lodging, which for some more than two hours away.
‘In my 10 years as a camera assistant I’ve never worked on a show that cares so little for the safety of its crew,’ Luper said.
Luper also told
‘Halyna’s death was so preventable by simply following industry safety rules that had been in place for literally decades,’ he said, adding: ‘I have never felt more unsafe on set or off set.
‘I’ve never felt I was more in danger of dying on the set or on the drive home, I was so exhausted.’
He said the production team put potential profit above the safety and welfare of the crew, noting: ‘The crew themselves worked very hard, but I don’t think they were necessarily respected by the producers.
‘This set was unsafe simply because they didn’t have the wherewithal to follow safety rules that we have in this industry.’
Luper added that there ‘were no rehearsals, there were no safety meetings to explain what the next shot was, which is also a requirement every time you use firearms.’
In a statement to Sky News, a spokesperson for the producers hit back at his claims, saying: ‘Mr. Luper’s allegations around budget and safety are patently false, which is not surprising considering his job was to be a camera operator, and he had absolutely nothing to do with it or knowledge of safety protocols or budgets.
‘As we continue to cooperate with all investigations, we are limited in what we can say,’ the spokesperson continued. ‘However, safety is always the number one priority in our films and it is truly awful to see someone using this tragedy for personal gain.’
But Sky News also obtained a resignation letter sent by another crew member who quit the film, citing what he said was a disregard for safety around firearms by the film’s assistant, Dave Halls.
‘I also feel anxious on set,’ the crew member, who Sky News did not name, wrote in an email to a production manager.
‘I’ve seen first-hand our AD rush to get shots, and he skips over important protocols.
‘I have tinnitus in my right ear, and he often rushes to shoot, I’ve had more than a few occasions where I have been close to the weapons being fired with no regard to my hearing.
‘Sometimes he rushes so quickly that props hasn’t even had the chance to bring earplugs and he rolls, and the actors fire anyway.
‘I feel torn because I like the show and my team, but for many reasons I have to walk away for my own health and safety,’ the crew member said.
Alec Baldwin shared this post from costumer Terese Magpale Davis to hit back at the claims that the working conditions were unsafe
Last week, Baldwin fired back at the claims that the working conditions on the set were unsafe, though, sharing a social media post from one crew member slamming her coworkers for painting a ‘blatantly false’ picture of the set as ‘chaotic and unsafe’.
Baldwin shared a screenshot of the post written by costume designer Terese Magpale Davis to his Instagram account with the caption: ‘Read this.’
‘I am so sick of this narrative,’ Davis wrote in her post. ‘I worked on this movie. The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bull***t.’
Davis’ post refuted many of the complaints of crew members – including that they routinely worked more than 12-hour days.
‘We never worked more than a 12.5 hour shoot day. That was once,’ Davis wrote.
‘Most days were under 12. The day Halyna died we had come off of a 12 hour turnaround after an 11 hour shoot day. We had (including camera) gotten off by 6:30pm.’
Davis continued, sharing that the fatal shooting that occurred on set will haunt her for a long time. She notes that she is angry at Dave Hall, the assistant director who handed Baldwin the gun, but would not accuse him of not caring about safety.
‘I am heartbroken and furious,’ she wrote. ‘I will never get the sound of that gunshot or my director’s screams out of my head as a result.’
‘My friend is dead. Am I angry at him? Yes. But I won’t jump on the bandwagon and pretend that he was uncaring about our safety the whole way through.’
Baldwin had remained silent about the incident on Rust prior to sharing the post.
He issued a public statement the day after Hutchins’ death in which he indicated that he was cooperating with authorities and offered his condolences to her family. He also held an impromptu press conference with his wife on Saturday.
His silence was also reflected in his social media accounts, until Saturday when he appeared to return to some of his typical online behaviors.
His sharing of Davis’ post is the first publicly-made indication that he doesn’t agree with the narrative crew members have created.