“As of today, it is now policy on The Rookie that all gunfire on set will be Air Soft guns with CG muzzle flashes added in post,” the memo reads. “There will be no more ‘live’ weapons on the show. The safety our cast and crew is too important. Any risk is too much risk.”
This announcement comes one day after director of photography Halyna Hutchins died from injuries sustained on the set of the movie Rust, from a prop gun discharged by star Alec Baldwin. Director Joel Souza was also injured in the on-set accident.
How can a prop gun do harm, as happened on the Rust set? Prop guns as used on many TV and film productions are often real guns, but loaded with blank cartridges. “Blanks” are composed of the same case (shell), primer (igniter) and gunpowder as live ammo, but without a projectile. (Instead, wax or a paper wad hold in the gunpowder.) Still, the firing of the blank creates a muzzle flash and pushes superheated gases out the side of the firearm, both of which can be dangerous. Also, the expelled wax or paper wadding can be dangerous if fired at close enough range, as happened with Jon-Erik Hexum in 1984 backstage at CBS’ Cover Up, killing the actor. (You can read more here.)
Hutchins and Souza are also mentioned in Hawley’s memo: “The tragic events in New Mexico yesterday have shaken us all. Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Halyna Hutchins and Joel Souza.”
New episodes of The Rookie, currently in its fourth season, air Sundays at 10/9c.