ABC bans live weapons from 'The Rookie' after Alec Baldwin accident

Anousha Sakoui, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

LOS ANGELES — ABC’s popular procedural “The Rookie” has banned the firing of real guns on the show after a fatal accident Thursday on a movie set in New Mexico.

Shaken up by the events, Alexi Hawley, the showrunner on the cop drama starring Nathan Fillion as a Los Angeles Police Department newcomer, wrote to crew members Friday with the new policy, according to an email seen by the Los Angeles Times.

“There will be no more ‘live’ weapons on the show,” he said, while urging the crew to report anything that made them feel unsafe. Instead, replica toy guns will be used, with computer-generated muzzle flashes added in postproduction, he said.

So far, this is the only production under the Walt Disney-owned ABC network that will implement the policy, according to a person close to the studio.

The change comes after actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the low-budget film “Rust” on Thursday. Prop guns used in films can either be dummy guns or real guns that can fire blanks. They are typically modified to limit what can be shot from the gun. Even with these modifications, Hollywood history has seen deaths as the result of gun accidents, including the deaths of Brandon Lee and Jon-Erik Hexum.


As the events around the fatal shooting in New Mexico Thursday ripple through the film industry, it has shaken up crew members who have been calling for better working conditions in what is typically a tightknit community.

“The safety of our cast and crew is too important,” Hawley wrote in an email first reported on by the Hollywood Reporter. “Any risk is too much risk.”

The accident has raised the question from many filmmakers about how necessary live weapons are on sets, given how convincing modern special effects can be. Craig Zobel, who directed HBO’s “Mare of Easttown,” tweeted Friday that blanks should be outlawed in favor of special effects. He added that the gunshots on his hit detective series were digital.

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