‘Rust’ actor speaks out after fatal Alec Baldwin prop gun shooting: ‘A terrible shame’

SANTA FE, N.M. – A “Rust” actor said Friday he wished “precautions” had been taken on set that could’ve prevented Alec Baldwin’s tragic misfiring of a prop gun that left the film’s cinematographer dead.

“It’s a terrible shame. I wish precautions would’ve been taken so that it didn’t happen,” John C. Ashton, who had a minor role in the film, told The Post outside Bonanza Creek Ranch, where the movie set was located. 

“But I don’t know what exactly did happen, the sheriff will tell, you know, so I can’t say, so I haven’t really thought about it all that much because I don’t have much to go on.”

On Thursday afternoon, Baldwin was handed a prop gun loaded with live rounds but was told it was safe minutes before he fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring the director, Joel Souza.

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Baldwin images:  Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican

Baldwin images:  Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican
(Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican)

Ashton believed a lot of his fellow cast and crew will probably be speaking with counselors after the on-set tragedy.

The 74-year-old actor, who previously had a small part in “Breaking Bad,” was slated to play a frontier “postmaster at a desolate outpost” in the Western and was driving to Santa Fe from his home in Denver when he learned the shoot had been canceled.  

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The actor said that nobody from the production company contacted him or his agent directly to tell him what happened, and he only learned the one-day shoot, scheduled for Sunday, was off when the costume company called.

Alec Baldwin was seen in tears after a fatal prop gun shooting took place on the set of ‘Rust’ on Thursday killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, far left, and injuring director Daniel Souza, far right. Souza has since been released from the hospital, actress Frances Fisher says.

Alec Baldwin was seen in tears after a fatal prop gun shooting took place on the set of ‘Rust’ on Thursday killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, far left, and injuring director Daniel Souza, far right. Souza has since been released from the hospital, actress Frances Fisher says.
(Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie  |  Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican  |  Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images)

On Friday evening, he drove himself to the Bonanza Creek Ranch set entrance, hoping he’d be allowed to check it out but the location was closed off. 

Ashton said he is waiting for more information before drawing conclusions about the industry’s safety protocols.

“I haven’t really thought about how I’m supposed to feel in the future about safeguards and so forth, but I just feel it’s a sad, terrible thing that happened,” he said.

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Ashton sympathized with Baldwin, the movie’s biggest star and one of the film’s producers, who was seen speaking on his cellphone and crying outside the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office shortly after the accident.

“He must be in terrible shape for having that happen to him. I feel bad for him, and I’m sure he’s in misery over it … I would expect he would be.

“He’s going to take a while to get settled, anybody would.”

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