What made 'Rust' crew members walk off set the morning of Halyna Hutchins' death?

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The day Alec Baldwin was involved in an accidental shooting incident on the set of “Rust” was a particularly eventful one after several disgruntled camera crew members walked off the set.  

Halyna Hutchins was present when a gun Baldwin was handling to rehearse a scene with her and director Joel Souza went off, killing her and wounding the director. Speaking in an affidavit to police shortly after the incident, Souza noted that day, in particular, was unique because they had just brought on several new camera operators last minute following a mass walkout that took place earlier that morning. 

Rather than add an extra 2 hours of commute to what sometimes amounted to 12-hour shoot days, crew were reportedly promised hotel rooms nearby the set. However, after the second week of production, they learned that the production would no longer be footing the bill for hotels. 

Halyna Hutchins was a rising star in the cinematography world when she was hit with a projectile on set that ultimately killed her.
(Photo by Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)

The reason stemmed from an International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees contract that stipulates that producers only have to provide rooms if workers spent more than 13 hours a day on the job or if an individual crew member lives more than 60 miles away. The outlet reports that most lived 49 to 54 miles from the set. IATSE Local 600 reportedly deemed the accommodations being offered to the camera crew “fair.” 

Representatives for IATSE Local 600 did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

However, the situation was reportedly addressed by none other than Hutchins. Lane Luper, the A-camera first assistant on “Rust” said he spoke with Hutchins on Oct. 15 when the cinematographer treated Luper and others to a sushi dinner. Hutchins reportedly forfeited a day’s rental of a piece of equipment that is used to help with aerial shots to expand the budget for lodging. Unfortunately, that didn’t fully resolve the issue. 

After working a particularly grueling 12-hour day on the Sunday before the shooting, a crew member spent a portion of the night in his car. More camera crew members, who typically have to stay the latest on sets to clean and break down equipment, began fearing they would fall asleep behind the wheel on the hour-long drive back to Albuquerque. 

Halyna Hutchins reportedly helped mediate a dispute among crew on the set of ‘Rust.’ 
(Mat Hayward/Getty Images for AMC Networks)

However, among the employees at the Atlanta-based production company, requests for better lodging accommodations were reportedly treated as a joke, with T-shirts being made mocking the crew’s requests. Those were not known to the crew when they decided to take action, though.

When the crew member who slept in his car requested a hotel room that Wednesday and was denied, morale reportedly took a big hit and the camera crew decided it was time to walk off. 

They arrived the morning of the shooting incident to separate personal items from the camera equipment that belonged to the “Rust” production. While they were breaking down, Hutchins reportedly arrived at the scene and was confused, having previously thought the situation was resolved. 

“We felt bad leaving because of Halyna,” one of the camera technicians told the outlet. “I was torn. We all really liked her.”

An aerial view of the film set on Bonanza Creek Ranch where Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

In what would be their last interaction, Hutchins reportedly gave Luper a “bearhug” and noted that she felt like she was “losing my best friends.”

Unfortunately, because Hutchins was not a part of the walkout, she had to get back to work. Later in the day, she was blocking a scene with Baldwin and Souza when the fatal shot rang out bringing an end to a particularly troubled production and the life of a cinematographer who seemingly did her best to fix it.

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