“Rust” actor Ian A. Hudson, in his first principal role on a big film, playing an outlaw who is shot by sheriffs, described “shields” in place to protect the crew and cameras during the shootout scene, but admitted feeling exposed as a performer.
Hudson said in an interview with TMZ, he “held [his] tongue” but noted that veteran actors were double and triple checking weapons given to them by the armorer to ensure they were “cold or hot,” shorthand on set for empty or loaded with a live round that could be a bullet or a blank.
“Multiple blank rounds were fired at me over multiple takes. I felt pieces of the blanks hitting my body & my face. I felt the the [sic] heavy thud of air from the shotgun blanks hit me in the chest. I’ve been reassured that this is normal one too many times,” Hudson said in an Instagram post.
In the TMZ interview, Hudson explains the existential impact filming the scenes had on him, describing them as “intense,” and “scary, and real.”
“Having been shot at multiple times and faking my death for the camera was enlightening to me in all the wrong ways. It was life threatening, it felt too surreal,” he said.
“I think the armorer, having been pressed for time as much as she was, was doing a fantastic job,” Hudson told TMZ. “In fact I even overheard Joel Souza, the director, praise her for being as safe as she was and as consistent, and speedy, too, keeping up with the rushed schedule.”
Blaming the industry as a whole, Hudson said some things are still being done “the same way they did it then, 30 years ago,” when actor Brandon Lee was killed during the filming of “The Crow.”
“This tragedy could have been avoided,” Hudson wrote in his Instagram post. “I feel as if I literally dodged a bullet. I’m shaken, selfishly, afraid and humbled, grateful to be alive.”
CNN has reached out to Hudson, but his manager said he is declining further interviews at this time.
The movie’s producers said in a statement released to the media Friday it was not aware of prop safety issues prior to the fatal shooting.
“The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company. Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time,” Rust Movie Productions LLC said.
On Monday, a source close to the production told CNN “When it comes to safety there were three full safety meetings held since they started production — and they had a full safety meeting the day of the accident,” adding “This notion that no one was addressing safety from Covid protocols to weapons on set and procedures is not true. These are not 5 minute (meetings).”